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Friends, Romans, Lend Me Your Buick?


This 1971 Buick Centurion (ok, I admit it, I was stretching a little with the title) is a solid North Dakota car that has migrated across the border to Britton, South Dakota. It’s listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is up to only $1,300 but the reserve has already been met!


Besides being the way you’d want to spend time in this supposedly rust-free convertible, this is the only way you can right now, because a) the top won’t go up, and b) the transmission only works in reverse! While neither of those two problems are insurmountable, you might want to keep both in mind as you bid on this big red machine. The transmission should be a TH400 automatic, so there are plenty floating around if you don’t want to tackle repairing this one, although I found an overhaul kit for $227 here. I also found tops as low as $163 here.


That’s a lot of trunk! I’m sure the paint is a repaint, but the chrome looks okay for a driver, despite a slight bend here and there. The license plate dates from May of 2009, so we know it’s been off the road for a good while. The seller says they bought it as a project, but it’s taking up too much room in the garage–sound familiar? They also mention a scratch on the left front fender.


We don’t get a complete interior shot, but the seller says that apart from a single hole in the front seat they just need cleaning up. While the mileage is quoted as 30,000, I’m pretty sure that’s 130,000, so this may be a reupholstery job.


One of the things that concerns me under the hood is that the 350 V8 wasn’t offered in the Centurion until 1973, so we know this isn’t the original engine. However, in today’s world, a 350 isn’t a bad size engine to have–you might even break into double-digit fuel economy! But I’ll be honest–if the engine isn’t really sweet, this might be a car I’d consider dropping a late model LS engine and efficient automatic in. Sure, this isn’t the nicest or most original car around, but for a garage find that might be some fun this summer, with a potentially a low total investment–I’d love it! How about you? And what do you think this Centurion will end up selling for?


  1. Poppy

    Not the most glaring issue by far, but it looks like this car came without headrests. For an upscale Buick I find it surprising that they weren’t standard by 1971. Was there a headrest-delete option?

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  2. Rubin Collazo

    Somebody put seat covers on and left the headrest off you can see the bumps.

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  3. Kent Pearson

    f the top won’t go up it’s not a new top you’ll be needing but a air of new lift motors – pricey. Or maybe you get lucky and it’s just a relay or a new switch. Then you look for a new top

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  4. Vince Habel

    Look under 71 Buick engine specs. They tell you how to id the engines. A 350 was in the 71.

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  5. redwagon

    these are really, really, I mean really big.

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  6. Fred W.

    Quite a bargain at the moment, but knowing Ebay will move into unrealistic territory before long, with the tranny job and top issues in mind.

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  7. St. Ramone de V8

    I like it! Before the ugly big bumpers. Large car, yes, but it’s a convertible and in decent shape. A transmission would be an afternoon job, but the top may be expensive.

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  8. Moparman Elliott Member

    A friend of mine has this same car, but w/ black interior and top residing in his shop right now, waiting for a minor repair! :-)

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  9. Marty Member

    Also to consider, the top may not go up because there is a problem with the top frame being bent. This has the same “scissor” style sideways-folding mechanism as all the other ’71-’76 big GM convertibles, Eldorado, Caprice, 88, Grandville, etc. Fixable, and the parts aren’t impossible to find, but getting them adjusted correctly takes some doing. This is still a neat deal on a big Buick drop-top.

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  10. Jerr

    Had a 72 Centurion with black interior. Got 19 mpg with the 455. Loved this car, wish I still had it. The convertible top would be cool to have.

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  11. Anthony

    These are really great cars. Nothing like a huge convertible on the weekends. Id love to have it if the pictures are true. Nothing there I would be scared of. A 455 would make it better.

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