Colonnade Coupe With 24K Miles: 1973 Buick Regal

The first time I spotted a ’73 Buick Regal I was shocked at how much its appearance had changed from its 1972 Skylark predecessor, a design that seemed to be universally praised along with its Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile corporate cousins. And by shocked, I don’t mean in a good way. The Regal in question belonged to a friend and it was very similar to this example except for a white vinyl top as opposed to black. It looked like a giant Butterscotch Krimpet. Time changes opinions and this 24K mile Regal, which is in fabulous shape, is changing mine. Time to take a closer look at this ’73 Regal which is located in Hampton, Minnesota is available here on craigslist for $10,500. Thanks to Gransedan for this tip!

What GM gained in handling, ride, and braking with the ’73 Colonnades, they lost in performance due to increased weight and decreased power. There were still SS Chevelles, Pontiac GTOs, 442s from Oldsmobile, and Buick’s own GS, some with respectable powerplants, but the prevailing power trend was in a downward direction. The change to the colonnade body style along with all of its variations didn’t hurt sales, however. Buick moved 298K “A” bodies in ’73 vs. 225K the preceding year, a 32% increase, pretty impressive!  Buick customers were voting with their wallets and they liked what Flint was offering for ’73.

This ’73 Regal’s listing is a true work of minimalism so let the images speak for themselves. This Buick looks great! It’s a ’70s color, no doubt, but the finish is strong and deep. It could well be original though I noted paint on the driver’s door striker – a touch-up perhaps? Ditto the vinyl top, no signs of degradation or excessive sun exposure. You always know when you spy a first-year 5 MPH bumper convertee, the front bumper sticks out like a park bench. Some manufactures handled this transition better than others, GM’s models bore some of the more obvious examples. While the front end is a bit overwrought, though not too bad, the rear bumper/lights are well blended into this new “A” body design. It’s a tasteful design, exactly what you would expect from Buick.

The interior continues the ’70s vibe, it’s brown and vinyl. It’s in superior condition with nothing worn, cracked, soiled, scuffed, or out of place. Considering this Buick’s age, the speedometer is remarkably clear with no signs of dust or cloudiness – probably a quality the other unphotographed gauges possess too. Of note is the nylon loop carpet, which BTW, is exceedingly clean and unworn. This was the last year for its use as GM switched to a cheesier feeling, cut-pile carpet for ’74. I still miss the old nylon loop.

For power, this Buick Regal has an optional 350 CI, four-barrel carbureted, V8 engine that develops 175 net HP. This powerplant is 25 HP more than the standard 350 CI, two-barrel, carbureted engine and should help with motivation. My friend’s ’73 had the standard motor and it was a rather lethargic performer. There are no topside images of the engine included, but there is one of the bottom side that has been provided. Hopefully, this motor has seen some action off and on over the years to keep it up to operational snuff. As usual, a three-speed automatic transmission sends power to the B-O-P, “positive traction” differential. Speaking of the underside, it looks like someone got a bit ambitious with a sprayer and black paint/undercoating.

I find it curious that this Regal still has its price sticker attached to the driver-side window. Based on the option details, this is a heck of a well-equipped Buick. The list price was a bit under $5K, so with depreciation, appreciation, and inflation and a bunch of other assumptions, is $10,500 a reasonable price? I’m not sure that it can be determined based on what it sold for originally, it’s more a matter of what this Regal will be worth to a prospective owner. The price seems a little rich, but this is a very nicely equipped car with a great slice of ’70s nostalgia (even I can come around positively on a Colonnade).  Low mileage cars from this era, and in this condition, are a fleeting item – opportunities like this don’t surface often. This Regal is enticing, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I like it as a time-capsule cruiser. I think the body is graceful despite the bumpers. My chief complaint with the cars of this era is that the interiors really got plastic-y. Gone was the shiny chrome everything that made the 60s cars so interesting.

    It is perhaps overpriced by a couple thousand, but it looks like a really nice car and I’m sure it would be a great cruiser.

    Like 5
  2. Bmac777 Member

    My friend had one of these 73’s
    Silver with a Red cloth interior, buckets and console.
    Nice cars

    Like 1
  3. Moparman Member

    @Jim: I think that the colonnade body appearance had that effect on everyone! The first one that I saw was a Pontiac Luxury LeMans in this (or similar) color. Like you, at first, I was astounded, then I started to appreciate them, especially as later modifications were made. This looks like a good one, GLWTA! :-) .

    Like 1
    • John Oliveri

      I owned a 73 Luxury Lemans from 77 to 79, and amongst the thousands of Grand Prixs and Monte Carlos in my mostly Italian neighborhood in the Bronx. My luxury Lemans stood out, because it was black w a full white top and interior, Spokes and nice 1.5 inch whitewalls, o skirts and the Luxury Lemans Mouldings, every option in the book, windows doors seats all power, wish I never sold it, now I have a 73 Grand Prix cause I could never find another like mine

      Like 1
  4. Ed Hardt

    The end of a great era, this body style was ugly. Pulling that front bumper would make it less horrible.

  5. Bob C.

    A neighbor of mine had a 74 this same color scheme. It was a year old when he bought it. He only paid
    $ 3500 for it.

    • Superdessucke

      Since these only cost about 4,500 new, that’s not that huge of a deal. The 1973-74 oil crisis definitely hurt the value of gas guzzling cars though. By 1974-75, 1960s muscle cars were going for under $1,000

  6. local_sheriff

    I really can’t help but to love this example,I like it even better than the Monte posted previously. Maybe I’m weird but I think its colors in and out simply look great and so typical for an early 70s vehicle.
    Hopefully it got undercoated when new, not just hastily coated a couple days ago to hide flaws… IMHO another great find! 👍

  7. Fred W

    Looks like a ’73 has the same bumper, so no replacing it with a less objectionable one from an earlier model. Only options would be A) removing the bumper guards and mounting the bumper a bit closer to the body, or B) getting rid of the bumper, assuming the grille is continuous. As is, I couldn’t live with it.

    Like 1
  8. Mac88

    The Colonnades were originally slated to debut in 1972 but were delayed one year due to strikes at GM. Would have been interesting to see them with the smaller bumpers they would have received had they been built on schedule.

  9. PNDLR

    In 1975, I bought a Regal and loved it. It was my modern car, metallic chocolate brown, brown vinyl top and saddle interior. It was a base model with an AM radio and wheel covers rather than steel wheels. I bought it for about $2,400 with 28K miles on it. I drove it for five years and after another another 65,000 miles it just couldn’t go anymore. Now barely running, I traded it for a 1980 Grand Prix. Loved that car too.

    • John Oliveri

      I had a 73 Luxury lemans in 78, sold that in 79 and bought a 79 Grand Prix w a 301 in it, that got hit in 1980 and I bought an 80 Grand Prix with a V6 that sucked

  10. Maestro1 Member

    I’m a late fan of these as well. Have a body shop integrate the front bumper and the rear as well, and you’ll have a beauty. Very nice car, nice find.

    Like 1
  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    It looks like the sticker was scotch taped back in place.
    I can’t see someone driving around for over 20K miles with it on.

  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I wonder what a person who wasn’t around when these were on the streets would think of a car like this.

    Would they think it is too big / extravagant, gas guzzler, great or crappy interior, love it / hate it?

  13. ccrvtt

    Another first-year Colonnade car – and judging from all the positive comments I am not alone in my belated appreciation of these beauties. Of course back in the day I felt that they ruined the Cutlass with that goofy fastback roofline and the ungainly front end. But as nearly everyone has said, tucking in the bumpers would make a world of difference.

    As bad as I felt about my beloved Cutlasses, this body style eventually made the 1976-1977 Olds the top-selling model. Can’t say I ever warmed up to them but evidently a lot of other people did.

    Bill Mitchell’s flamboyant influence is reflected most prominently in the sweeping fender lines of the Regal and the Monte Carlo. It’s easy to imagine someone like Chip Foose in an earlier incarnation making those effortless strokes to define the look.

    Like 1
  14. bone

    I have always liked the Colonnade cars and have no problems with the bumpers , though the 73 models with the non piston rear bumpers look better than the 74-77s IMO .You cant fault the car because of government mandated rules. These were very rugged cars and a lot tougher than their predecessors and they did out sell the previous year cars. . Like someone else said ,its a great time capsule cruiser !

    Like 1
  15. Vance

    A high school friend of mine was given a 75 Regal for his first car, but his grades were so bad I can’t remember him ever driving it because he was grounded most of the time. He had the prettiest Mother however, and she would make us breakfast on Saturday morning wearing a bikini and slathered in coconut tanning lotion. Needless to say I would have multiple pancakes on those mornings because I couldn’t get up from the table due to the fact that I was wearing shorts. She was always amazed at how many pancakes I could eat. The smell of coconuts makes me think of those days and the car that my friend never drove.

    Like 2
    • John Oliveri

      And the Mother you always wanted to go for a ride on, you know what’s freaky, I was teenager in the 70s, and a lot of those Hot Moms from 1975, that were 35 then, we’ll now they’re like pushing 80

      Like 1
  16. Duaney

    One look at the underside and I can’t believe 24K miles.

    Like 1
    • Wonson

      All that freshly sprayed undercoating would make me worried.

      Like 2
  17. Kenny

    I had a similar car in 1984 while in high school. Same color, same interior with the differences being mine had all the power options and a special order 455 under the hood. It would roast the tires for 1/8 of a mile. I put it in a demo derby and push Imperials around with it.

  18. Bernie

    First let’s scrape off all that new undercoating to see what secrets may be lurking, or show the before photos. I will never understand that.

    Like 1
  19. Superdessucke

    I’d like it a lot better if someone hadn’t hosed down the bottom of it with undercoating. Ooof. First order of business would be to remove that, which is a filthy job.

    Like 1
  20. Car Guy Beancounter

    1973 was the first year of the federally mandated 5 MPH front bumpers. The manufacturers did not have much time to integrate the bumper design with the rest of the car, so they just hung on those hideous big bumper beams. As time progressed, future model years the bumpers became more integrated into the design of the car. And not so hideous!

  21. Stevieg

    I had this cars twin in 1989 for a while. Drove really well for an old beater. Rusty, dented, battered like a good fish fry (it’s a Wisconsin thing), but the interior was perfect somehow lol.
    The car would never die! When driving it, I couldn’t see how ugly it was, so I felt like a king. When walking up to it or away from it, I held your head in shame.
    This one looks way nicer. I wouldn’t mind owning it for about $4,000. Might be worth the asking price if I could actually see a solid frame, not slathered in goo.

  22. Kenn

    122,000 miles for sure. Garaged kept, but still..

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