B-Body Beauty: 1973 Buick Centurion Convertible – Sold?
March 3, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
GM’s full-size, land yacht, convertible swan song were its B-Body drop-top variants offered by every division from 1971 through 1975. The most unique feature of these convertibles was the unique “scissor-fold” top mechanism that folded into itself, mainly to provide rear seat shoulder room similar to a hardtop. One of the rarest of these land yachts was the 1971-1973 Buick Centurion epitomized by this all-black driver-quality example originally listed in February 2020 in Chicago, Illinois for $15,500. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Centurion priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $10,400 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $16,800. Similarly, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the asking price falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $12,200 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $18,425.
Here’s Hagerty Insurance’s Synopsis of these Malaise-Era Convertibles:
“Buick replaced the Wildcat name as their middle senior car series in 1971 with a new appellation, the Centurion. The company had played the same game in 1963 when it replaced the Invicta line with the Wildcat. Below it remained the LeSabre, and above it remained the Electra 225.
The 1971 B-body General Motors cars were entirely new, featuring a new “fuselage” look popularized by Chrysler starting in 1969. The bodyshell was shared with the LeSabre, riding on a 124-inch wheelbase, and the standard engine was Buick’s own 455 cubic inch V-8 of 330 hp (a huge upgrade from the standard LeSabre’s Buick built 350 cubic inch V-8 of 230 hp). This was the same formula that Buick had previously used decades before for the Buick Century line – small(ish) body, biggest engine. Front disc brakes were standard.
Body styles included hardtop sedan, hardtop coupe and convertible coupe. Prices began at $4,195 for the coupe. The styling itself was typically conservative and recognizable as a Buick. After GM’s huge 1970 strike, 1971 sales had nowhere to go but up. Buick sales were 551,188 units for the year, good for seventh place in the sales race, and comfortably ahead of rivals Mercury and Chrysler.
For 1972, the same line-up was ushered into the spotlight, but the big Buick V-8 now had 225 hp due to the new “net” power ratings used in the US. Front styling was changed, and the Centurion had an exclusive ‘vertical tooth’ grille as well as government-mandated front crash bumpers.
The 1973 cars debuted with a revised tail and rear crash-bumpers added, as well as changes to trim and details. The base engine was changed to the Buick-built 350 cubic inch engine, but the line-up remained the same. The Centurion name was retired after this model year, replaced by LeSabre Luxus in 1974.
The Buick engines seemed to have the edge on competitors in running better with the crude emission systems then in place, probably due to Buick’s stellar engineering expertise. Contemporary tune-up books state outright that “Buick’s emission systems have proven pretty reliable; they were the first to come out with the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system to reduce NOx, and seem to have had as little trouble as any manufacturer, and certainly less than Ford and Chrysler.”
Buyers of these cars when new obviously liked the comfort and size of a big Buick, but didn’t wish or could not afford to go “to the max” with the massive Electra 225 cars based on GM’s C-body structure. Yet they obviously could afford more than the lower cost LeSabre line, and proceeded to go to the “just right” category in the middle when buying.
People who enjoyed the 1960s big Buicks might enjoy the relative bargain (and standard disc brake safety) of these behemoths in order to obtain that magic carpet ride. The fact that these cars can easily run on unleaded gasoline doesn’t hurt, either.”
If you’re of a certain age and remember watching car reviews by Bud Lindemann, either when new or many years later on Speedvision, you’ll appreciate this video we found on YouTube for a similar 1972 Centurion model:
Reported to benefit from an older restoration, in addition to a full complement of power accessories and Buick 455 cubic inch power this example comes with a fiberglass parade boot we believe to be sourced from an Eldorado as we’re not sure that was an option on the Buicks. Unfortunately, the seller indicates the air conditioning system “needs a charge” which almost always means it needs a part repaired followed by an R124a conversion. Since this is an older restoration, be sure to look closely at the quality of the repaint and whether and rust repair has taken place. If everything checks out, you’ll have a great summer cruiser for you and five of your friends or family.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“For sale my 1973 Buick Centurion Convertible
Excellent condition ,runs really good
no issues ,no smoking or rattles
smooth shift transmission
455 motor with a/c that needs charge
Clean inside and out
Very nice interior no rips or tears
Very nice body ,older restoration still looks really good..
New top no tears ,no issues goes up and down as it should
comes with parade cover
Excellent tires with Buick rally wheels
old school am/fm cassette
Good brakes , everything works as it should
Show or go: what would you do with this restored Buick Land Yacht? Comment below and let us know!