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Thread: ? from Austin: Centurions and "Used Cars" movie

  1. #1
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    Austin
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    Exclamation ? from Austin: Centurions and "Used Cars" movie

    I have always loved big Buicks, even from my limited tactile experience with them compared to many enthusiasts. My folks had a '76 Estate Wagon which I thought was good lookin and only the '69 Sport Wagon compares in my book.

    I bought my Centurion from a neighbor in 1998 for $1000, it ran at the time. I remember when he first uncovered it to show me his new toy and I knew I would own it someday despite no knowledge of his intent to sell (which at the time he did not have).

    Since then I have rediscovered one of my favorite movie monologues, a gem from Kurt Russell in "Used Cars," a classic and the only movie I know of that extols the Buick Centurion Convertible by name. He is a salesman trying to sell his Centurion to a meek soul, whom he has lured across the street and into his car door with a $10 bill on a fishing line. It is a priceless mile-a-minute schpeel about the glorious car and the statement it makes (the line about gas savings is priceless).

    I have a pet suspicion that I own this car. The color is the same and looks for all the world like the car in the movie right down to the shape of the dent in the driver's door made by the rube's head.

    Does anyone know anythng about this car and can we get the sound bite from the movie posted on the site?

    It would be a hilariously appropriate embellishment for such a site as this.

    Someone from the should also attempt to contact Kurt Russell or his fan club to find out more about the car and get his reaction to our enthusiasm for the car he immortalized in film.

    That would be the limit!

    -Phil
    Last edited by kungphuphil; 11-16-2006 at 11:48 AM.

  2. #2
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    Phil, I'll be eager to locate that Kurt Russell movie!

    Will you tell us what year, model, and color your Centurion is?

  3. #3
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    Default my '73

    1973 2-door convertible 455 Rocket Stage 2 (did they make 4-door convertibles?), a brown color that I would say is almost burnt orange. My buddy who is a mechanic and serious car enthusiast says the helmet emblem on the hood used to be gold too. It was originally that creamy yellow color they had that year, and any additional info I have on it is listed in the '73 Convertibles registry under Phil C.

    My poor car has been towed to my last 2 residences because, alas, I have lacked the funds to make it road worthy but can't bear to let it go. That same friend I mentioned offered me $5k for it but when I heard what he had in mind to do to it my momentary temptation fled.

    Another Q: What is the closest GM relative to the Centurion? Is it the Cadillac ElDorado? I have seen some sweet ElDorado's with the front-wheel drive 500-cu/in of the same vintage as the Centurion line.

  4. #4
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    Phil, thanks for sharing the details of your Centurion, and we'll be rooting for you to get the old beauty back on the highway.

    As you point out, the Cadillac Eldorado of the '71-'76 period shares some features in common, such as the convertible roof mechanism, with your Centurion convertible. You noted, though, that the Cadillac is a front wheel drive car, and so is different in many respects.

    The closest convertible "cousins" to your Centurion would be the '71 - '75 General Motors B-Body convertibles -- including Chevrolet Caprice, Pontiac Catalina/Grand Ville, Oldsmobile Delta 88, and Buick LeSabre.
    Brian Laurance, BCA # 5168
    A Centurion driver since December, 1970

    1971 Centurion Formal Coupe

  5. #5
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    Did Buick ever make the LeSabre and Centurion at the same time? They look identical to me. I also have seen the Buick 225 (?) convertible that looks so similar I have to wonder why they would make them both (AND the LeSabre?) in the same years.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Saint Charles, Missouri, United States
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    I saw Used Cars a loooong time ago, and never put it together that there is a Centurion in the movie. Someone at one of the local parts stores told me about it when I went to buy some brake parts a few years ago...and I still haven't rented or bought the movie to find out what I'm hearing about.

    GM built these cars with a TON of interchangeable parts so they could save money. You'll notice subtle differences in trim between the LeSabre and Centurion, but for the most part, they are the same shell.
    Adam Martin
    BPG# 1358
    BCA# 39765
    1970 Buick Skylark Custom 455 Coupe


  7. #7
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    Which models ran concurrently?

  8. #8
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    Centurion: I actually have a DVD of "Used Cars". I wish I know how to make short .mp3's . . .
    Sled Zeppelin, '73 Convertible 455
    '01 Dodge Dakota 287 Quad Cab

  9. #9
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    Phil, the final Electra 225 convertible appeared in 1970. Of course, the Electra 225 series continued in 2-door hardtop and 4-door hardtop form.

    The final factory-built full-size Buick convertibles were built as follows:

    1971 - 1972 LeSabre and Centurion series

    1973 Centurion only

    1974 - 1975 LeSabre only
    Brian Laurance, BCA # 5168
    A Centurion driver since December, 1970

    1971 Centurion Formal Coupe

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