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1986 LeSabre GN

1986 LeSabre Grand National Page

 

1986 Buick LeSabre Grand National Factory Photo

 

 

Exactly What is a LeSabre Grand National?

Many do not even know that Buick Division of General Motors produced the Grand National on a platform other than on the Regal but there was a very unique Grand National built in late 1985 – the 1986 LeSabre Grand National. 117 (or 112) copies were built to qualify the new, first year 1986 LeSabre FWD Coupe body for NASCAR competition. The main reason for building the 1986 LeSabre Grand National was to get the new body with modified rear quarter windows sanctioned for Winston Cup racing that year. The modified windows gave the car a streamline advantage over cars with the large rear quarter windows. All LeSabre Grand Nationals were produced in December, 1985 in one run, from one run sheet – some of the first FWD LeSabre Coupes produced at the then brand new Buick City plant. Serial numbers are sequential or nearly sequential and all have the same exact options. Around that time Buick Motor Division changed its marketing strategy from a performance to luxury car image and cancelled future LeSabre Grand National builds. Only the one production run of LeSabre Grand Nationals was completed and Buick decided to build no more. As such, the 1986 LeSabre Grand National is the rarest of Buicks wearing the Grand National emblem and one of the rarest of all “modern” era Buicks. 

 

 

 1986 LeSabre Grand National Emblem

Note All Red Power Six Logo

 

Grand National Production Figures

1987 Regal Grand National - 20,193 (there were also 547 GNX models produced)

1986 Regal Grand National - 5,512

1986 LeSabre Grand National –  117 (GM states 117, and 112)

1985 Regal Grand National – 2,102

1984 Regal Grand National – 2,000

1983 Grand National – none were produced

1982 Buick Grand National Coupe - 215

 

 

LeSabre Grand National Information

Here are some of the details, correct or not, I have gleaned from GM employees and publications, the internet and some old car books over the years:

·         Produced in late1985 only for 1986 model year

·         Production figures are reported by GM at 117 and 112. See interesting comments at bottom of this page.

·         Some prototype LeSabre Grand Nationals were rumored to have been turbocharged but kept destroying the FWD THM440-T4 transmissions so production vehicles were released to the dealers in normally aspirated versions. Buick planned to spend it’s research and development money on other projects and the LeSabre Grand National was limited to just the one run to qualify the body for NASCAR competition.

·         The 1986 Buick LeSabre Grand National was built to qualify the new LeSabre Coupe body for NASCAR competition. All of the LeSabre Grand Nationals produced were shipped to Daytona, Florida for the 1986 Daytona 500 race. Reports are each car received a Buick Motor Sports cooler, seat cushion and pen as promotional give away and that each car was taken on the track for at least one lap. The original factory invoice for my car has an option line reading “24 DAYTONA 500” and the date the car was shipped from Florida to the selling dealer is directly after the race.

·         Some information states conversion to LeSabre Grand National was performed a Lloyd Buick in Daytona, Florida but this is not correct. All were built at the Buick City plant in Flint, Michigan. The cars were not sent to a third party for completion as was 1987 Regal GNX and many other specialty cars - all were completed by Buick. The front spoiler (facsia) was not ready when the cars were were produced and regular LeSabre front facsias were installed and the cars were shipped to Daytona that way. Buick shipped the correct spoilers to Florida and all cars had the correct spoiler inatalled at the Lloyd Buick dealership in time for race day.

·         I have spoken to several Buick employees / ex-employees who were able to see the cars when they were built. The LeSabre Grand Nationals were batch built in the same week or so at Buick City from one order sheet and all alike. After build the cars were stored in Building #94 at Buick City. One Buick employee I spoke with was assigned the task of checking for mis-builds and insuring the rear quarter window close-outs were correctly installed. He is positive that there were actually 119 of the cars in Building #94, all black except for one that was red. He thought the red car was a mis-build. The car was completed with the black cars and went to Bobby Allison / Miller team.

·         LeSabre Grand Nationals were slated to be sold in the Atlanta, Georgia and Jacksonville. Florida zones after the Daytona 500 - areas to the Daytona 500 race facility

·         Buick Documentation States Model Available in Black (41) and White (40) - white was not produced although one red one was. One picture of a white car appears in the 1986 LeSabre Grand National sales brochure. However, the white car pictured appears to be a LeSabre Limited with LeSabre Grand National emblems and window closeouts and was probably a pre-production car and was for the photo layout. The black car in the same brochure and other GM promotional photos sports a regular LeSabre lower fascia, not the one released on production LeSabre Grand Nationals and it too appears to have been a pre-production car.

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National 

Photo from LeSabreT.com

 

All LeSabre Grand Nationals

Cars were batch built from one order sheet, all have the same options

·         P37: All are based on the LeSabre Custom Coupe

·         WE2: Grand National Option - $1,237

·        B Pillar Appliqué (Black)

·         LeSabre Grand National Fender Badges - Turbo-Six was all red, instead of Regal Grand National's traditional yellow and red. This supposedly was done to differentiate a turbo from a non-turbo version. The Red Power Six emblem was available and had a separate number but the documentation incorrectly lists the part number for the Regal Grand National emblem

·         Blacked Out Trim - however, bumpers, grille, headlight surrounds, wheel well opening trim, roof drip rail, door handles, locks and trunk emblem surround are chrome, smooth rear bumper - no bumperettes

·         Lay Down, Black Trimmed Tri-Shield Hood Ornament - same as 1987-1989 LeSabre T-Type

·         Thin “rubber” belt molding rub strip from front to rear wheel well trim

·         LG3: 3.8 SFI V6 With Roller Valve Train - cars were not turbocharged but prototypes may have been

·         15-slot 15" x 6" Aluminum Wheels - also used on Electra and Park Avenue

·         Goodyear Eagle GT Blackwall P215/65R15 Tires

·         FE1 Suspension

·         F17: Axle Ratio 2.84

·         Rear, Side Quarter Windows partially closed and covered. This was done to gain an important aerodynamic advantage over the LeSabre's large rear quarter window.

·         Front Spoiler - same as on 1987-1989 LeSabre T-Type

·         Dual Exhaust Outlets

·         Three Spoke Leather Wrapped Sports Steering Wheel

·         282: Grey Cloth Interior, Bench Front Power 6-Way Seat

·         No Gauges, but U23: Trip Odometer option installed

·         UM6 Cassette ETR AM-FM Stereo

·         AU3: Electric Door Locks

·         A31: Power Windows

·         N33: Tilt Steering Wheel

·         K34: Cruise Control

·         CD4: Pulsating W/S Wipers

·         TT5: Tungsten Halogen Lamps

·         VK3: Front License Mounting

·         Grey Front Floor Mats Bore the All Red Power-Six Logo

·         No LeSabre emblems on the car except for the passenger side of the dash

·         The 1986 LeSabre Grand National had the same front spoiler as later used on the 1987-1989 LeSabre T-Types. There was no rear spoiler planned for or available for the 1986 LeSabre Grand National.

 

 

LeSabre Grand National Rear Quarter Windows

 

Left: Rear Quarter Window Closeout. Right: Louvered Cover Was Not Just a Trim Piece

The louvered rear quarter window close outs were critical for the production car so that the closed out quarter window could be

used on LeSabre NASCAR racers for better aerodynamics. They were not just a plastic cover - window glass was re-sized,

remaing area was closed out and area covered by a louvered piece. The LeSabre Grand National was produced only for

the 1986 model year so later year NASCAR LeSabres and Oldsmobiles had to use the full sized rear quarter window.

 

 

Two of Bobby Allison's Miller LeSabre NASCAR Racers 

 

Left: 1986 LeSabre - Note Rear Quarter Window Closeout. Right: 1987 or Newer LeSabre, Standard Rear Quarter Window

 

 

Front Spoilers

The 1986 LeSabre Grand National had the same front spoiler as used on the 1987-1989 LeSabre T-Types. here was no rear spolierplanned or available for the 1986 LeSabre Grand National.

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National VIN Codes

The seventeen digit VIN number for all 1986 LeSabre Grand Nationals is 1G4HP373?GH4?????

      1 = Country Code - "1" is for USA.
      2 = Company Code, "G" is for GM
      3 = Division of GM, "4" is for Buick.
      4 = Restraint Type "H"
      5 = Model - "P" - LeSabre Custom
      6-7 = Body Style - "37" - LeSabre 2dr coupe
      8 = Engine Code - "3" - 231ci V6 SFI
      9 = Check Digit
     10 = Year - "G" = 1986
     11 = What Plant the car was Produced - "H" - Flint MI
     12-17 - Sequential serial number starting with "4"

 

 

Some1986 Buick LeSabre Grand National Survivors 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

 

This car was for sale on eBay a couple of years ago

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

  

The Gentleman Who Owns This Florida LeSabre Grand National Has Owned three LeSabre Grand

Nationals and still has two, this one and the one below which he purchasd new in 1986

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

 

Pictures taken in 1986 - note Buick Motorsports items in trunk given to cars that were at the 1986 Daytona 500 race

 

   

Car above, pictures taken in 2007

 

Same car was involved in an accident - awaiting restoration

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

  

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

   

Nova Scotia car looking great with 140,000 miles on it

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

 

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

 

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

Incorrect wheels and rear spoiler has been added. Emblems are not in correct location, probably all owner choice and a

possible re-paint as VIN number is correct for a LeSabre Grand National. This car is a genuine LeSabre Grand National

 

This may be the car above but owner has not answered email

 

 

1986 LeSabre Grand National

  

This Beautiful 16,000 Mile LeSabre Grand National Was Sold on eBay in 2008, Car May Be Missing Lower Belt Molding

 

 

Real or Clone?

 

Incorrect Rear Bumper with Bumperettes, Incorrect "Chrome" Front and Rear Bumper extensions, Regular LeSabre Front

Airdam, No Rear Quarter Window Close-outs, Incorrect Regal Grand National Red/Yellow Fender Emblems, Incorrect

Regal Grand National Emblem on trunk, no "BUICK" emblem on trunk. Incorrect lower belt molding, Would like to see the

VIN number and/or Service Parts Identification tag (underside of trunk lid) for this car. Compare this car to car above it.

 

 

My 1986 LeSabre Grand National

I have been a “fan” of the 1986 LeSabre Grand National since my first two (and only) sightings. The first was outside what is now Dan Marino’s restaurant in Coral Springs, Florida around 1989 or 1990. The second was at a junk yard in Hollywood, Florida about 2002. I wonder if the car outside of the restaurant was the same car as in the junkyard only a few miles away?

 

Anyway, after years passed I was finally able to purchase one for myself. As the proud owner of one of the 117 (or 112) 1986 LeSabre Grand National Coupes I am putting together all of the information I can find on this rare car. I have my dealer invoice, the LGN brochure, a factory LGN photo, the LGN magazine ad, original photo used for the brochure, factory documentation that includes photos of the 1986 LeSabre Grand National, Skyhawk T-Type, Century GS, LGN, Riviera T-Type, Somerset T-Type and the Regal GN. I will be updating the LGN page on my website to show some of the information I have been able to gather.

 

My 1986 LeSabre Grand National

Car to be Restored