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Thread: 1971-1976 GM B body scissor top convertibles

  1. #1

    Default 1971-1976 GM B body scissor top convertibles

    The 71-76 GM B and C body cars are among my all time favorites. I've always thought they were beautiful, especially the convertibles. I favor Buicks, but I love them all and I have owned several over the years. GM of the seventies dominated the world, and it's divisions really competed with each other more than anyone else. All of the convertibles are rare. I was wondering which models were most popular when new, and how they competed with each other on price. I got these figures from The Standard Catalog of American Cars, and I thought maybe I wasn't the only geek that wondered about stuff like this. So I'm posting what I found.



    Year Make Model Price Production

    • 1971 Pontiac Catalina 3807 2036
    • 1971 Chevy Impala 4021 4576
    • 1971 Olds Delta 88 4325 2883
    • 1971 Buick leSabre 4342 1856
    • 1971 Pontiac GrandVille 4464 1784
    • 1971 Buick Centurion 4678 2161
    • 1972 Chevy Impala 3979 6456
    • 1972 Pontiac Catalina 4080 2399
    • 1972 Buick leSabre 4291 2037
    • 1972 Olds Delta 88 4387 3900
    • 1972 Buick Centurion 4616 2396
    • 1972 Pontiac GrandVille 4640 2213
    • 1973 Chevy Caprice 4345 7339
    • 1973 Olds Delta 88 4442 7088
    • 1973 Buick Centurion 4534 5739
    • 1973 Pontiac GrandVille 4766 4447
    • 1974 Olds Delta 88 4490 3716
    • 1974 Buick leSabre 4696 3627
    • 1974 Chevy Caprice 4745 4670
    • 1974 Pontiac GrandVille 5113 3000
    • 1975 Chevy Caprice 5113 8349
    • 1975 Buick leSabre 5133 5300
    • 1975 Olds Delta 88 5213 7181
    • 1975 Pontiac GrandVille 5858 4519
    99672

    My Excel spreadsheet didnt copy over very well, and I can't get this data to end up in columns. I was surprised to see that GM built nearly 100,000 convertibles. I was also surprised that Oldsmobile sold more convertibles than Buick in some years. Looks like the rarest is the 71 GrandVille, and the most popular was the 75 Caprice. The only other full size convertible for sale during these years was the Ford LTD.

    1971 Ford LTD $4094 5750
    1972 Ford LTD $4073 4234

    I have personally owned:
    72 Catalina convertible - 350
    72 GrandVille convertible - 455
    72 Delta 88 convertible - 455
    72 leSabre convertible - 350
    72Centurion convertible - 455
    73Centurion convertible - 455
    73Centurion coupe - 455
    75 leSabre convertible - 455

    They were all amazing cars, and remarkably similar. Maybe I'll eventually collect the others some day.

  2. #2

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    GREAT post, Randy. Thanks for your research efforts on this and it certainly yielded some very interesting results. In the scope of the times, the 71 and 72 Pontiac and Buick convertibles were among the rarest of the group. That's very interesting.

    It was funny that you mentioned the Ford LTDs because while taking my walk last Saturday morning, a very nice '72 LTD convertible was spotted at one of the local auto repair shops. It was a very soft green similar to '59 Pontiac's Seaspray Green and the car appeared to be in excellent condition and very original form.
    Bob Alberini BCA 3038
    Columbus, OH
    Centurion owner since 1973

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Bob, Being a fan of seventies convertibles I have owned both 71 and 72 LTD convertibles. They were very nice cars. All seventies convertibles were made in such small numbers. It makes for some very rare cars. I'm surprised they were built at all. The money GM spent developing the scissor top had to be stunning. I have never owned many Chryslers, but I have looked at numerous 69-70 Fury/Polara/Newport/300 convertibles. I hope to end up with one some day. The fuselage styling seems really futuristic for 1969. I think the 71 GM cars are much prettier though.

  4. #4
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    Suggestion: Might you want to include, or at least be aware of production numbers for the corresponding years' Cadillac Eldorado Convert? Not a "B" body, but doesn't it use the same top assembly?

  5. #5
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    It makes sense that there were twice as many 73 Centurion converts built compared with 71 and 72 as they still today are more a lot more common
    Per

    Buick Centurion two door hardtop 1973
    Hyundai Santa Fe 2006
    Honda Accord 2009

  6. #6
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    Just to add to the 73 converts. There were approximately 5,700 hundred made, yes about twice as many as the 71 & 72/s. Only difference was a bunch were made with 350 engines. I inquired at Sloans and just about anywhere you can think of on the breakdown of the 5700 made. Sloan told me they did not have those numbers only that a questimate of half that 5700 were ordered with the option 455 engine.
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson

    Rick Martinez

    1973 Centurion 455 convertible - My show & tow car
    1970 GS455 Racecar
    9.25 @ 144.83, 3070 lbs

  7. #7

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    I think you either had someone who didn't want to do the research or didn't know and should have. Of course, Sloan has the information. I had it in my hands when I went to Flint for the 100th anniversary of GM in 2008. The daily car reports are in ledger type books and thankfully, I asked for copies of the sheets that we were missing so I do have copies of the information you are looking for and the price was very reasonable. It just blows me away with the response that you got.

    There were 5,739 73 Centurion convertibles built. 2,518 (43.9%) had the (L77) 350 engine with 1,540 built at Wilmington and 978 at Fairfax. 2,937 (51.2%) had the standard (L74) 455 with 1,181 built at Wilmington and 1,756 at Fairfax. The rarest of them all saw 284 (4.9%) with the high performance (L76) 455. 123 were built at Wilmington and 161 came from Fairfax.

    You might also be interested to know that 4,691 (81.7%) were built with single exhaust and 1,048 (18.3%) had the dual exhaust.

    I have a couple of thoughts on the '73 production total as well. 1973 was a record year for Buick production so that probably helped with the total of Centurion convertibles that were built. Also, 1971 and 1972 both offered the convertible in the LeSabre series and both years had roughly 2,000 of each for both years -- '71 was a bit under and '72 was a bit over so when you combine both B body totals, there were between 4,000 and 4,500 B body convertibles built for '71 and '72. With the '73 Centurion 350s accounting for just over 2,500 units and no '73 LeSabre convertible built, those cars could roughly equate to the '71 and '72 LeSabres that were built.
    Bob Alberini BCA 3038
    Columbus, OH
    Centurion owner since 1973

  8. #8
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    a treasure trove of information from Bob as usual.
    Keith R Bleakney
    1972 Centurion Convertible "Special Order Flame Orange"
    1967(3517) Special Deluxe Hardtop AACA/BCA Sr
    1988 Reatta Select Sixty - Black
    Club affiliations: Lambda Car Club International , AACA, BCA #11475
    Subaru Outback L L Bean H6
    1998 Pontiac Bonneville

    We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors. But they all have to live in the same box.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by My3buicks View Post
    a treasure trove of information from Bob as usual.
    I was thinking the same thing...
    Per

    Buick Centurion two door hardtop 1973
    Hyundai Santa Fe 2006
    Honda Accord 2009

  10. #10
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    Really Interesting Randy..and as usual, Mr Bob has the amazing facts and figures on this stuff.

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