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Selling on Saturday Evening

1982 Buick Regal Grand National Coupe

  • Original well-preserved car with 4,460 miles from new
  • First year of Grand National production
  • Equipped with rare 3.8L Turbo V-6 engine
  • Ordered new by top GM Engineer
  • Only three owners from new
  • Original build sheet, window sticker and factory documentation

Register To Bid Auction Info VIEW FILES & DOCUMENTS

In the early 1980s, Buick was a major player on the NASCAR circuit and, in 1981 with 20 victories under their belt, it was time to celebrate. At the 1982 Daytona 500 in February, Buick debuted the first Regal-based Grand National where it was presented more as an upscale performance inspired appearance package rather than a re-birth of a factory muscle car. Featuring a two-tone paint scheme of Dark Charcoal Gray upper body panels and roof plus lower body panels combine the center of the body in Light Silver-Gray Firemist detail with red pinstriping. Based on the Regal T-Type coupe and riding on special turbine style alloy rims, steel-belted radial “Wide-Oval Billboard” tires, a front air dam combined with a rear deck spoiler plus a console mounted shift lever, special Lear-Sigler bucket seats, and unique badging. The standard engine for those first Grand Nationals was the pedestrian 4.1-liter V-6 rated at 125 HP. Only 215 were produced which is the lowest production figure for any of the Grand Nationals. However, a very few performance-minded and very savvy buyers knew that they could order the Regal T-Type with the much more potent turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6, and it is estimated that no more than 10 to 15 examples were produced with this highly desirable option. Over 20 regular production options were part of the Grand National package which, in addition to the some of the items mentioned above, also included Soft-Ray tinted glass, halogen headlights, tilt steering wheel, the Grand Sport “F41” suspension, left and right-side remote sport mirrors, AM/FM-cassette radio, power windows and numerous other convenience items. Driver comfort was not overlooked, and those special Lear-Sigler bucket seats featured wing cushion and wing-back adjustment as well as lumbar and thigh support adjustments. The seats were covered in gray “Brandon” cloth with black vinyl pads and inserts, with each of the four seats adorned with a special “Molly” V-6 embroidered emblem and, for controlling the car with ease, a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Buick encouraged its dealers to use the Grand National models as traffic builders and to conduct promotions with personal appearances by Buick drivers such as Darrell Waltrip, Junior Johnson, and Harry Gant. Buick had not only cleaned up on the NASCAR ovals, but for the 1981 model year they had posted an 8.5 percent gain in market share, so the boys from Flint, Michigan were mighty proud of their records.

One of those savvy buyers was Bryan Smith, who at the time was part of GM’s engineering team. He had the wherewithal to know exactly which boxes to check. In February 1982, Smith took delivery of this very special coupe at Bill Cook Buick in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Realizing the possible historic value of this car, maybe with a bit of insight that future Grand Nationals would become highly sought after, Smith drove the car only on rare occasions, keeping it in like-new preserved condition. By September 1987, Smith had placed a total of just 2,175 miles on the car when it was sold to Larry Braum, another Buick enthusiast where it was also treated with kid gloves and rarely driven except for car shows and exhibition. In 2006, our consignor acquired this historic and rare early production Grand National from Larry Braum and immediately had it stored in a specially constructed concealed garage facility that was attached to his home, secured and climate controlled. Exercised on rare occasions, at the time of our inspection the odometer showed just 4,460 miles. Showing the care taken in preserving this car from new, the original exterior finish is clean and just as it was new, including the somewhat fragile rear quarter “BUICK” decals. Virtually no wear or tear can be seen on the driver’s seat and the rest of the car appears like it has never been sat in.

The original alloy wheels are fitted with vintage BFGoodrich T/A radials and under the hood appears to be untouched with all the original decals and stickers well-preserved. With the car comes documents such as the original window price label, an original build sheet, factory Grand National specifications sheets, warranty pamphlets and more. Believed to be one of the earliest Grand Nationals produced and verified to be one of very few fitted with the legendary 3.8-liter Turbo V-6, combined with its superb condition, will make the new owner a champion in the world of low production American performance cars.

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