Plain Jane Driver: 1974 Buick Century

Somebody must really love and have a sentimental attachment to this 1974 Buick Century, as the seller continually refers to the car as “She” and “Her” throughout the entire listing.  Back in the seventies, when it came to family sedans those A-Body General Motors cars really were considered some of America’s sweethearts, and while the cars I had sentimental attachments to were more like my ’70 Road Runner and ’71 ‘Cuda I certainly understand attachment issues regardless of the particular vehicle.  If you’ve been looking for a decent sedan from the mid-70s and one that won’t deplete your bank account, maybe you could fall in love with this 1974 Buick Century.  Located in Juliette, Georgia, it can be seen here on eBay with a current bid of $1,200 and about four and a half days left on the auction at the time of this writing.

The seller says that he has owned this Century for about 10 years and that he bought the car in San Diego, where it was purchased new and had 82,000 miles when he acquired it.  The car was his daily driver for several years and now has 102,200 miles.  The body still has the original paint, which has become dull over the years plus there’s a dent in the passenger side front door, which the seller describes as a “hoss kick”.  There are also two very small rust areas on the passenger side, but the rest of the car is described as rock-solid.

This Century is the base model, but it does come equipped with air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, and an AM radio which is no longer sending out any tunes  The interior is in pretty nice shape, with the seats receiving a professional cloth recovering in 2018, although the original carpet has a worn spot on the driver’s side and there’s one area on the dashboard with some chipping near the driver’s door.

Under the hood is the original Buick 350 cubic inch V8, paired with an automatic transmission, and the car is said to be in mechanically good condition.  8,000 miles ago the engine received several new gaskets, including gaskets for the valve covers and timing cover, intake manifold, oil pan, and transmission pan, so those fluids should be staying inside where they belong.  The car has also had the smog pump and belt removed.

Overall this one looks like a decent survivor, and if you’re a fan of Kojak that may sweeten the deal a little more (“Who loves ya, baby?”), as she’s nearly identical to the car Telly Savalis drove.  What are your thoughts on this 1974 Buick Century?

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    First thought upon seeing this one (before even reading the write up), Kojak!
    GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 30
    • Sam61

      Thought the same thing! Door dent is a head butt from an offender resisting arrest.

      Like 20
    • Bill

      Kojak was the first detective show that featured Telly Savalas, whose character was bald, as was Savalas. The cars Kojak would drive are both a 1970 AMC Ambassador and a 1972 Alfa Romeo

      Like 6
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    Somehow I think this car would be a dead giveaway on a stakeout.

    Like 12
    • Psychofish2

      Like the brown undercover Coronet that pulled up and nabbed this woman on Hollywood Blvd one afternoon.

      My friend and I were talking in front of Woolworths and this woman crossed the street wearing nothing but a pair of high heels, in broad daylight.

      The undercover cops were on it and grabbed her in front of the Christian Science Reading Room, threw a coat over her and took her away.

      Just another day on Hollywood Blvd.

      That “undercover” Coronet would have stood out like a spot light anywhere, even back then.

  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    One might be surprised what a few hours with a paint rejuvenation product could yield. Always glad to see basic transportation cars which have survived. Have some low-stress fun at a show, maybe even park beside a red Camaro. Extra credit for the car being brown.

    Like 30
    • local_sheriff

      Very good point on the brown – IMHO intestine colors are a must-have on a mid 70s vehicle! 👍 Its upholstery is in shockingly good nick so this Buick could potentially be a very rewarding project with some elbow grease. Don’t even recall seeing poverty caps on these Buicks

      Like 6
  4. Stevieg Member

    Currently at $1,281. Looks like an absolute bargain to me! I never bought off Ebay, but I am thinking about trying to figure out how to bid and then doing so!

    Like 17
  5. 8banger 8banger Member

    Styrofoam coffee cups and long hours of surveillance.

    Like 10
  6. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    The only issue with daily driving is gas. Doubt this baby can crack 10 mpg.

    Like 6
    • Allen L

      My 75 Chevelle with a 350 2 bbl easily got 16 mpg.
      I doubt the Buick 350 would be much more thirsty.
      Big difference, 74s would have the air pump for emissions control, my 75 had a catalytic converter, which actually increased the hp rating, no powering an air pump!

      Like 5
      • Psychofish2

        74 was a low point for emission control. They ran so bad even my Dad noticed and he claimed he’d never own car from ’74 because of it.

        Car rags of the day noted it: hard cold starts, fuel starvation on hard left or right turns, stalling repeatedly, poor gas mileage.

        This Buick has the smog pump and belt removed according to the article.

        No smog on ’74 and earlier in CA, so no worries for the next buyer if in lives in the state.

        EPA # was 10.1 mpg for the 350 2 BBL.
        Malibu Classic 350 2 BBL 9.9.
        https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/pdfs/guides/FEG1974.pdf

        Your mileage may vary of course.

        And in ’75 either via testing changes etc the #s were 12 city, 19 highway. [16 and 24 with the reappearance of the V6 ]

        https://afdc.energy.gov/files/pdfs/1975_feg.pdf

        GM couldn’t buy their tooling for their V6 back from AMC fast enough as the decade wore on.

        Fun stuff.

        Like 1
    • Mark

      The 74 century I had back in the day with the 350 2bbL three on the tree tranny 4 door manual steering and brakes, no a/c and radio delete car, rubber floor instead of carpeting and had the optional front end anti sway strut and rear anti sway bar (out would be worth a small fortune today optioned that way!) with the smog pump removed and plated off at the intake got 14 mpg around town and 21 hwy going 55!

      Like 1
    • Utes

      @ Oldog4tz…Just installing duals will get you lots better mileage….plus a nice kick in the butt!

  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    Stevieg, I have bought several cars off ebay. You just need an ebay account and whatever funding thing they require. Make sure there’s a title!

    Ebay may also have tootsie-pops. “Who loves ya, baby?”.

    Like 10
    • Mark

      Rex I read the eBay ad NO TITLE!!! Seller says Alabama doesn’t require a title, yet he’s register it and such for the last ten years and still has the California title which he’s signed! Note in Mn we have titles and if there’s no current title you need to get a bonded tittle, complicated and could be an expensive hassle, plus he’s got the the previous owners title which they signed and he signed which renders the title not valid in our state. Auction up to $1600 with two days left, MLK Day it ends and out state offices are closed then so even though I’ve bed looking for one of these prices within reality which this one is-just no title in the sellers name!!!

  8. MattinLA

    This car was boring in 1974 when Kojak drove one and it still makes me yawn! The colonnade body style was such a let down after the late 60’s and early 70’s stunners.

    Like 5
  9. P. Wentzell

    My Drivers Ed. car was a fully dressed ’74 Century.

    Like 6
    • Sam Shive

      74 Olds Cutlass

      Like 2
  10. Rw

    I haven’t read article,but thought Kojack.

    Like 5
    • I Luv NY

      Who loves ya baby.

      Crocket wheres my loli pops😉

      Good looking plane jane car….

      Like 2
  11. TBone

    Uncle Ed, RIP

    Like 1
  12. David Ulrey

    Absolutely my kind of car! I’m an oddball that likes very basic cars and trucks.

    Like 9
    • Psychofish2

      The same David. It’s how I buy them. And keep them.

      I saw a 2007 Ranger pickup in 2010 that, if the dealership had been open, I might have traded for: crank windows, 4 cyl, 5 speed, bench seat, rubber flooring. As basic and purposeful as a vehicle gets. Beautiful.

      It did have a bed cover and fancy wheels

    • glenn marks

      David Ulrey? Did you by any chance teach at Ohio University 1970-71ish? Oh, I like plain jane cars too. First new car ’74 Duster 3 on the floor, no carpets, AM radio, slant-six. Nuff said.

  13. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey David U, I like oddball cars too, and the classic car world needs more like us and our odd cars. Enough Mustangs/Corvettes/GTOs/Camaros etc, I’ve seen them all twice over.

    BUT, when I bring my 65 New Yorker to car shows, nobody even looks at it, despite it’s amazing low-miles condition and utter large-and-in-charge presence. What’s wrong with people?

    Like 28
    • Mark C

      That’s a good question if nobody is checking out that car, Rex. Love the lines and the color. I’d be picking your brain wanting to know all about it.

      Like 14
    • Stan

      Beauty New Yorker Rex
      Even w the malaise gears and weak 350 this Buick probably cruises nice. Roomy as well.

      Like 6
    • Mike Stephens Staff

      That’s a stunning beauty Rex, I’d be looking inside and out if it was at a car show in my neck of the woods!

      Like 8
    • Bob S

      Rex, for what it’s worth, your Chrysler would be on of the first cars I look at. How sweet!!!

      Like 8
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Rex, a family friend had a new one identical to yours back when. Beautiful interior wood accents if I recall correctly.

      Like 3
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Thanks 370 and you other fellows. It seems most guys in the classic car world can only focus on the 6 or 7 most popular models, so a car like the NYer or this Buick Century doesn’t even rate a glance.

        Worse now is the trend of guys bringing brand new cars to classic car shows. When I see a 2021 Mustang (or a whole row of them), I do as Dionne Warwick did and just “Walk On By”.

        Like 12
    • S

      I think this New Yorker is very nice! The 6 window style (Town sedan) is quite unusual. Available in 65 and 66 only.

      Like 6
    • Mark

      Rex your car rocks!!!! I go to car shows to see cars like yours and this brown Buick!

      Like 2
    • Psychofish2

      I would walk across the show field to see that. And have done with others.

      The ride a presenter gave me in his Trabant at a Woodley Park Van Nuys show was the highlight of my show going life.

      A Euro show. Lots of interesting exotics. I don’t even remember them.

      That Trabant ? Oh yeahhhhh.

    • Karl

      Does it have clear tail lights???
      That car is outstanding!!!

      • Rex Kahrs Member

        You mean the New Yorker Karl? I seem to recall that some early 65s did come out with clear taillight lenses, then were quickly changed to red. Not sure why this happened. Do you know?

    • TorqueFlite

      That means you’re bringing this to the wrong shows! I’d love to see this in person. You never see honest, classic cars at car shows that aren’t screaming for attention.

      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Thanks TorqueFlite. Hell, I took it to a Mopar show up in Ocala, and those jokers weren’t even interested. It isn’t a Challenger or ‘Cuda or Charger. Those guys wouldn’t know who Virgil Exner or Elwood Engel even are, despite those two gentlemen’s HUGE influence on American car design.

        Like 1
  14. Sam Shive

    Where’s The Kodak

    Like 1
  15. Howard A Member

    You guys are great,,,you know, as one ages, with not so rosy pasts, memory can fade and a tip of the hat to those that remember. TV in the 70’s was, I’d like to think, at it’s pinnacle of entertainment. So many great shows, the term “couch potato” was invented, because there were literally so many good shows, you’d get an axx groove in the couch from watching hours on end,,,in between work, that is. When I saw this car, I KNEW some TV police show used one,( only full wheel covers) Kojak was big, probably the 1st most real life cop show made. For the 1st time, it showed what police had to go through, and YOU WERE THERE!! There’s no question, Savalas invented the “bald look”, that is more popular than ever today, once looked on as a freak, and why hats were so popular.
    The car itself, I’m surprised,,,no shocked, here you have one of the best family sedans ever made, and $1200 BUCKS??? The atrocities these cars went through and still made it. I see cars like this on occasion here, Walmart parking lot mostly, with some downtrodden individual living in it with all their worldly possessions in the back seat, just a beater that still runs, and sadly home, but if you want a car, perhaps the very LAST car you’ll ever need to buy, you simply couldn’t go wrong here. A Buick was always more than just a Chevy, and one of the last great GM’s still standing,,,,for now. Great find.

    Like 13
    • S

      Actually Kojak’s car did have the small hubcaps like this. He did not have full wheel covers. Police vehicles were typically stripped down – only had what you really needed, no ornamentation or visual enhancements. What was unusual is that Kojak drove a Buick and not some kind of Chevrolet or other full sized Big 3 vehicle. I’m not sure why they chose this car for that show.

      Like 4
  16. timothy r herrod

    I needed a car back in around 86 and someone i knew had one of these in some sort of green color, paid $100 bucks for it and drove it for work, that front distributor sure made points changing easy. As i write this i have absolutely no idea what i did with that car.

    Like 3
  17. Allen L

    Since we’re on a Telly Savalas kick, his daughter, Ariana Savalas is a great singer.
    She often performs with a group called ‘Postmodern Jukebox.’
    She, and they, are worth checking out.
    https://youtu.be/OqwIloa3DVk

    Like 1
  18. S

    My grandparents drove one of these, except theirs was a 75. I’m pretty sure it also had the V6 (first year for it), which must have been very slow. And the catalytic converter couldn’t have helped. As everyone has mentioned here, I immediately thought of Kojak, except his car was darker brown. He also had the small hubcaps on his car. Although this car has some distinctive styling (swoop spear and long thin tail lights) the sedan body style overall didn’t come out as well as the coupes.

    Like 2
  19. Mark K

    Hi! I love it!! I had a 73 century back in the day but not loaded with all the options yours has, but being in Mn by 1988 the floors and bottoms of the quarter panels were gone!
    Mine had, I’m not making this up, 350 2bbL
    3 on the yes manual transmission, 3 core radiator, big front end Anti sway strut along with rear anti sway bar (only options), 4 door, manual steering & brakes, radio delete, rubber floor no carpeting, no a/c with black vinyl seats, bench front seat no arm rest in the middle, radio delete, dog dish small hubcaps, no rear window defroster After I removed the smog pump, and plated off where the pump connection went into the intake manifold by the carb (did they plate that off too?) and advanced the timing 2 degrees she got much better performance and gas mileage!

  20. Keith D.

    When I was a teen in the 80’s (1983) me and a friend of mine were playing hookie from school on a hot day in May and we were roaming through a parking garage and my friend was trying car door handles to see if it were open and he came across a red Buick Century 4-door (1975). The door was open and the keys were in the glove compartment. Of course he drove the car out of the garage, he was 16 and I was 17 at the time and committed an offense against the law. We drove around with it for about a week and one of my neighbors parents spotted us joyriding and told our parents. My father ordered me to give him the keys and I told him I didn’t have the keys, he told me to tell my friend to surrender the vehicle immediately which we did. We parked the Century at a disclosed location in the neighborhood placed the keys back in the glove compartment and after notifying my father in five minutes we watched the Century being towed away with the cops on the scene. It was a scary scene that could’ve resulted in some serious consequences, but I lost my mind temporarily and luckily for me and my friend we never indulged in that type of unlawful behavior ever again. But that’s my memory of the Buick Century, and to be honest, I didn’t think people were still leaving car keys in their glove compartment anymore. I thought that went out of practice in the 60’s

    Like 6
  21. Utes

    One just like Theo’s!….gotta’ make sure not to discard any Tootsie-Roll Pop wrappers under the seat!

  22. Utes

    @ Psychofish2…..No smog device(s) in CA. prior to ’74? That’s WAY off the mark! CA. had smog pumps on vehicles starting in ’66. I once test drove a shipped-from-CA. Goodwood Green ’67 L68 Stingray coupe @ a local dealer, that had CA.’s then-current emission pump installed.

  23. Utes

    As soon as I’d get this, my first order of business would be to latch onto a ’71 4-bl./455. ’71 & ’72 455s had strong bottom ends & weren’t choked off, carburetor-wise.

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