How A Brand-New Buick GNX Still Sits In A Dealer Showroom

Illustration for article titled How A Brand-New Buick GNX Still Sits In A Dealer Showroom

This brand-new car — a Buick Regal GNX with 164 miles on the odometer — is 26 years old. It's even still sports its original $29,389 window as it sits on a California dealership floor. What happened?


The LA Times has the story on the most menacingly awesome Buicks ever built - one of only about 547 - and how its still sporting its original $29,389 sticker on the window. Experts say it could sell at auction for north of $120,000, especially since most of its surviving siblings have many more miles on the odometer.

Why this GNX still sits there in Signal Hill is thanks to a miscalculation by the dealership, Boulevard Buick, which tried unsuccessfully to auction the car off to the highest bidder.

The odometer shows 164 miles, mostly racked up when the car is driven to the service bay for oil changes. Regardless, General Motors has warned the dealer that it won't honor the new car warranty.

Jim Willingham, Brad's father and the boss at the time, didn't like charging buyers more than the sticker price. But an easy profit proved hard to resist. So when the dealership was given a GNX to sell, it put the car up for an auction in hopes of juicing the sales price.

Buick Boulevard took out an ad in The Times and hired accounting firm Arthur Andersen to take silent bids. Not a single buyer stepped up.

The car sat there, attracting only tepid interest. The dealership almost sold the car in 1987, but the buyer turned out to have bad credit. Another offered $5,000 below the sticker, or about $24,000.


The Willinghams, who paid GM $26,856 for car, decided not to take a loss on what they thought would be their most profitable car ever.

"That's when I stepped in and said, 'We aren't selling it. We will just keep it,'" Brad Willingham said.


"We had visions of making big money," he said. "Now it's part of our heritage." (Hat tip to everyone who sent this in!)

[via LA Times]


I've driven a Grand National and it was fun, but I'll be frank here - I've never understood the appeal of these cars. They're nothing mind blowing, considering that just two years later Ford came out with the Taurus SHO which did run circles around the GN and GNX on autox tracks (seen it done, thing of beauty seeing such a horrendous car whip around a track like that). Sure, they were big achievements for the time, but they weren't special.

OTOH, 1993 is the year that should be lauded. The Mustang Cobra was decent, the '93 Camaro Z28 with the LT-1 was amazing, and that's just to name two.

So.. crack pipe? Unless the GNX is mindblowing compared to the GN, I could do the same thing with a Regal, some Konis, and a breathed on small block.