Rare 1976 Buick Century Free Spirit

As an automotive enthusiast who appreciates vehicles from all around the world, I enjoy learning about interesting vehicles that I was previously unaware of. I didn’t know much about this 1976 Buick Century Free Spirit that Barn Finds reader David Raezer found here on Craigslist, but as soon as I saw the unique exterior decals, I knew I wanted to find out more about this large, special edition coupe.

This interesting Buick is available in Edgewood, Washington with a clean title. The seller claims that this example is 203rd of 1290 Century Free Spirit models that the company produced for the 1976 model year.

The exterior of this special edition pays homage to the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car from 1976, and as stated earlier, the exterior graphics are what drew me into this vehicle. Except for what looks like a small dent on the front passenger fender, the vehicle is in noteworthy shape, especially considering that the paint, decals, and body are all original.

Inside the cabin, there’s a black leather interior with woodgrain accents. Like the exterior, it’s also in remarkable and seemingly original shape.

Under the hood, you’ll find a 455 cu.-in. (7.5-liter) V8 engine, which pairs to an automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels. The drivetrain has 71,000 miles on it and was the largest of the engine options available for the Century Free Spirit, which was also offered with either a 350 cu.-in. (5.7-liter) V8 and a naturally aspirated 231 cu.-in. (3.8-liter) V6 engine. Interestingly, the actual Indy 500 pace car used a turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine, which had similarities to the engine that would appear in production models such as the Regal T-Type and Grand National.

Unfortunately, the seller does not list a price for this Century Free Spirit, but pristine examples of these replica pace cars tend to go for around $20,000 while project examples, such as this one we featured a handful of years ago, command significantly less cash. What do you think of this limited production Buick?

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Comments

  1. Mr.BZ

    Very cool part of our automotive history, but all I can think of is climbing into that driver’s seat and enjoying one of the best rides available. Comfort, convenience and a big block underfoot (even if it is smogged up).

    12
  2. Doc

    This is a car soooooo worthy of a collection, it’s not funny. Can not even explain how hard it is to find them. For some of us Colonnade fans, this is a true treasure. Such a unreal car to be in that condition .. most late 70’s cars are beat to death. I’ll take a ‘75 Free Spirit, this ‘76 Free Spirit any day of the week, NO one will be at a cruise or show pulling in with one of these.
    I applaud the seller for the middle finger no price listing, love it. Make a real offer and not insult the seller (original owner!) this is in the barn.

    17
  3. AndyinMA

    Not sure I could wear “Free Spirit” on a t-shirt, much less a car.

    11
    • Ike Onick

      I was hoping there would a satin jacket as part of the deal.

      8
      • Clay Bryant

        The factory did make satin jackets in silver and featured them in acc. offers.

        4
  4. jerry z

    I remember these cars and thought these were cool as a kid! What can I say, stickers and stripes were awesome back then! Just lose the t-tops!

    5
    • Mike Brown

      I don’t get the problem everyone has with t-tops. I’ve had them in several second generation F-bodies and still have them in the 1988 Cutlass Supreme Classic that I bought brand new in November 1987. None of mine EVER leaked a drop. Sure, the cowl flexes a bit but that’s what happens when you cut half of the roof out of a car.

      6
      • Patrick Farmer

        Live in Houston or New York city and they will leak. They are fine on a car with a full perimeter frame, such as this, but weaken the car on an F-body. You have to have sub-frame connectors to really push their performance or the body will twist, the doors will start to sag and the wind shield cracks. Hurst Hatch was a stronger version than the Cars and Concepts units, which were wider. Twist the car and drip, drip.drip. Take them on and off a lot and not clean and Armour All then, drip, drip, drip.

    • Fred Alexander

      T-Tops Forever !

      5
  5. Chris M.

    Unrivaled Flamboyance! It’s one of the cleanest examples I’ve seen of this era.

    7
  6. Bmac777 Member

    Other than the decals, I like it.
    I’ve never seen one, The interior looks like it would be a fun to drive, and smog or not that 455 will put you back in the seat when you plant it and the passing gear kicks down.
    Be really nice if it had something like 3.23’s.

    5
    • Rosco

      Remove the decals and it’s just another 1976 Buick Century. Craigslist ad says it’s a 350 not a 455.

      4
      • Superdessucke

        The actual pace car had a turbocharged 3.8 liter V-6 tuned to over 300 horsepower. The replicas used 350 V8.

  7. Terry

    if I’m not mistaken the decal package adds about 40 hp…….

    24
  8. Jcs

    Correction, remove the decals and it is a very nice 76 Buick Century. Cool car, best of luck to the seller if it is indeed a legitimate listing.

    3
  9. OIL SLICK

    Oh look the circus is back in town. Stupid car then and stupid now.

    6
    • Howard A Member

      While I cringe at replying to your post, clearly, with a comment like that, you sure missed the boat on what this car represents. The mid 70’s was a happening time, and you wanted to express that freedom in your automobiles. The wilder, the better. It’s a great find from a great time. I suppose you’d paint it flat black with 22’s all around,,,

      56
      • Doc

        🤣

        9
  10. Mike

    I remember these when they were new, Frank Davis Buick in Madison, Tennessee had one in their showroom. I thought it looked cool when I was 11. Today I still kind of like it, but I was expecting a more exciting steering wheel…

    5
  11. Chris

    I think that’s an awesome car from that era ….Love it no matter what other people think . “To each there own “

    5
  12. Raymond Smith

    Our bicentennial year was a great time for patriotic themed cars. I was 13 years old back in 1976. I could not have been more car crazy and bought every car magazine I could with my paper route money. I would look at these cars and dream of being able to save enough money to eventually buy one. If I were a big time collector I would definitely have a section of these special edition cars that I so desired from my youth.

    7
  13. Tort Member

    Wouldn’t drive it once around the block in seventies and wouldn’t today but not knocking anyone that would. As they said back in the seventies ” different strokes for different folks “

  14. Robbie R.

    Wow, love this. I started driving in the early 70s and drove many different cool cars of that era. I can’t seem to remember seeing one of these, but glad that someone preserved one.

    1
  15. Ben Leighton

    Sweet!

    1
  16. Patrick Farmer

    Damn it. I have been looking for one of these to go with my Can Am for years. When I find one it’s been whipped or exposed to saIt air. It never fails. You have to spend all your cash on the kids, dogs and the house and then you don’t have enough when something like this comes up. Story of my life. This thing is CLEAN. The spoiler is perfect. I am going to sick.

    2
  17. Comet

    Is this a Buick?

    1
    • Patrick Farmer

      You can’t take a hint from the big Buick decal on the back? Or is your statement meant to get a DAH response?

  18. Gerry

    Had one back in the day. Don’t think steering wheel is original. Mine had 3 sloted aluminum spokes in center

    1
  19. Fred Alexander

    T-Tops Forever – – – !

    5
  20. capriest

    Those front fender decals are tacky as all hell, but otherwise I love it! It’s in great condition, and that interior is amazing. If it is a 455 all the better. Original owner knew what they were doing loading it up, and getting the biggest engine. Glad they drove it yet preserved it instead of socking it away.

    1
    • Patrick Farmer

      I agree with you. A Buick 455 or a Cadillac 500 or an LS motor. You can make.a Colonnade Coupe handle. You can get a dual exhaust transmission crossmember from any 1973-74 A -body which this is. Put a power dome like a Grand National or hood scoops from an early 70’s GS. Paint it black and drive it at night to make people go WTF is that. The grille is different as far as I can tell from a base model. The bottom of the grille is furture forward and angles backward as ot rises to the top. It’s more slanted.

  21. John Oliveri

    I loved the Regal, from 76,77, prettiest car of the top 4 Grand Prix Cutlass and Monte Carlo, if you were a Guido of intermediate means you drove one of those, ifit’s a 455 all the better, I’d buy it now, but not then, too many stickers, but rare and cool now

  22. unclemymy Member

    Is it just me, or do so many of these “barn” photos look staged? There are always individual items stacked very close around the car, and three or four carefully arranged on the trunk. Dust is easy to acquire. To be believable, I’d have the windows down, and pictures of the dust and cat**** all over the interior.

    • Stevieg Member

      That is a blacked out Buick Century grill. Nothing custom about it other than being blacked out. The Buick Regal was more common & had a more “formal” upright grill. I don’t dislike the Century grill, but I do prefer the Regal grill.

      • Patrick Farmer

        Okay, I see my error. It is a Century grill.

  23. Patrick Farmer

    The bumpers are heavier than the body of a Honda Fit.

  24. Cattoo Member

    I’d love to have and drive this big old Buick especially because of the decals and color scheme. And it should come with a satin jacket or a leather one to match the interior.

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