Not Many Left: 1979 Buick Century Turbo Coupe


Apologies for the terrible craigslist photos, but this one is too rare not to share: a 1979 Buick Century Turbo Coupe here on craigslist in Wisconsin. The seller doesn’t post an asking price but instead is asking to swap the car for a camper. The original engine is removed but comes with the car and needs a rebuild, and an SBC currently resides in the engine bay. 


This turbo Buicks presented some in-house competition for the Corvette back in the day. The turbocharged V6 produced 175 b.h.p. and an impressive 275 pound-feet of torque. While not necessarily stump-pulling levels of power, that’s still a healthy amount of torque in a car that weighed about 3,000 lbs.

Image courtesy of

The car’s styling was the other area where improvements were made, with a sport steering wheel and bucket seats on the inside and hood bulge and rear spoiler on the outside. Of course, plenty of badges and graphics let you know this was not a standard-issue Century. I suspect in the malaise era, anything approaching performance credentials warranted visible clues to the extra power on board.

Image courtesy of

While it’s hard to tell based on the poor photos if the car listed for sale here still looks anything like the factory photos above, it does sound like the owner at least knows he owns a rare car worth saving. While the original engine will need a rebuild, at least it is included to preserve the provenance of a special edition vehicle that I suspect is near extinct. While that may mean something to me, I wonder if any of our readers agree – is this Turbo Coupe worth saving, or was it never that good to begin with?


  1. DENIS

    They weren’t very quick nor very sought after but like everything, as it gets older, it gets purtier. Decent shape and lightweight enough to be a good drag-car…had decent handling due to better suspension…love it or hate it styling…look good with lotsa rubber tucked under it.

    Like 1
  2. sir mike

    I’m still amazed that GM stayed in business building cars like these…Oh the 70’s..

    Like 2
  3. grant

    I had no idea Buick made a Century in anything other than a sedan. With that said, it’s still ugly…

  4. Ceezy

    Never saw one of these, but it is a 442 just like that I see quite regularly. I kind of like this buick though.

  5. AlphaRoaming

    Almost extinct for a good reason. Don’t see too many Chevettes and Cimmarons around, either!

  6. Carl

    No car should ever go extinct in my opinion. As a rule I love all cars, and have a huge soft spot for the 70’s and 80’s. I have a 1979 Buick full line brochure when I first read it I was surprised this model even existed. This is only the 2nd 1 I’ve seen. Truly rare and hopefully will get restored. In that same 1979 brochure another rare turbo Buick is featured the LeSabre Sport Coupe! I love full-size coupes that model I was really impressed with. Only I think a turbo V8 would have been more appropriate.

    Like 2
  7. Chris in Australia

    455 or Buick 350. TH 700. Fun.

  8. PhxBarbie

    Hideous. Makes the Edsel look good.

  9. boxdin

    This body style finally broke the back at GM for hatchbacks. Ruined the market since then.

    • Stephen

      It’s actually not a hatchback, though. It’s shaped like one but lacks the utility.

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Here is the video he mentions in the ad:

    The Buick can be seen at 2:44, but if you blink you will miss it.
    I managed to freeze the video on the car – it looks pretty good – not perfect, but it might be because it is original with old paint and no bodywork.

    • Simon

      for those who cant pause quick enough

      Like 2
      • Russell

        I know where this exact car sits now. Had a small block Chevy then with 373 gears. Still has original drive train to it.

        Like 1
  11. John

    These came from the early days of turbocharging. The turbos seldom outlasted the warranty and would “Coke-up” beyond repair. A new turbo was very expensive.

    It was not a good car. And it was not pretty.

  12. Ron (Florida)

    I like it, but I’d like it better if it was a Regal. Still, I’d take it, I like all the 78-88 a/g body variants


    This is the precursor to the venerable Grand National. Some say it’s the FIRST version of the GN in all of the history books.
    All it was is a Citation with some dress up, but the technology was developing and 8 yrs later it spawned one of the most successful engines Buick ever made.

    Like 1
  14. DENIS

    AMC STEVE….this car is actually larger than a Citation and a rear-wheel drive..totally different platform. This is Malibu-size and platform.

    Like 1
    • Travis W

      Your absolutely correct..Was my very first car an it is exactly the the same platform as the Regal an Cutlass of that year..Just the trunk an back glass angled sharply down…I put mine thru hell an it lasted 3+ years under a 16yr old with a heavy foot..Lol.miss it now

  15. Keith

    Looks very similar to the X-11 Citations. I don’t know why but I have a soft spot for these P.O.S.’s (including the Olds 442 version of this car) but I would never want to have to maintain or work on one or find parts.

  16. Chris

    I actually own one that’s on need of restoring, while I recognize it’s faults I love that most people don’t even know what it is.

    Like 2
  17. Dj

    Steve, you could actually get a 1979 Regal with the turbo so it was the Grand National before they made it. I had a friend that actually had a 79 Regal with the 301 turbo in it. He ordered it new.

    Like 1
  18. Don Page

    I have to agree that it had love it or hate it styling. Purchased a 1978 Olds Cutlass Salon Brougham 2 door new & always liked the body style. Fit & finish was horrible & the 260 V8 was a boat anchor. On the plus side, it did attract a lot of attention and it did have bucket seats with console. I tried of found a 442 version of it several years ago but couldn’t find one in the condition I was looking for. Then in 2007, I found a one owner 79 Buick Century Turbo Coupe with 12,000 actual miles on it. All original including the tires & shocks !!!!! He had a letter from Buick stating that “in 1979 Buick built a total of 61 Buick Century Turbo Coupes.” On my bucket list is to research this & finally put to rest the production numbers for this rare car.

    Like 2
    • ST

      Hello Don, do can you give me your contact info please thanks or email me I’m interested on info of your Buick thanks I’ll give your more info in private thank you .

      • Don Page

        You can contact me on facebook. Go to 1978-80 Buick Century and Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon 2 door coupes. Like the page and you can contact me by pm from there.

      • Don Page

        What would you like to know about my Buick ? Give me an idea of what your are looking for & I will reply.

  19. John C.

    I have 2 plus a regular 79 Century Coupe. Sold a 3rd CTC a while ago. One CTC is beyond recovery (parts only), the other is complete but needs total resto. Regular Coupe is for a special project. I’ve been collecting NOS parts for 20 yrs. not much left out there.
    Most think they are ugly cars. Maybe so, but that’s why I like them. Certainly very rare, and most have no idea what it is.

    Like 2
    • Anwan Taylor

      I happen to own a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass salon and I have been searching 4 the rear spoiler from the Buick Century Turbo Coupe for some years now. I would like to know if there’s any way I can get in touch with John C.? I know that this is a long shot but any shot is worth a shot :-)

    • CenturyTurboCoupe

      Hi. Do you have a spare grill and left tail light? Thanks.

      • Don Page

        I have very few spare parts and no grill or taillight. My best suggestions would be to keep searching online on Ebay, junkyards, etc. I do have a Facebook page devoted to the 78-80 Century and Cutlass Salon. You may find what your looking for there. Feel free to post what your looking for and some pictures of your car and some information about it.

      • Russ

        I have a few parts for these cars. I have taillights and maybe a grille. What style grille you looking for?


  20. Nick D

    I still have my daily driver 1978 non turbo Century 69k original miles, debating a mild restoration or if this is someone else’s future project

  21. tony pitsch Member

    I drove one of these in high school. had it a couple of years. It ran well. that was in 1984. white with red bench seat interior. column shift. rubber finned wheels, blacked lower trunk lid, with turbo coupe logo, bulged hood & blacked out grille area. hawks on fenders. had no idea this was a rare car at the time. it was the only that I knew of though. girlfriend / wife hated it though….still have pics of it somewhere.

  22. Don Page

    Here’s a picture of the letter (that the original owner gave) that he got from Buick in response to his request for production numbers of the 79 Century Turbo Coupe. Not a good picture but it says 61 total.

  23. Trevor

    I have a 1979 CTC and I have a production sheet from GM of Canada claiming the total production for these. Any interest in seeing this?

    Like 1
    • Don Page

      Yes. I would like to see it.

    • Russell

      I would like this info also.

    • Me


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