VIDEO: Back to the Future; Inside the Buick GNX Assembly Plant


Images: “The GNX Files.”

A few weeks back, we gave you a glimpse of how the GMC Typhoon was screwed together back in 1992. Now, we wind our time machine another five years further into the past, with a peek inside the ASC/McLaren assembly plant way back in 1987.

Thanks to the creation of YouTube, Doug Nigro and Rick Hunt of the GNX Registry were able to upload this 27-year old plant footage from a Detroit, Michigan TV station.

The video makes it a point to highlight the special and unique features of the GNX over a “standard” Grand National; such as the ceramic turbocharger, larger wheels and tires, flared wheel arches, and the rear suspension. While quite a bit of the hardware from the GN was carried over to the GNX, many key components weren’t.

We also get insight from Charlie Katz, then Dodge Marketing Manager who worked with Carroll Shelby on cars like the turbo Daytona and Omni, as to why certain performance vehicles were outsourced to smaller firms at the time. The plant supervisor at ACS/McLaren, mentions that cars like the GNX are good for Buick as they help bring younger buyers into the showrooms. We agree.

Even back in 1987, many car collectors, including celebrities, were buying these up – or trying to – for as much as $60,000 in 1987 cash. We do know for a fact that Burt Reynolds had one, and so did Charlie Sheen. Sylvester Stallone tried to buy two of them, though your author isn’t entirely certain how that last deal turned out.

One of the interesting features of the video include an appearance by Jim Wangers, legendary automotive ad man who marketed the GTO and other popular musclecars back in the ’60s and ’70s. His take on the GNX? He didn’t understand why it was a Buick; as he says, it’s under the wrong brand. Even as an ad man, he didn’t like the fact that it overshadowed the Corvette and the Trans Am. “If it were a Chevy or a Pontiac, it would be a fantastic product,” as he put it back in 1987. We sort of have to wonder how he feels about that car today.

1987 Buick Regal GNX Coupe

Share this post