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Saturday, May 22, 2010

1987 Buick Regal - Classic Car For Sale


Here at Best of Show, we specialize in the unusual, the unique, and the one-of-a-kind. Personally, I love the oddball cars, vehicles that should never have been built but someone worked the system in such a way as to get exactly what they wanted. We’ve seen such cars as a 429 Torino convertible with a 4-speed, a Hemi-powered Challenger SE, and several one-off color combinations that were all fully documented as authentic. I love them all. This low-mileage 1987 Buick Regal Limited T-Type is this week’s contender for our “so strange it’s cool” contest. Yes, it’s a Regal Limited like your folks used to own, complete with puffy seats, column shifter, stand-up hood ornament, padded landau roof, opera lights, and a big chrome grille. But underneath, it’s a fire-breathing, turbo-fed killer that is usually dressed all in black. It is loaded with virtually every single option Buick could throw at a Regal, and the only thing keeping it from being the ultimate sleeper are the T-Type alloy wheels and hood bulge advertising the 3.8 litre SFI engine under the hood. It’s rare, too, with only 1035 being built in 1987 (for comparison’s sake, there were more than 20,000 Grand Nationals built this same year). First off, I love the color on this car, brilliantly named “dark red” by Buick’s uber-creative design staff. Lame name aside, it’s deep and rich and luxurious, perfect on a stealthy Q-ship like this one and appropriate for a luxury car. With just 6792 miles on it, I can say with a high degree of confidence that this is all original sheet metal and paint on this Buick, and the quality is surprisingly good. All the panels fit together just like they did when it was delivered to its first owner, not perfect but not terrible, and those long, long doors for which GM was well known open and close easily. The Limited included body side moldings, chrome rocker panel trim, wheel lip moldings, as well as chrome bumpers and that giant chrome grille up front, all of which were painted black on the more well-known Grand Nationals. The landau padded half-roof only adds to this car’s wild appeal, separated from the painted front portion of the roof by a brushed stainless steel band. All the trim is in excellent condition, with no dings or rust, and the glass is as original. Setting this car apart from its more garden-variety brothers and sisters is the 3.8 liter turbocharged V6 living under the hood. Identical to the engine in the Grand National (and later the 20th Anniversary Trans Am), it cranks out a vastly under-rated 245 horsepower and 355 pounds of torque. This is NOT what you expect from a car with a padded roof and a column shifter. The engine bay is clean and 100% OEM throughout—no modifications or aftermarket parts on this Buick, just a straight-from-the-factory look. It runs like new, breathing through the turbo and intercooler setup that was standard on all turbo Buicks in 1987. Out back, true dual exhaust provides a throaty sound and I like the subtlety of the black painted tailpipes. While this car is all about chrome and flash, I like that they tried to downplay the car’s performance potential. The rest of the drive train is standard Buick Grand National equipment. The 4-speed automatic transmission feeds a 3.42 rear gear with limited slip, making this blown Buick easy to launch and a potent highway cruiser. The undercarriage is clean and very original, and I’d wager that those are still factory-issue brake pads and shoes at all four corners. Rolling stock consists of 15-inch alloy wheels wearing 235/60/15 performance radials which are just about the only visual clue that this car is anything special. If this were my car, I think I might seek out a set of steel wheels with some OEM wire wheelcovers, slap on a set of drag radials, then go out and break some Corvette drivers’ hearts. But that’s just me. Inside you’re treated to the full lux experience, Buick style. The overstuffed front seats feature tan leather and tufted pillow tops, not the sporty buckets found in the Grand Nationals. How cool is that? The leather is in excellent condition little sign of wear or age, appropriate to this car’s low mileage. There’s a sporty T-Type steering wheel, wrapped in more tan leather, and a big chrome column shifter for the transmission. The gauges are straight out of the ‘80s, with digital displays and other high-tech features that became dated almost immediately. As I mentioned, this car is loaded with just about every option you could order, from cruise control and interval wipers on a single stalk, to the AM/FM/cassette stereo with Concert Sound and an equalizer, to the twilight sentinel that automatically turns your headlights on and off. Someone at some point installed a sunroof, which is a nice addition for summertime cruising (the only kind this car has ever done). There’s factory A/C, power windows, and power locks of course, along with a center console with some extra storage. Carpets are excellent and the headliner is factory fresh. Talk about an iron fist in a silk glove! Documentation is pretty good, including a copy of the original window sticker with a bottom line price of $18,730. That was some serious scratch in 1987, especially when the base price of the car was $12,303—the options alone added more than 50% to the price of the car! We also have the original owner’s manual, stereo listening manual (yes, that’s what they called it), warranty, and maintenance schedule. We also have receipts for the rustproofing and sunroof, both of which were done after the car was purchased. And finally, there’s a clean CarFAX. To be honest, I think I would much rather have this car than a Grand National. First, the Grand Nationals, while very cool, are also pretty common. They were special when they were new and everyone put them away, so they’re out there. Second, nobody’s going to believe this one when they see it, it’s just too unusual. And third, the black Grand Nationals are incredibly badass, while this one is virtually invisible—perfect if you’re into walking softly and carrying a big stick like I am. Loaded with options and dressed like a luxo-barge, this is the coolest sleeper I’ve seen in a long time. And the price can’t be beat—20 times rarer than a Grand National, just as fast, with options you couldn’t get on the GN, all for less money? Where do I sign? If you’re into the unusual and the rare like I am, this is your car.


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