+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: 1972 convertible: advice request

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Mid-Atlantic
    Posts
    17

    Default 1972 convertible: advice request

    I am looking at a 1972 Centurion convertible with about 80,000 miles. The car has resided in FL/CA/AZ all its life, though it has been taken on road trips up the East Coast.

    My guess is that the car is a Condition 3 -- would appreciate the feedback based on the info below, as well as comments on what I'd do to fix it!


    A. The good:

    1) one-owner car;
    2) seller has all records since 1972; last big maintenance = fuel pump + filter and tires in 2013;
    3) car is complete (including parade boot with cover, trunk and spare wheel carpets, jacks, towing bars, etc.);
    4) no rust that I can see; seems to be the original paint; the seller had the car repaired by the original dealer a year or so after buying it -- drain had clogged up (passenger side door jamb), water accumulated, rust showed up;
    5) seems to have been generally well cared for and was garaged 98% of its life (no crack or fading in dash or doors, etc.);
    6) original interior in OK condition without any cracks; only "issues" that I can see: stitching broken on front bench (picture posted in separate thread), footwell lights not working (dash and other courtesy lights work);


    B. Cosmetic issues:

    1) interior:
    -/ no fading that I can see, except on passenger armrest (see picture) -- any thoughts?
    -/ vinyl and carpets are in good condition but could use deep cleaning -- advisable?
    -/ bright trim in dash bezels is partly but not fully faded.
    2) exterior:
    -/ original paint is crackled; seller says that it happened after the application of a paint sealant in the 1970's (she has shown me the receipt): extreme Florida heat + garage = paint's cracking under the sealant; it is smooth to the touch and the appearance is still shiny but the pattern is highly visible;
    -/ the alligator skin pattern varies -- smaller cracks on flat surfaces, bigger-size cracks on top of vertical panels, no cracks on lower side panels;
    -/ two dings: one is minor, in the rear wheel opening (molding is slightly dinged, paint chipped), there is a bigger ding from backing into a tree years ago (picture attached);
    -/ some of the wheel bolts are not correct; no idea why.
    3) engine bay:
    -/ hood insulation is original but not in super shape;
    -/ engine bay never detailed.


    C. Less good:

    1) paint -- see above;
    2) A/C: not working; seller says it hasn't since the 1970's;
    3) Heater: not working -- fan does not even come on; seller says it was working 3-4 years ago but does not anymore;
    4) Weatherstripping: half of the rubber is dry, I'd replace all of it; power windows all work but 1 of the 4 windows (rear passenger) cannot go down all the way because the rubber piece between the passenger windows has gotten loose;
    5) Top: working but may need new vinyl top, current one is frayed at edges; seller says it is water-tight but since the car is always garaged and is almost never taken out in the rain, I cannot be sure;
    6) Back bumper has been hit once and doesn't seem bent but trunk does not align properly.


    D. Question marks:

    1) car was "ziebarted" after initial rust repair; difficult to see if there is any rust -- any pointers?
    2) rear window was smashed and replaced 2-3 times back in the 1970s; current window was installed by the dealer 30+ years ago; seller says that there must have been something obstructing the top as it was folding down; even now, when she opens the roof, I see that she assists it on the way down to "make sure it folds properly;" anything to be worried about?
    3) master cylinder was replaced 2-3 times, water pump once -- indicates issue or not?
    4) the bigger dent is on the LHS yet the misalignment between trunk and rear side panel is on the RHS -- how is this possible?


    I am worried that the cost (purchase + any restoration attempt) may exceed the value of the restored car. The work would have to be done by a specialist as I don't have the time or expertise to do so. Consequently, to paraphrase another forum member, "I am focused on moderate expectations and low to moderate cost."

    E. My basic plan is as follows:

    1) Fix window guides and all weatherstripping; cost = parts (around $1k is my guestimate) + 3 hours labor?
    2) Fix heater and blower; cost of parts (around $100 is my guesstimate for core + blower) + 3 hours of labor?
    3) Fix AC + convert to R134a; system unused for decades so I cannot be sure if the compressor is in working order. My thought would be to just replace the whole unit and change refrigerants. So I expect to replace everything, including the receiver/drier; cost?
    4) Replace top - $1.5k;
    5) Interior + engine detail -- $300?

    My guess is that, without doing anything to the dings and paint, the total would come to around $4-5k. If I wanted to fix the dent and repaint the car properly, I'd need another $5k.

    Comments / suggestions? I would appreciate feedback on any of the above!
    Looking for a '72 Centurion
    1984 LeSabre Coupe Limited (sold)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Saint Charles, Missouri, United States
    Posts
    2,039

    Default

    See my responses in red text.

    Quote Originally Posted by ayilar View Post
    I am looking at a 1972 Centurion convertible with about 80,000 miles. The car has resided in FL/CA/AZ all its life, though it has been taken on road trips up the East Coast.

    My guess is that the car is a Condition 3 -- would appreciate the feedback based on the info below, as well as comments on what I'd do to fix it!


    A. The good:

    1) one-owner car;
    2) seller has all records since 1972; last big maintenance = fuel pump + filter and tires in 2013;
    3) car is complete (including parade boot with cover, trunk and spare wheel carpets, jacks, towing bars, etc.);
    4) no rust that I can see; seems to be the original paint; the seller had the car repaired by the original dealer a year or so after buying it -- drain had clogged up (passenger side door jamb), water accumulated, rust showed up;
    5) seems to have been generally well cared for and was garaged 98% of its life (no crack or fading in dash or doors, etc.);
    6) original interior in OK condition without any cracks; only "issues" that I can see: stitching broken on front bench (picture posted in separate thread), footwell lights not working (dash and other courtesy lights work);


    B. Cosmetic issues:

    1) interior:
    -/ no fading that I can see, except on passenger armrest (see picture) -- any thoughts? If this is a black interior, just use SEM vinyl dye to spray it black.
    -/ vinyl and carpets are in good condition but could use deep cleaning -- advisable? You can use the same vinyl dye/paint on the carpet to freshen it up.
    -/ bright trim in dash bezels is partly but not fully faded.
    2) exterior:
    -/ original paint is crackled; seller says that it happened after the application of a paint sealant in the 1970's (she has shown me the receipt): extreme Florida heat + garage = paint's cracking under the sealant; it is smooth to the touch and the appearance is still shiny but the pattern is highly visible;
    -/ the alligator skin pattern varies -- smaller cracks on flat surfaces, bigger-size cracks on top of vertical panels, no cracks on lower side panels; If the paint is doing this, it will need to be completely stripped and repainted. It cannot be repaired.
    -/ two dings: one is minor, in the rear wheel opening (molding is slightly dinged, paint chipped), there is a bigger ding from backing into a tree years ago (picture attached);
    -/ some of the wheel bolts are not correct; no idea why.
    3) engine bay:
    -/ hood insulation is original but not in super shape; You can get this for around $40 new
    -/ engine bay never detailed.


    C. Less good:

    1) paint -- see above;
    2) A/C: not working; seller says it hasn't since the 1970's;
    3) Heater: not working -- fan does not even come on; seller says it was working 3-4 years ago but does not anymore; Could be several things, but I would check the thermo switch that is mounted to the side of the AC box in the engine compartment. It is mounted flush with a couple/few prongs sticking out of it.
    4) Weatherstripping: half of the rubber is dry, I'd replace all of it; power windows all work but 1 of the 4 windows (rear passenger) cannot go down all the way because the rubber piece between the passenger windows has gotten loose; This is all available from various suppliers, easy to get.
    5) Top: working but may need new vinyl top, current one is frayed at edges; seller says it is water-tight but since the car is always garaged and is almost never taken out in the rain, I cannot be sure;
    6) Back bumper has been hit once and doesn't seem bent but trunk does not align properly.


    D. Question marks:

    1) car was "ziebarted" after initial rust repair; difficult to see if there is any rust -- any pointers? Ziebart can be a blessing, or certain death for a car. Run along the lower edges of the car with a weak magnet to see if there is filler. If no issues found, then you should be in decent shape.
    2) rear window was smashed and replaced 2-3 times back in the 1970s; current window was installed by the dealer 30+ years ago; seller says that there must have been something obstructing the top as it was folding down; even now, when she opens the roof, I see that she assists it on the way down to "make sure it folds properly;" anything to be worried about? I have been told that there are certain parts of the top assembly that are supposed to automatically pull the rear glass window out of the way of the top frame to prevent the glass from shattering. It involves springs which you should be able to see in the trunk with the top up.
    3) master cylinder was replaced 2-3 times, water pump once -- indicates issue or not? Typical wear items
    4) the bigger dent is on the LHS yet the misalignment between trunk and rear side panel is on the RHS -- how is this possible? I would have to see the dent and alignment issue in question


    I am worried that the cost (purchase + any restoration attempt) may exceed the value of the restored car. The work would have to be done by a specialist as I don't have the time or expertise to do so. Consequently, to paraphrase another forum member, "I am focused on moderate expectations and low to moderate cost."

    E. My basic plan is as follows:

    1) Fix window guides and all weatherstripping; cost = parts (around $1k is my guestimate) + 3 hours labor? $1k might be high...but the 3 hour labor is about half of what you may need to install all new rubber.
    2) Fix heater and blower; cost of parts (around $100 is my guesstimate for core + blower) + 3 hours of labor? It takes about 3-4 hours to do the heater core itself. It's been years since I bought a heater core for these cars...maybe double your cost estimate.
    3) Fix AC + convert to R134a; system unused for decades so I cannot be sure if the compressor is in working order. My thought would be to just replace the whole unit and change refrigerants. So I expect to replace everything, including the receiver/drier; cost? Rebuilt compressors vary in cost. $150 about. Drier maybe $30? It would be smart to replace the POA valve with one made for R134a. Check ebay for costs.
    4) Replace top - $1.5k; Be absolutely sure you have someone to replace the top who knows the GM 71-76 Scissor tops. They are a bitch.
    5) Interior + engine detail -- $300? This all depends on how far you want to go with the engine compartment detail. I could spend $1000 of your dollars on just the labor for an engine compartment if allowed ...so you need to figure out how good you want it to look.

    My guess is that, without doing anything to the dings and paint, the total would come to around $4-5k. If I wanted to fix the dent and repaint the car properly, I'd need another $5k.

    Comments / suggestions? I would appreciate feedback on any of the above!
    Adam Martin
    BPG# 1358
    BCA# 39765
    1970 Buick Skylark Custom 455 Coupe


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Mid-Atlantic
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Adam: Thanks a lot for your comments and suggestions! Here are the pictures (the interior color is tan):

    1. armrest:
    armrest.jpg

    2. dent:
    dent.jpg

    3. rear appearance:
    back.jpg
    Looking for a '72 Centurion
    1984 LeSabre Coupe Limited (sold)

  4. #4

    Default

    Purchasing and restoring a car almost always exceeds it's resale value. Your budget should be based on what it would cost to purchase a Centurion in the condition that matches what you plan for this car. These cars are not well known and the resale values fluctuate wildly so it's necessarily going to be more of a range than a specific value.

    If I were to give advice on things to look for in a Centurion purchase the first item on the list would be a solid body. On a convertible the rain runs down the roof into a gutter in the trunk and is dumped into the inner fender in front of the rear wheel. A perfect recipe for rust. Finding replacement sheet metal in solid shape is difficult and expensive. The second item would be to find a car with a known service record. Regular maintenance makes a huge impact on a 40 year old car. The third would be to have the roof inspected by someone who knows them well. They can tell you if the frame is bent, or the mechanisms are worn. This is not a deal breaker as all of the parts are available, but it can be expensive. This car appears to be an excellent candidate on all counts. The rear window issue is most likely something in the trunk that blocks the window from folding properly. If it's a mechanical issue it is easy to fix. It's just a couple of guides and springs. The complexity is in the rest of the roof mechanism.

    I'd recommend fixing the heat and driving it for a while. If the car will see rain the roof and weather-stripping should be handled sooner rather than later to ensure you're not encouraging rust. The rest of the issues can be fixed as time and budget allows.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

    John
    Livin' Large.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Mid-Atlantic
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Thank you very much for the advice. I am thinking of having the car professionally inspected -- any suggestions in Arizona?
    Looking for a '72 Centurion
    1984 LeSabre Coupe Limited (sold)

+ Reply to Thread

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts