Now’s Your Chance to Buy Those Like-New Barn Find Buick Grand National Twins on eBay
These consecutive-VIN time-capsule twins are looking for a new home.
In classic car ownership, it's common to keep a junky parts vehicle on hand to donate the rare bits and pieces that inevitably need replacing. But this is something else entirely: Two totally-identical, like-new 1987 Buick Grand Nationals with consecutive VINs that rolled off the dealer lot and into someone's garage for 30 years, only to be rescued and refreshed by a pair of dedicated enthusiasts last year. And now, they're up for sale on eBay.
We first brought you the story of Shawn Mathews and William Avila 10 months ago, after the two chased down an online forum post about an unidentified Oklahoma man who wanted to sell a pair of Grand National time capsules for $200,000. With no pictures to judge, they were suspicious at first, and not just about the price—who buys a set of identical cars and promptly parks them for three decades? But the prospect of seeing these survivors in person was too good to pass up, so Mathews and Avila made the 3.5-hour trek to check them out.
Lo and behold, the story was real. Avila wrote at the time that the two just stared in amazement for a while when the owner lifted his garage door to reveal the pristine G-bodies sitting side by side under a thick layer of dust. With the exception of sagging headliners, they were basically in showroom shape, window stickers and all. Thanks to some preventative maintenance over the years, all the cars needed to start up were new batteries and fresh fuel. Avila and Mathews were instantly sold.
What makes these Buicks special is the fact that they are true twins that have never been separated. Identical options and consecutive VIN numbers mean they rolled off the production line together, after which they were both shipped to the same dealer and sold to the same owner. Following weeks of protracted negotiations over the sky high asking price, it was Mathews who finally wrote a check to bring the twins home and back to their former glory.
And though he originally planned on keeping them forever, they're now listed on eBay. Bidding sits at $145,000 as of this writing, with the reserve not met and three days to go. To find out why, The Drive called up Avila, who's handling the sale for Mathews. He told us that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the twins, but Mathews is a businessman who has a few other opportunities he's thinking of pursuing with the money. He added that he doesn't need to sell them and won't unless he gets the right number, hence the mysterious reserve price.
The Grand Nationals have been given a full detailing since their rescue, though Avila convinced Mathews to leave the sagging headliners and faded bumper filler in place for the sake of originality ("If they were mine, they probably would have stayed dirty."). After all, as Avila pointed out to us, it's the story that will sell these cars as much as their condition. And aside from those two points, they are indeed flawless. They even still have that new car smell inside.
"[Mathews] wants things perfect. Several people have seen them, and they’re just amazed by the great shape they’re in," he said. "It’s not a like a 30-year-old car that’s been started up and driven every day, one that needs this, that, or the other. They don’t any need work at all. They feel like completely brand new cars."
The two enthusiasts agree on one thing, though—under no circumstances can the twins be separated. As a self-proclaimed "Buick guy" who races Grand Nationals on the side, Avila hopes they'll end up in a museum someday. Considering General Motors just freed up some space in their Heritage Center collection, that's always a possibility. But mostly, he and Mathews just want them to go to a good home, one that's ideally safe from natural disasters.
"I’ll be honest, the storage unit that they’re in was wiped out in 2013 by a tornado. The cars are insured, but we’d hate to see them destroyed," he told The Drive. "I think that’s one of the reasons he wants to get them out of here."