The classic-car auction scene may be going through a bit of cooling off, but a few choice classics still seem to draw the big money. Most of those are Ferraris and Porsches, but next month Mecum will test whether a barely-driven 1987 Buick GNX can swim with the big boys.
This particular example is among the least driven of the 547 GNXs that ASC/McLaren built for Buick, with a bare 16.2 miles on its odometer since new. Visual confirmation of that immaculately low mileage comes from the general condition of the interior, with un-crushed velour seats and a dash far cleaner than any other late ‘80s Buick in existence.
While Mecum hasn’t released much other information about the seller, we do know the car also includes its original window sticker, M.S.O. sheet and the baseball cap and jacket that every GNX owner received when they bought the car. (Give Buick some credit for knowing how to market to its fans; high-end luxury brands today force their customers to pay extra for that stuff).
Earlier this year, a GNX with just under 400 miles set a new record at Barrett-Jackson’s spring auction, bringing $163,000, far above the previous highs for mint condition GNXs. This one-owner car looks even more mint, and it’s a perfect example of the turbo V-6 brawlers that were a last gasp of Buick’s NASCAR era.
And yet every time one of these time-capsule commuters pops up, lovingly preserved but barely driven, I can’t help but question the motivation to turn a fast machine into a piece of furniture. The second owner of this GNX will face a financial conundrum with every tick of that odometer; you’d need some kind of automotive actuary to measure how much money you might be burning per mile. We’ll find out if this sets a new record during Mecum’s Oct. 8-10 auction in Chicago, but a part of me hopes whomever buys it chooses a few miles of fun over more years of garaging.