When’s the Last Time a Car Took Your Breath Away?

Some cars just take your breath away at first glance. Sometimes because they’re expensive supercars, sometimes because they’re rare and beautiful luxury cars, and sometimes because they’re old classics that stand out in a Walmart parking lot full of crossovers.

The last time a car left me in a state of awe was in Deland, Florida (I hope all is well over there, friends), when a passing Bugatti Veyron in the quaint downtown took me by surprise.

Before that it was a 1962 Jaguar E-Type, parked in the valet section of a luxury hotel.

It takes a lot to impress me with cars these days, and even the standard-fare Ferrari and Lamborghini typically get nothing more than a passing glance.

So why did I point out a 1987 vehicle this weekend with the excitement of teen girl at a Beatles concert?

Because it was a 1987 Buick Grand National GNX.

I think.

Considering there were only 547 GNX versions made, the odds of it being a real example aren’t great. But at first glance, it looked the part. It had the correct badging, it was, of course, dark black, and it had the side fender vents. Most GNXs, though, are parked safely in garages as part of collections. They don’t just make Walmart runs on a Saturday afternoon.

But maybe this one does.

Whether this was a real GNX or not, it’s a perfect example of a classic car that debuted at the perfect time to solidify its status for decades to come.

The stealthy appearance of the all-black GNX and Grand National, coupled with the fact that the Grand National was initially released during the popularity of the original Star Wars movies, earned it the title of “Darth Vader’s Car” courtesy of a Car and Driver article. It certainly helped that the car’s grille has a resemblance to Darth Vader’s menacing helmet.

The car drew a small crowd as the owner returned, but instead of answering questions he simply opened the door, sat down, started the motor, closed the door, and drove away.

Maybe he was embarrassed to reveal the car wasn’t a real GNX, or maybe he was just not in the mood to discuss it with the curious onlookers.

Either way, it was fun to see such a cool classic on an otherwise low-key day running errands.

What cars take your breath away?

-tgriffith

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