Outrageous looking and a cog in the Grand National machine.
On paper the 1976 Buick Century Pace Car is not much to write home about. Still, I'd really like one with T-tops in the stable. It drips with early malaise era fake machismo. With just a little work this machine is a great cruiser with grunt. I'm talking a 4 barrel, a bump in compression and a good exhaust system.
There are always differences between race pace cars and the replicas sold at dealerships for street duty. This time the smaller engine was putting out the real power, so it went into the actual pace car. I'm talking about the Buick Turbo V6 of course. The street car replicas received the Buick 350 cu in. V8. Simply put, the now famous Buick Turbo V6 program was in it's infancy. A crude, simple single turbo/carburetor engine great for high speed track work but lacking any low end torque for street use. In 1976 it's not like the muscle car crowd was ready to accept a V6 anyway. So a tried and true 350 V8 that could be sold with a warranty and serviced at a dealership was chosen. This is a set up any gear head could modify with plenty of available go-go parts.
No doubt as cost saving measures the replica cars would not come with the front air-dam, necessary for stability on the track. Nor the bulged blistered hood necessary clear the turbo mounted atop the carburetor. Even the graphics package is scaled back.
If you want one there is a 1976 Buick Pace Car for sale on ebay Motors, unfortunately not equipped with the Hurst Hatch T-tops. The aggressive Buy It Now price is nearly $29K for what is described as at best a #2 survivor.
1976 Buick Century Indy Pace Car | eBay
For more in depth reading and cool pics click the links below.
1975 and 1976 Buick Indy Pace Cars - Dean’s Garage (deansgarage.com)
Performance Design | GM Design
V-6 on the Track: V-8 on the Street - 1976 Buick Century Pace Car... | Hemmings Motor News
John is a GenX car enthusiast who grew up driving classic muscle cars. He enjoys the new modern muscle cars that can out perform the classics in every way. In the sportscar world his banners are Viper and Corvette. John has a guilty pleasure. The disco era street machine. Those unloved, underpowered cars festooned with scoops, spoilers and stripes.