Rare Rides: Basic Brown Buick, a 1973 Century Coupe

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides basic brown buick a 1973 century coupe

Though its nameplate dated back to the Thirties, the Century was an all-new model for Buick in 1973. The Century promised exciting value and (optional) power and luxury in the mid-size segment.

Let’s check out this very basic three on the tree coupe.

The first Century was offered in 1936, a year when Buick renamed their entire line to recognize new styling and engineering improvements. The name was discontinued after 1942 but returned in 1954 when Century was once more a full-size car. The first- and second-generation Century models followed the same formula: Use the body from Buick’s Special with its largest V8 engine. The second-generation Century lasted only through 1958 before the name was retired once again.

Not until 1973 did a Century return to Buick’s showroom floors, as a new midsize offering on the rear-drive A-body platform. Prior to ’73, Buick’s midsize was the Skylark, but that name went away for a while (to return later as a compact) and the Century took its place. The top Century trim was the Regal at the outset, a name which quickly became its own separate model. Century was available with two doors as a coupe, or with four as a sedan and wagon.

Worth mentioning, there was a class distinction amongst the Century coupes. Base models called Century 350 had a rear quarter window and fastback profile, while the more expensive Century Luxus had a notchback roof with opera windows. Century Regal (shown) also carried the more formal roof. The Luxus name was short-lived and was replaced by the more familiar Custom trim in 1975.

Base engine duty was handed to the 231 cubic-inch Buick V6 from 1975 onward. Customers who enjoyed eight cylinders had two or three options from which to choose. A Buick 350 was Century’s initial base engine, with the Buick 455 as a hi-po offering. At the top was Oldsmobile’s 403, but that was only offered as an option on wagon versions in 1977. Transmissions on offer were three-speed in manual or automatic guise, as well as a four-speed manual.

The third-gen Century lived through 1977 before it was downsized into a smaller A-body in 1978. That was the last of the rear-drive A cars, as in 1982 the fifth-generation Century debuted as a front-drive A-body. Today’s first-year Century has the base 350 engine, a manual transmission, and not much else aside from a radio. It’s for sale in salt-free New Mexico and asks $12,500.

[Images: GM]

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Feb 11, 2021

    I think that fastback coupe is a great looking car, especially if you put the bumpers on a diet and tucked them a bit. Those are some of the best looking rims an OEM ever fitted to a car

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 12, 2021

    I actually preferred the pre 1973 GM intermediates but I got use to this generation. I had the 73 Chevelle Deluxe sedan and then I bought a new 1977 loaded Monte Carlo at the end of the model year. My favorites are the Monte Carlo and Grand Prix of this generation but I don't mind all the others.

  • Arthur Dailey Is most of your driving in stop and go urban traffic?Do you have kids, who you have to drive to and from their activities? Sometimes with their friends/teammates.Do you have pets? Do you have some mobility issues?Can you perform maintenance yourself?Do you have a discretionary fund for unforeseen repairs?Do you have another car, so that you only need to use this on weekends or rural/highway trips?Check your answers to the above. They may tell you that as nice as this car is, you might be better off with a new, boring but more practical SUV.
  • DungBeetle62 Before everyone dumps on California and their tax structure and Gavin's hairstyle, my recent road trip (which didn't get to California) was as follows when tanking up Super Unleaded.Texas - Fort Worth area Costco : $3.36Texas - Amarillo Sam's - $3.46New Mexico - Albuquerque Costco - $3.75Arizona - Flagstaff Sam's - $4.25Nevada - Henderson Costco- $4.72Oil is oil is oil is oil. State taxes vary, transporting the refined product varies, but a friggin BUCK AND A HALF more a gallon (and we're talking Costco to Costco here) ain't passing the smell test as you get out west. No, count me in with thinking someone out west is going for a bigger bite of the apple and figuring people will blame Newsom.
  • Tassos Whoever pays $23,000 for this 15 year old unreliable car will regret it. I would not pay half that.Go get an excellent E55 AMG, also 2008, and pretty close HP-wise, with far higher Torque, and a proper luxury interior..
  • VoGhost Why would anyone want to save a car dealer? No really - what actual value do they provide?
  • FreedMike Really nice example, but these are LEGENDARY for being money pits.