Live Auctions

1-Of-232: 1972 Buick Centurion Convertible 455

The Buick Centurion was a short-lived replacement for the Wildcat and was only built for three years, 1971-73. There were just 2,396 Centurion convertibles built that year, and we understand that only 10% of those or 232 came with the “W” Code GS 455 engine. The seller’s Centurion is said to be one of those ragtops and benefits from the research the seller has done to substantiate when, where, and how this automobile was built. It’s said to run, but the sheet metal is rather rusty, and it needs a restoration. The Buick can be found in Fall River, Rhode Island, and here on craigslist for $10,500. Thanks, Ikey Heyman, for digging out this one for us!

The Centurion was slotted between the LaSabre and Electra during its short stint on the Buick payroll. Like the Wildcat before it, the car was intended to be the sportiest iteration of the three full-size series. The car’s name was inspired by an earlier concept car and borrowed from the term used to refer to an officer in the Roman army. Unlike the Buick’s traditional tri-shield, the car’s emblem was a side profile of a centurion soldier. After an abbreviated 1971 production year due to an extended labor strike, Buick would do some catching up in 1972 by building nearly 680,000 cars, of which some 36,000 or just five percent were Centurions. The convertible was the rarest of the body styles, with less than 2,400 coming off the assembly line. Kudos to Concept Carz for the production data.

The seller’s Buick has only had two previous owners. The original buyer sold the car after two years and apparently missed it so much that he bought it back two years after that. The last time the car was registered for highway use was 1990. We don’t when the seller acquired the vehicle, but it seems to be in fine company with some other ‘70s GM iron in the garage. As the photos will attest, rust is a problem, but the hood and trunk lid seems to have caught the worst of it. The original buyer paid extra to have the car painted Sunburst Yellow, a color from the Skylark playbook. We’re told that just 33 of these cars were selected in this color. The buyer will receive a mint NOS passenger side rear quarter panel, which suggests that sheet metal needs replacing.

We’re given a long list of how many similar cars were built with this or that, so we’ll drill down here to a few:

  • 1 of 232 Centurion convertibles built with the HP 455 V-8 engine
  • 1 of 48 with the 3:42 Positraction rear differential
  • 1 of 950 with a parade boot
  • 1 of 50 with automatic level control
  • 1 of 155 with wire wheel covers

Under the hood resides the original 455 High-Performance V8, which is said to run, but only off an external bottle, for the time being. We believe the gas tank has been replaced, but they’re so hard to come by that the seller says he kept the original and will pass it along to the buyer. Everything the seller says about the car’s heritage should be backed up by the factory build sheet which is also provided. We see little of the interior, but the front seat looks to have a slit working on the driver’s side bottom.

Hagerty comments that $20,000 is what a nice ’72 Centurion ragtop should go for. Add to this the rare engine and subtract the overall condition of the car. What that nets out is not a lot to fund the restoration that is needed, so the buyer may need to be more interested in the rarity of their newly acquired prize as opposed to its resale value when the dust settles.


  1. Snotty

    Second time around on barnfinds.

    Like 2
    • Russ Dixon Russ Dixon Staff

      There was a similar one last year on BF but it was a ’73. Looks very similar.

      • Paul

        Hi Russ. I’m the actual owner of this Centurion. It disappoints me that cars are literally picked apart by people who have never laid eyes on the actual cars. That’s poor but I guess there’s no stopping that.
        I will say this car is much better than people are claiming. I have the factory pass side rear quarter only because I found one to buy and they are so hard to find not because the car needs it. The frame is solid. It needs hood, trunklid, trunkpan, small hole on drivers side rear footwell area, driver front fender and rear quarter. Both doors are decent. Pass rear quarter needs work but not replacement. Brakes were done 12 years ago when I got it but with the leaking gas tank that’s where it ended for me.
        This car is an unrestored original paint and body car. With all matching drivetrain. If this was an impala 427 ragtop people would be falling over themselves trying to buy it but buicks are actually a better car.
        Russ here’s an open invite to my place to check it out in person and the other barn finds I have. You mentioned it is in good company. I still have my 66 Mustang GT K code Gasser! My 72 442 vin number 12 that was on barn finds years ago, my 80 Buick Century Turbo Coupe, my 79 Toyota Celica Supra early production car with 51k miles, and also a rare 87 Nissan Fairlady 200ZR w/ t-tops RHD JDM super rare.
        I’m in fall river ma and would be happy to show you around!
        Thanks Russ.
        I do look forward to seeing what you guys find!!

  2. Howard A Member

    As time passes, I think people will care less and less how many of these types of cars were made, they just want a big American convertible, and they have to be a lot nicer than this for any appeal. Great cars, but who cares how many were made.

    Like 12
  3. Mitchell Gildea Member

    I want it! But if and when it gets restored/refurbished, I’d roll with a set of Buick Rallyes instead of the wire wheel covers

    Like 7
  4. Evan

    My first ride past 100mph was in a Centurion 455 convertible, not sure if it was an HO455, was there a lower-spec 455?

    Wind buffeting was beyond brutal in the rear seat at that speed.

    Like 4
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    These are great,comfortable towing vehicles.
    I had a ’72 LeSabre 4 door with a 455 that I added
    the Buick rally wheels to.
    I towed a U Haul trailer from Cascade Montana,
    to Eureka,CA.I had to keep looking in the mirror to make
    sure that the trailer was still there,as it didn’t drag down
    the car at all.

    Like 4
  6. Ralph

    No photos of that “high performance” engine……

  7. Roudy

    I own a ‘72 Centurion ragtop. I’m the third owner. 455 4 barrel. 137K miles. Drives like a dream. Hope to drive it till I can no longer operate a motor vehicle.

    Like 5
  8. JOHN

    I’m sorry, but this ride appears to be toast. If the cost of repairs net you zero in the end, then another project might be the answer. I’d use this one for some demolition fun.

    Like 5
  9. A.J.

    If you could restore that for 100k you would be doing well. Now if it had a stick…

    Like 1
  10. Geoff

    Sadly this is another one that would come back from the stripper in a box. Its nice that the seller has the one NOS quarter but the rest of the body panels will be difficult to source and there’s no pictures of the under carriage and frame. Convertibles do particularly poorly in the rust belt if driven in the winter which this one clearly has been. RIP

    Like 2
  11. Pat D

    I had a 72 convertible, 455, Royal Blue/white interior and white top. I found it in a garage in Irwin Pa in 85 with 36k miles and no rust. The transmission was blown in 76 and sat in the garage, thus the low mileage and good body. I sold it to a guy in Harrisburg PA in 88. I lost track of the buyer and the car. Wish that I could find it today!

    Like 1
  12. Rustytech Member

    These were great cars. I had a 73 with the 455 ci. I would love to have another, but this car is seriously over priced. I like how people let cars deteriorate to this point, then try to cash in on it being “rare” and valuable. If it was so rare and valuable TAKE CARE OF IT!

    Like 4
  13. martin

    A friend had a hardtop version when I was a kid. His dad made him buy it on the principle that lots of sheet metal was safer. But it was the proverbial little old lady car and it was mint for a few months. And 4 teenage girls could lie in the trunk.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.