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455 Transplant: 1979 Buick Century Turbo Coupe

This is a different one to categorize. When a “Turbo Coupe” doesn’t have a turbo engine anymore, is it still a Turbo Coupe? This 1979 Buick Century Turbo Coupe has a Buick 455 V8 now, so is it a 1979 Buick Century 455 Coupe? In any case, this familiar seller has it listed here on eBay in Staunton, Illinois and they’re asking $12,950.

I really like this Aerocoupe body style, similar to the Oldsmobile Salon and its relatives in both two-door and four-door bodies. Our own Jeff Lavery wrote about an actual Buick Century Turbo Coupe here on Barn Finds back in early 2016 (remember those days?!). Jeff also wrote about a four-door base model Century Aeroback sedan here on Barn Finds which may or may not have been a beauty, depending on if you like weird cars as much as I do.

Buick only offered the Century Turbo Coupe for model years 1979 and 1980 and reportedly 2,727 of them were made in total. Cap’n Obvious says that being a “Coupe”, they were only offered with two doors, and being part of the Aeroback family, they all came with this wacky sloping rear deck. There would have been a big decal on the middle of the black tailpiece that said “turbo coupe”, but I’m guessing that when this one lost its turbo guts, that piece got repainted.

Whew, that interior, though! Beautiful. I know what you’re thinking, both Buick and Olds offered a 455 with a four-speed manual so why not just go all out and add one here since the fourth-generation Century is the last generation to have rear-wheel-drive? I can’t argue with that, but then again, I didn’t build this car. The interior does look good in red, but what interior doesn’t? The back seat looks like new and the seller has provided a ton of great photos, including many underside photos showing what appears to be a solid car.

The big deal here is that the 3.8-liter 175-hp Buick turbo V6 has been ditched in favor of a Buick 455-cu.in. V8 of unknown year or horsepower. I’m guessing it has more than 175 horsepower. It looks good under that V6 hood, no? Yes. Any thoughts as to the horsepower of this one?


  1. Avatar photo Dave

    Oh hats off to the builder. Stick,or not, it’s really a nice car.

    Like 34
    • Avatar photo Stan

      Exactly.. im 💯 for a stik shft, but this sleeper w the torque king Buick 455ci is gold w the autoloader.
      Always liked this coupe bodystyle.

      Like 22
  2. Avatar photo BA

    There is no denying the last big block designed by (any manufacturer) Buick has everything in spades! Sign me up too!

    Like 15
  3. Avatar photo Robert Levins

    This car was done perfectly. I would have done it just like they did. I would love to know which 455 configuration this is. If you are starting from scratch, might as well and go for the higher horsepower version. All you need now is a replacement 27 gallon fuel tank to keep that 455 cruisin’!

    Like 16
  4. Avatar photo Cushman

    Beautiful car. It does not need a name.

    Like 9
  5. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    I wonder what auto trans it (now) has.
    An issue registering & inspecting it in Calif, with its motor & exhaust mods?

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Terrry

      I’d guess a TH400

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Joe Haska

    I don’t even remember seeing one of these, in my defense, they are somewhat forgettable. But at the same time it is kinda cool in its own way. I think the mods are well done. And for those that want something different, THIS IS IT!

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo Gerald

    Here in California if that engine is not a stock replacement or if it is older than the car, you’re screwed. The only thing you could do is register it for off highway use like car shows or racing.
    For California smog it should been swapped with a later turbo v6,,,

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Michael

      Ok it’s in Illinois

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Big C

      Bummer, dude.

      Like 0
  8. Avatar photo tim961

    There is a video of it in the ebay ad and it sounds fantastic!

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo 19sixty5 Member

    Tweaking and shrinking the bumpers, some light body massage to smooth out the wrinkles, reinstall the AC and you have a pretty cool non-cookie cutter car!

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Tom

    I liked these cars and the Olds 442 version when they were new. In the late ‘70s car enthusiasts were screaming for something different and these were, well…different!
    Nothing to complain about here except for the non functioning AC. I would love to have one of these with a GN drivetrain in it!

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Brad460 Member

    To me it lost all value when the original turbo engine was removed. I love big blocks but you so that kind of swap on a generic coupe, not on a limited production variant

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo CCFisher

    A Century Turbo Coupe without a turbo fits right in to the automotive landscape. After all, a Porsche Taycan Turbo doesn’t even have an engine.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo Randy Anderson

    Besides a bigger gas tank you would need roll bars fire extinguisher racing slicks in the back header’s duel exhaust with a switch for the regular exhaust and to use the header’s with some fancy wheels 🛞 to on it.their you go as a almost sleeper car.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Terrry

    That engine even looks like it belongs! Ah what could have been…

    Like 2
  15. Avatar photo Bick Banter
  16. Avatar photo Joe manfredi

    Crazy sharp but I’m thinking barely over 200hp everything was cut back then

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo BrettK

    This is a great build and these cars are rarely seen anymore. All I would change would be the wheels. It needs some Mags

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Chuck


    Like 0

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