How to tell a Real GNX from a Fake

With only around 500 examples produced, the Buick GNX (Grand National Xcitement) is one of the most sought after cars of the 1980's. That single letter X can mean the difference between a $4000 car, and an $80000 car. Naturally, there are plenty of people out there building phony GNX's to make a quick buck.

What is a poorly informed car collector to do? Well, don't you fret, sweetheart, because I'm about to make you a Grand National expert in the next 3 minutes or so.

1. Check the Intercooler and Diff

The GNX came with a larger intercooler than the standard Grand National, so that's a good place to start. If it does indeed have the larger cooler, the next place you want to look is the rear differential. A real GNX will have a diff cover inscribed with the letters "GNX." Although, nobody knows what these three letters truly mean. 

2. Check the GloveBox

Photo by RFarrarons/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by RFarrarons/iStock / Getty Images

Back in 1987, GM dealers gave away commemorative hot dogs to GNX buyers, which fit into the specially installed "Hot Dog Warmer" in the glovebox. Since this warmer is such a rare piece of equipment, a car that has one is probably the real deal. Expect to pay more if it still has the original, numbers matching hot dog

3. Make Sure You're not Buying a Hotel

Photo by PhillipMinnis/iStock / Getty Images                                                                                                                           Pictured: Not a Car

Photo by PhillipMinnis/iStock / Getty Images                                                                                                                           Pictured: Not a Car

This step is mostly just to avoid embarrassment, but I learned this the hard way. I found a Grand National on Craigslist listed for $50 million, but I figured I could talk them down a couple Grand. This should've been my first red flag, along with the fact that it was in Switzerland. There were many photographs on the listing, but I couldn't seem to find the car in any of them. One 14 hour flight later, and I find out that they are in fact selling a Grand National hotel. So make sure to do a phone interview before you travel across the world.

4. Get the Seller's Name

While a Grand National owner will have a gross Plebian name like Cledus, Gunther, Darius, a GNX owner will have a strong, authoritative name like Richard, Bruce, or Jay Leno. Asking for a name before you even look at the car will save you several hours of headache.

A Grand National owner, vs. a GNX owner. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

1. The Flux Capacitor

When designing the GNX, engineers at ASC McLaren were inspired by the documentary Back to the Future, and decided to make the car time travel capable. Most clone cars get this detail wrong, but a real GNX will have a Flux Capacitor located in the center console. Some crafty fakers have decided to install Chinese knockoffs, but those are easy to spot. While the thing will allow to travel to any point in time, the knockoff will only let you relive the most humiliating moment of your youth.