The latest addition to OPGI’s fleet of perfectly restored GM classics needed no restoration work at all. With just 9,797 miles on the odometer, this 1987 Buick Grand National was delivered to OPGI in better-than-excellent condition. The purchase included everything but that “New Car Smell” from 30 years ago.
In addition to the primary business of supplying and manufacturing restoration and high-performance parts for classic GM cars, Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) also maintains its own fleet of restored cars for in-house parts testing and use as display vehicles in advertising, at trade shows, car shows and other special events. Of course, it goes without saying that all of OPGI’s classic cars have been completely restored to the highest degree of original authenticity using OPGI parts. Every car in the OPGI fleet has its own story to tell, and the most recent addition to the fleet has proven no different in that respect.
Original Parts Group acquires its cars in many different ways. After purchase, some cars are rebuilt from the ground up, while others might be purchased in nearly totally restored condition. However, most of the time it’s somewhere in the middle. OPGI buys cars that are partially built and proceeds to build them some more. The procedure for a full rebuild of an OPGI classic usually involves sending a car out for a full-frame-off restoration and drivetrain rebuild. Of course, OPGI supplies all of the restoration parts and related accessories needed for each restoration/transformation job, but work on the engines, transmissions, and final paint and body work is usually handled by outside partners or suppliers.
Today, we would like to introduce the latest addition to OPGI’s fleet of classics with the 1987 Buick Grand National (GN) you see displayed here. With the upcoming release of OPGI’s tenth and newest annual parts catalog aimed at Buick Regal variants and the 2017 SEMA Show looming large in the not-too-distant future, OPGI’s “new” car this year just had to be a Buick Grand National. However, unlike the majority of the cars in the OPGI fleet, this Grand National did not need a rebuild of any kind, or any new parts at all for that matter. That’s one of the perks when you buy a 30-year-old car with less than 10K miles.
When was the last time you saw a 30-year-old set of GM car keys in this condition?
Several months ago, Casey Mohr and Tony Giroux of the OPGI Sourcing Team were tasked with finding a nice clean Grand National that could be restored back to original specs and performance. Making that task difficult was the fact that Buick didn’t make too many of these cars in the first place, and the ones they did make seem to have already been snapped-up by savvy purchasers who know that their cars are both rare and desirable these days. They are also immensely fun to drive, thanks to the turbo-charged 3.8L V6 putting out 235 hp and 330 lb-ft. of torque. At the time, the 1987 GN was one of the quickest cars on the road and performance enthusiasts could not help but notice that the little turbo V6 allowed quarter-mile times that were faster than the latest V8-powered Chevrolet Camaros of the day.
After scouring the “Grand National For Sale” ads in all the usual (and some unusual) places, it looked like Casey and Tony were going to have to make at least several different road trips to examine and hopefully purchase one of the handful of cars available that met most of our requirements. Unfortunately for the Sourcing guys, the best cars were strung across the country from west to east, and many were scattered at points up and down the East Coast from New York to Florida. Then, as if by providence, Tony discovered a clean, low mileage GN listed for sale in the San Francisco/Bay area Craigslist. The pieces of a deal were starting to fall into place when Casey volunteered that he had a friend in the Bay Area who might be able to examine and photograph the car for them, negating the need for an initial trip to San Francisco. Perfect.
The first batch of photographs sent to OPGI concerning the purchase of the car included this small but very important detail photo of the GN’s odometer showing the mileage to be just 9,797 miles. The passage of over 30 years time is not apparent anywhere on this car.
Casey’s friend Drew Alexy from the little town of Danville, California met with the car’s owner (Tarek Mohamed), took over 75 photographs, and then forwarded them to Casey along with a general, glowing report on the car. In real estate deals, brokers often tout the main feature of a house as being “Location, location, location!” When it came to Drew’s initial report on the desirability of Tarek’s Grand National, he could have saved some time by simply shouting “Mileage, mileage, mileage!” The figure of 9,797 miles means that this entire Grand National has an odd sort of time capsule status about it. Other than a few very minor details involving the passage of a few decades, this GN is “right off the showroom floor” and nearly brand new in many important ways, both inside and out.
Upon further examination and negotiation, the mileage was verified by service receipts and a deal was struck. The 1987 Buick Grand National formerly belonging to Tarek Mohamed of Oakland, California would now belong to Original Parts Group, Inc. Because this car and absolutely every part on it are nearly in brand new condition, it requires no lengthy rebuild and can be pressed into service in the OPGI test fleet right away after a quick general tune-up and the addition of fresh fluids and perhaps some new tires as well. The paint is original, the tires and brakes are original, and there is no wear on the seating surfaces at all. And the turbocharged V6 is very strong! This car is as close to a brand new 1987 Grand National as it gets. Even the ignition keys look oddly “clean” without marks or wear on them of any kind. The less than 10K on the odometer indicates not even enough miles to properly break the car in. Despite its age, it is a new car in many ways.
Bringing home the bacon. Caser Mohr and Tony Giroux from OPGI’s Sourcing Department were tasked with a nationwide hunting trip that ended with the successful capture of a fully-mature Buick Grand National with a youthful 9,797 miles on the odo. Here the team gasses up Tony’s Silverado at a Shell station off the 5 Freeway outside of Kettleman City, California, a place that Casey described as “The Actual Middle of Nowhere.”
Despite some dust, light rain and squashed bugs, the Grand National arrived back at OPGI Headquarters no worse for the wear….and the mileage on the odometer stayed exactly the same.
All parties agreed to all terms and conditions, and the last remaining bit of business was to physically go up to the Bay Area, put the car on a trailer, and take it home to OPGI Headquarters in Seal Beach. Casey and Tony agreed to finish what they had started and Tony even volunteered the use of his own Duramax-equipped Silverado to haul the OPGI trailer and the Grand National back to Seal Beach. The “new” OPGI Grand National is a beauty, and even though it was “all the way up” in the Bay Area, that’s a lot better than driving to Jacksonville, Florida and back to secure it. Something like that that would have been an unpopular “ride to remember” for sure! For Casey and Tony, the actual trek was not too bad and the duo didn’t even have to stay at bad motels thanks to the hospitality of Casey’s Aunt and Uncle who live in the small town of San Ramon near the Bay Area. Staying with Casey’s relatives at least assured that their road trip would include good food, clean beds and good company!
Look for more coverage of OPGI’s “new” Grand National coming up soon. The car will be appearing in both Web and print advertising, and with the 2017 SEMA Show coming up in just a few months, the Grand National will make an appearance there, too!
Always looking ahead. It looks like Tony is already prepping OPGI’s new Grand National for an upcoming display or show venue.
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