Free Spirit Project: 1975 Buick Century Pace Car

Pace car tributes are almost always some of the cooler finds among the classic American car marketplace, if for no other reason than the paint-and-sticker scheme is unlike anything else you’d find on the dealer’s lot. The 1975 Buick Century “Free Spirit” Indy 500 Pace Car has one of the more memorable graphics kits I can recall on a pace car replica, along with T-tops, color-matched wheels, and a Buick 350 V8 under the hood. While they made well under 200 b.h.p., the Century still stand out today for its looks alone. This example listed here on eBay was slated to be a restoration project, but the seller has decided after many years, it’s not going to happen.

The suggested opening bid is a reasonable $2,500 with no reserve, but there’s no action on that price of entry just yet. The seller claims to have owned the Buick for several years, and pictures in the gallery show he’s been busy acquiring parts during that time. After acquiring the Free Spirit, he purchased another Buick to be a parts donor for this one, but ended up restoring the parts car instead. That’s not because of any major body or mechanical issues with the pace car, as the seller notes it has lived primarily in Montana and Northern California, before making its way to Texas where it currently resides.

The floors are where the bulk of the rust issues reside, with the seller noting that he replaced the driver’s side to an OK level of quality, but the passenger side still needs to be done. The replacement sheetmetal for the passenger floor is included, and the seller seems to allude that a perfectionist may want to take another whack at the driver’s side, too. The frame is solid and there’s only some minor rust noted in the lower rear quarters that hasn’t rotted through. The interior will obviously need some work, and looks more like a car that’s been in Texas all of its life versus the other way around.

The Buick V8 wasn’t exactly a powerhouse, and the seller had plans to swap out the 350 for a 455  / Turbo 400 transmission setup. At current, the 350 is paired to a Turbo 350 transmission, and the seller notes it does run but he’s only fired it up briefly after it was delivered from California. The engine bay is quite tired with parts missing, and there’s no mention of the air cleaner whereabouts in the listing. Several spare body panels and other parts are included in the sale, such as bumpers, T-top panels (the original glass is cracked), and trunk lid, along with drivetrain parts such as a Posi-Track rear end and balanced drive shaft. The opening bid seems like a reasonable number for a limited edition project – do you agree?


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  1. Big_Fun Member

    As hindsight is almost always 20/20, I often think I should’ve bought a very nice version of one of these, off of a used car lot (“The Car Cafe”) when I lived in Des Moines, IA.
    But then I think, “What wouldn’t I have purchased if I bought this? I tend to hang on to rides a little too long, and could I have grown tired of the red graphics and the white rally wheels? Or would a drive with the T Tops removed confirm my purchase decision? Ah, hindsight…
    I am thankful for Barn Finds letting me reminisce on so called missed opportunities, as well as the rides we saw everywhere growing up, now popping up as ‘waxing Nostalgia’, no matter how wayward it may be!

    Like 2
  2. Mitchell Gildea Member

    In Russia Spirit free you

    Like 1
  3. Ike Onick

    Free Spirit should be Free Car from the looks of it.

  4. Maverick

    The air cleaner is there.

  5. Tom Marsh

    I had one in 1985, first car. I absolutely loved it. I have also personally sat in and driven one of the 2 that were at the racetrack. No one knows if it was the one that paced the racecars or it was the back-up. It was one of the 2 made with the 455 and was in fantastic shape. I have numerous pictures of it…not sure if I can or how to share the pictures.Last I knew the car was in Cannon Falls, Minnesota around 1995. The asking price was not high then but I just purchased my first home and wanted to start a family. Tom

  6. Tim

    is this still for sale?

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