Free Spirit Edition: 1975 Buick Century

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Why am I drawn to these things? I mean, beyond the low production numbers, this is basically a graphics kit on the side of a Malaise-era special. But here on eBay is a 1975 Buick Century Free Spirit edition, flagged by Barn Finds reader Troy U. The seller lists no reserve but is opening up bidding at $5,500. While they may be hard to find, just how much it is worth depends on how hungry people are for a rough pace car project.

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While the real deal pace car that did parade laps was powered by a 455 V8 with some actual horsepower, the customer version was a far more lethargic 350 Buick V8 making about 165 bhp. Not earth-shattering, but I suspect this car is more about cruising to the local car show than fulfilling any performance fantasies. No mention is made of the engine’s condition or if the car currently turns over.

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The interior isn’t in great shape, with a cracked dashboard, seating surfaces and dirty carpets. The seller does mention the fact that the final sale will include a significant portion of replacement interior parts, so hopefully he has already begun collecting various components in better condition than what is pictured here. The good news is the seller claims this Free Spirit to be a rust-free South Carolina car.

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As you can see here, the grill will also need replacing and the Buick is in dire need of a paint job. The paint and body graphics is really what sets this car apart, so knowing what’s ahead for the next owner makes me think the price is a bit high. Then again, a quick search reveals that this car is one of the only ones on the market currently, but I do know Bruce Cliche cars in Vermont has one sitting in his yard if you’re looking for an even bigger project!

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Comments

  1. Joe

    Wow, in the spirit and getting ready for the Bicentennial. Don’t think I have ever seen one. Thanks!

    • mark

      Keep in mind that any vehicle (like everything else) is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    • grant

      Wow dude. I’m not a big fan of 70s cars but some people are. That was just mean spirited and frankly, uncalled for.

  2. sir mike

    ”Why are you drawn to these things”??? because UGLY draws a crowd!!! What was GM thinking?? But it was the 70’s…

  3. Nessy

    Nice car. This package was first offered late in the 75 model year for the upcoming Bicentennial. The same package was offered again for the 76 model year with the better looking front and square headlights. Neat car but since the original decals are not quite good enough to save, you need to redo the entire car anyway so 5500 is too much for this car as it is and not even running. There was a pretty nice example several years ago at the Hershey car corral just like this one for 12500.

  4. piper62j

    Needs work.. and plenty of it.. Appears to have been neglected for a long time. A conscientious owner would never have let the body decals, dents and header panel rot fall into neglect on a cool looking car like this.

    Better have your banker on board..

    I like it..

  5. grant

    Maybe it’s just me but I see a tired old 70s boat. Nothing of interest for me.

  6. Gary I

    Mid seventies cars just don’t see the values yet to justify the investment into a total restoration. Vehicle this large are as expensive as anything to restore and you cant sell them for near the investment. If you pay $5,500 for this and restore it back to stock it might be worth $12,500 when it’s done, why would anyone do that? I have a thing for mid sixties Oldsmobile Cutlasses but you can’t afford to restore them with the values in the $16,000 to $22,000 range finished. Good luck finding the right guy for this one.

    • dj

      I saw one sell about a year ago in excellent condition with low miles sell for $12k. I thought it was worth it.

  7. Mark S Member

    I like the look of this car too, it reminds me of times when I was first starting out in the auto trade. You can say what you like about 70’s cars but I see them as the last of an era the end of carberators and simple mechanics. I can’t help wounder 50 years from now what people will be doing with classic cars. Just thinking about all the complex junk that goes into 2015 cars makes me wounder if there will be people trying to restore them. The hated 70’s and 80’s cars might well be what’s left to restore, that’s if there not all crushed by then.

  8. Charles H.

    You took the words right out of my mouth, MountainMan……well said!

  9. Sukey

    Crush it
    You’ll be underwater the minute you buy it

  10. Barzini

    While removing several layers of wallpaper from my bathroom wall, I found a red/white/blue pattern that was similar to this. While I did not preserve that piece of history, I hope someone saves this car. It’s a time piece that reflects the style of the era.

    Like 1
  11. Mike D

    It looks pretty beat to me, , the question in my mind is , is it an actual pace car edition or the bi centenial ? there seems to be a few of these springing up now, wasn’t there one a few months back?

    • Nessy

      I think it’s both Mike. Buicks paced the Indy 500 both in 1975 and 1976. The 75 track cars had the 455 V8 and the 76 had the new V6 with a Turbo mod. 1978 was the first year Buick offered the 231 V6 Turbo package which of course, later turned into the famous Buick Grand National.

      Like 1
      • Tom Marsh

        There were 2 1975 Centurys with 455’s. One was the actual pace car and one was a back up. The rest of them were 350’s I had a 350, and know where one on the 2 with the 455 are very near my home. The documentation was so poor they dont know which one lapped the track. I can email pictures of the 455 if you are interested.

  12. van

    Anybody remember the 1976 4th of July
    The sailing ships sailing in new York harbor
    You’ll never see that again
    I want to see Trump top that
    If you have enough money that won’t call you a bum ass redneck.

    • Joe

      Van, yes I was there as a young teen. That was a BIG event. Thanks for the memory. This car and sailing ships in NYC harbor were all part of that whole experience. And although I could not see this car in my garage, I appreciate seeing it and all that it represents.

  13. Steve

    Awesome time to be alive and a wild eyed kid back then!
    My worry would be finding the parts for this car. I have never seen one in at least 25 yrs. and I live in Chicago.
    They are cool but rare even then.

  14. RollerD

    Interesting but the asking price is too high. I hope it gets saved. I wonder how many “Bicentennial” edition cars and trucks were offered in 1975 and 1976? And how many are left?
    There goes my evening.

  15. Wobblybob

    I had one of these sometime in the late seventies-early eighties. I bought it used. The previous owner removed all of the decals/stickers but it damaged the paint wherever the decals were so you could see all of the outlines of what they used to be. Kind of a cool car but nothing too memorable. At the time it was just basic transportation. If I remember, the interior was kind of neat with the white bucket seats and center counsel shifter.

  16. Steve

    Bruce Cliche…is that yard still around? This great article describes what that was/is like in gruesome detail: http://clunkernation.com/2013/06/06/horrorshow-the-muscle-car-junkyard/

  17. Elmer Fudd

    Why are you drawn to these things? I have no clue because I’m not. I looked the picture and never read anything. I have more important cars to pursue that actually mean something.

  18. Keith

    This looks like the same one that was on Ebay a couple years or so ago and didn’t sell. These are not without their more or less irrelevant charm, but definitely not something someone should be expecting to make a profit on. This would be a labor of love….perverse love of a car from 1976.

  19. Mark E

    I get all nostalgic because in ’75 and ’76 my friend and I would drive by the Buick dealer on hot humid nights and laugh at the graphics. Just looking at this and I can feel the sultry humid air, the taste of pizza hut pizza and the sound track from Pac Man running through my head.

    I wish I’d driven one of these with the V8. My father had a ’76 V-6 Century, an ungainly looking car that nearly killed me! The family was in a two car vacation caravan. It was brand new and I was driving while my sister and her friend were sleeping in the car. It was a two lane road with a slow driver in front. I waited till it was clear and pulled out. Pressing on the gas caused a slow gathering of speed. OK, it’s a weak car so I won’t stress it. I s-l-o-w-l-y pulled up even with the car when an oncoming car appeared in the distance. I pushed on the gas and there was no change. The oncoming car was getting very close so I stomped my toe into the carpet. Nothing. No downshift, no roaring engine, not even an increase in the gathering of speed! Somewhat panicked, I hit the brakes and quickly cut back in behind Mister Slowpoke. That car was a despicable example of middle ’70s GM engineering and quality.

    EPILOG: My mother bought a new ’78 or ’79 Regal coupe and it was thanks to that sucky Century that I got in to drive it for the first time at a shopping mall, put it in reverse and, knowing it was a (shudder) V6, stabbed the gas like the Century required. My Mother was not pleased that I smoked the rear tires of her brand new car… ^o^

  20. Mark E

    No! My God, please, just no…

  21. Mike

    My Dad was very good at replacing the vinyl decals with replacement paint jobs. A few years before he decided to step back from the body shop and let my brother-in-law run the day to day operation, A 75, came into the shop from a private collection, yes even in SE Missouri there are collections. Well the owner had asked around and found out that Dad was semi-famous, the car was striped down to the bare metal and repainted, then Dad went to work and repainted the graphics on the car. I wish I could find a picture of it, it was one of very few that had all of us standing beside a restoration job that had been done by Dad and the rest of us it was somewhere around 2000 if I remember correctly. The car was in very good shape except the decals where pretty faded, and Kent wanted it redone. We did a few more cars for him later on, I wonder if he still has the car, I might get in touch with him and go see if I can get a picture of the car.

  22. moosie Craig

    Somehow when I was viewing the interior pictures I got the aroma of musty mildew thru my brain,,,,,, it states no rust, well to me it looks like the “Iron moths” are ready to appear on the lower edge of the deck lid and also the header panel, let the buyer beware.

    Like 1
  23. Josh

    I ended up with the Buick out of Bruce’s yard, going to be posting it up forsale soon

    Like 1
  24. Bill Nagorka

    Owned a 76 Buick Century Special in 76 and now a red chariot….350 w/4 a four barrel. You don’t see many of these around….

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