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Found in a car corral – 1977 Buick Century

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The brightwork was straight and still shiny. Terry noticed, among other things, how good the grille inserts looked, since they usually don’t wear too well. Photos by author.

It’s always enjoyable to explore the car corral at major events just to contemplate the possibilities, even if there aren’t enough funds to make them realities. More times than not, it’s the unusual car that catches my attention more than the pristinely restored mega-horsepower muscle car. Possibly, it’s my mind already adjusting to my wallet and subconsciously warning me that the big-buck high-profile machine is so far out of my price range it doesn’t warrant the frustration, which will surely arise from me looking at it, wanting it and then realizing that it isn’t coming home with me anyway.

Then there are other cars that are in the ballpark pricewise, yet still just out of reach for one reason or another. This 1977 Buick Century was one of those cars.

1977 Buick Century

I wasn’t crazy about those wheels, but the body looked very good.

I’ve always had a soft spot for GM’s midsized colonnade cars, and while I like various years of the Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs and Chevys, Buick’s 1976 and 1977 Century Special, Century and Century Custom would also make my list. Their body lines are taut, the canted nose is sharp, angular and modern for its day and they just look good rolling down the road. The standard 3.8-litre V-6 and the optional 5.7-litre 350 engines weren’t powerful, however, and the rear gear ratios were very highway friendly. Fun cruisers, but don’t get optimistic regarding a stoplight challenge. On the plus side, you could still get the three-spoke Rallye steering wheel, bucket seats, console, firm-ride suspension and the familiar five-spoke chrome-plated wheels optionally.

I had an older second cousin who owned a bright red Century from this era when I was about 9 years old, and it made a positive impression on me each time I saw it.

1977 Buick Century

Low mileage and factory gauges.

While attending car show in the Midwest a few years ago, Hemmings Muscle Machines editor Terry McGean and I came across this 1977 Buick Century for sale in the car corral. The asking price was $5,500—a bit too rich for me—but it was advertised as having only 63,000 miles. Though it wasn’t as flashy as the Century that my family member had once owned, it was still an interesting car.

This Colonnade cruiser’s options that we noticed included a column-shifted automatic transmission, clock, and AM/FM radio. An unexpected find however, was the optional instrument cluster that included oil pressure and temperature gauges.

This Buick featured the standard 3.8 litre V-6 engine, bench seat, and no optional A/C. I regarded the absence of A/C as an asset that saved about 110-pounds and the hassle of having to work around it under the hood, even though the V-6 certainly didn’t take up much room.

1977 Buick Century

Not a common interior color, but at least it’s not worn out. And it will stay cooler in hot weather than black will—something to consider in a non-A/C car.

Aside from the dated aftermarket wheels, the exterior looked quite good, the body was straight and the paint shined, as did the trim and bumpers. Inside, the seats and instrument panel were clean, but the door panels exhibited a color mismatch between the upholstered upper portion and the plastic lower that may have been brought on by age.

Nevertheless, this Century would likely have made a great-looking driver with different wheels. That is until I got bored with the V-6 power and decided to fill its unencumbered engine bay with a mildly-built 455…and maybe an overdrive transmission…and a limited-slip rear end…and heavy-duty suspension parts…and bucket seats…and a console. Here I go again, daydreaming of spending money I don’t have on things I don’t have for a car I don’t have. Well, at least dreaming doesn’t cost anything.

What interesting cars have you come across in car corrals or for sale elsewhere that got you imagining what you’d do to them if you bought them?