Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Memories: GNX 443- Pete's GNX

GNX 443 on the showroom floor, 2004

It's an unusual story in the automobile business, instead of the "one that got away" it's the one that came to the party and stayed. Buick Motor Division made the decision to end production of its highly successful Regal Grand National at the end of the 1987 model year. To go out with style, Buick teamed up with ASC to build a run of 500 ultra high performance Grand Nationals, to be called the GNX. It featured a special turbocharger, modified suspension, special wheels and tires, scoops and fender flares, special instrumentation and other special touches. 500 were planned but in total 547 were produced, at a list price about $12,000 higher than a regular Grand National- $29,290. "A Grand National to end all Grand Nationals," said the ad copy.

To say the cars were eagerly anticipated was the understatement of a lifetime. Speculators and enthusiasts alike scrambled to buy them and this created a dilemma for Pete Reynolds. Lots of dealers were cashing in and asking $10,000 above list price, but Pete always had a soft spot for a fast Buick, so when he received notification that Reynolds was getting one, he decided to keep the car himself.

GNX 443 arrived at Reynolds in July of 1987 and was assigned stock number 694. On the tag is handwritten "Pete's GNX." The car was kept covered in the back and seldom driven. After a couple of years, when all of the hoopla had died down, Sales Manager Spence Lyon bought GNX 443 for his own Buick collection, however the car remained on site, brand new and covered. It made appearances in the showroom for Anniversaries and special occasions, and was sometimes seen at Thunderfest in Covina. Otherwise it lived quietly under its specially fitted car cover.

Finally in 2004, after seventeen years at Reynolds and with 180 miles on the odometer, Spence made the decision to finally part with the car. He advertised it and quickly located a buyer who promised to keep the car in immaculate, low mileage condition. GNX 443 was placed once again on the showroom floor awaiting pickup.

And then one afternoon a giant transport truck appeared, and the black Buick rolled out of the showroom for the final time. It paused for pictures with Pete Reynolds and Spence Lyon, posed with the Reynolds overhead sign, and then rolled up to a giant transporter for its cross country journey. The entire dealership waved good bye to our old friend of nearly twenty years.

GNX 443 now resides in a large collection of GNX and other high performance cars on the East Coast. It presently has approximately 900 miles and is kept in climate controlled storage. It still looks like new, however, if anyone encounters the new owner, tell him Spence commented that it's getting too many miles, and ask him take it easy on "Pete's GNX."

Pete Reynolds and GNX 443
Sales Manager Spence Lyon (retired) and GNX 443
GNX 443 rolls out of the showroom for the final time.
GNX 443 pauses by the Reynolds Buick sign.
Tail end of GNX 443
GNX 443 is off to a new life with a GNX Collector
Original 1987 Stock Number noting "Pete's GNX" still in place, 2004.

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