Both of these cars are regular daily drivers that I’ve seen around town; the somewhat rough and noisy ’71 Centurion convertible has made its presence particularly conspicuous lately. So finding them parked together was a bitter-sweet moment; one can almost imagine someone trading in their gas-sucking 455 Centurion for a Datsun 210 during the second energy crisis, and then regretting it forever after.
CC Outtake: A Study In Contrasts
– Posted on May 24, 2013
I see that the CC Cocktail Lounge is up and running.
I think it’s a Centurion. The Invicta was replaced with the Wildcat and the Wildcat had to go for the Centurion… I learned that on CC! 🙂
Doh; I knew that, but didn’t say it.
Actually I think that is a LeSabre or at least the grill off of one. The Centurion had a finer mesh eggcrate design. Have to see the interior to know for sure. Anyway would love to have either in good shape.
No port holes in (on) the hood and the position of the badge on the fender indicate Centurion while the grille does say LeSabre.
I think you’re right. The grill looks like a LeSabre.
I like the Buick but those hideous wheels would have to go, first thing, thankfully I do have a bunch of the proper Buick Rallye wheels.
I agree. Keep the narrow whitewall tires but swap the wheels.
Agreed. The owner did show some restraint though…it could be so much worse…
My eyes hurt now.
YEEEOWWW! Time for the eye bleach!
The Centurion should have the really nice “Ralley Wheels”, but else it’s actually a nice car. The 455 is a great engine. I have a 430 in my Riviera, and those engines are very reliable, smooth running and gets fairly good gas economy. I get more MPG with my 67 Riviera 430 than my 77 Coupe DeVille with the 425 engine. The 425 is way slower too, but it became a little better when I disconected the airpump, the noisy heat riser and the EGR. Then a carburator rebuilt and all new in the iginition area, but still it’s using more fuel than the old Buick.
The best with these old GM-cars is the price of the parts, and that you can buy everything you want for an extremly low price. So I’ll think it’s easyer to keep the Buick running than the Datsun.
The EGR actually helps with MPG by allowing more timing advance and reducing the pumping losses.
I have had a very hard time explaining that to people. A good friend of mine has a 1979 Lincoln Mk V with a 400, which now sports 11:1 compression and Australian heads. Even on 94 octane it pinged. Until he reconnected the EGR, that is.
EGR is an emissions control device so it must be bad.
Well, I drive my Cadillac without the EGR and have a timing around 21-22 degrees at idle. The book says 17 degrees. But in Norway we only have 95 and 98/99 octane. Så I’ve no pinging.
EGR doesn’t have to be bad, but it’s not best solution for the engine, to use som of the exhaust to lower the combustion temperature to get lover emissions of NOx. But it works, and the difference in MPG with og without it is not big, if any at all.
Depending on the volume of exhaust gas introduced it can improve MPG 3-4%, besides lowering combustion temps by slowing down the combustion process it allows more effecient extraction of that power. Since it adds volume to the cyl it reduces the drag caused by the closed throttle and raises the effective compression ratio. So it only provides benefits, there are no downsides.
Most of the emissions equipment in the 70s was a compromise. That is why many people remove them. The whole thing was a compromise. Drivability and smoothness and of course the numbers were the #1 priority performance happened as it could. Some items like EGR and PCV can be made to be non invasive. As technology developed emissions today can be made to have almost no effect on an engine. Plus cars today with fuel injection and computer adaptation burn much cleaner.
Most people removed the EGR when the valve failed or when they had vacuum problems somewhere else. A proper EGR should not be really a performance compromise.
Correct, a properly designed and functioning EGR system will not function at WOT thus no influence on max power. It should only operate at part throttle where it improves efficiency.
The typical failure of an EGR is to not open which leads to part throttle pinging since the timing during those conditions was set for having that inert gas in the cyl to slow down the combustion process. Now if it gets stuck open or fails to close as quick as it should, that is another issue as it will cause poor idling and/or stalling.
PN: for some time now the same model Datsun/Nissan wagon along with the Cadillac no longer occupy the masthead, replaced by advertisements. Congratulations on that leap forward…
The Caliber Collision advertisement is so well integrated into the header that it looks like part of the masthead. Not sure which CC deserves the kudos, but very well done.
The bills for this site have to be paid somehow, you know.
I suppose if you don’t like it, you can always choose not to renew your paid subscription. Oh, wait…
Mr. Buzzdog: I have been here from the start and have used the Donate button. Those were genuine congratulations. Carry on…
Now please excuse me while I go wash my face…this egg on it is starting to run into my eyes…
I have always felt sad for folks who went to replace their last big convertible to find that there were no more to be had. It is good that the ragtop has returned so that this choice is available again.
I have never ridden in one of these GM B body ragtops.As floppy as the closed models were, these could be a nightmare. Or else, they got enough stiffening to make them tolerable. Personally, I would hold out for one of the last Fuselage Mopars if I just had to have a big 70s ragtop. I would skip the 71 LTD, PN would be pestering me for the keys all the time. 🙂
They’re nowhere as bad as one would imagine. I drove a high-mileage triple white ’73 Delta convertible through school and although it had a small amount of cowl shake, the doors were perfectly lined up and never had to be slammed which is odd for a ’71-’76 B/C car. ’73 Delta convertible #2 and ’73 Pontiac convertible do not have any more interior rattles than the 2-door closed models I’ve owned over the years. The convertible-specific boxed frame does a good job of keeping things in order.
The “scissors” top convertible top mechanism is quite complicated though and has to be carefully watched when raising and lowering. GM cheaped out and didn’t design a headliner into these so there was little noise & temperature suppression despite the fantastic headroom! I very much like how closely the convertible roof line matches the ’71-’73 2-door hardtop roof line. It’s a shame that all the rear interior pieces are different just enough to prevent interchange between the two body styles.
The Centurion is overflowing its parking space. Were parking spaces bigger in the 1970’s?
Yes they were. A buddy of mine used to own a parking lot striping business and he would tell me how they were making the standard spaces smaller, adding the obligatory “compact” spaces and adding capacity to many of the lots he was doing in the early 90’s. Just in time for the full size SUV to become the family hauler of choice.
Also, whenever the parking lines were angled, the spaces get narrower yet. An 8 foot measurement at the curb means an 8 foot wide parking place when the lines are at 90 degrees from that curb, but the parking place is narrower when the lines are a lesser angle.
As long as the lines are parallel, like most parking stripes, if it is 8ft at one point it is 8ft at all points. The angled parking spots do make it easier to get a longer vehicle in or out of the space though it usually means narrower isles which hurt.
I used to think that, but not correct. The measurement remains 8 feet ONLY IF you are measuring a line that is parallel to the curb. But when you measure at an angle perpendicular to the stripes (in other words, from door handle to door handle on your car), the distance gets narrower. Think of a parallelogram – as the angle of two sides increases or decreases from 90 degrees, the two other sides get closer together until they eventually lay over each other.
My Lord, yes. Back in the 80s, I was driving a 77 New Yorker. I wondered the same thing, as I had not remembered it being so hard to get in and out of cars back when. Then, I stopped at a little fast food joint in a small town that had not had its lot restriped in eons – Egads, the glorious width of that parking place!
Sadly, garages never really expanded back then. My house was built in 1958 and has a 2 car attached garage. I used to park a 68 Newport and a 94 Club Wagon in it. Mrs. JPC would not put a car either in or out if the other one was in. It only worked with the van skinnied up against the driver’s side wall, then exited through the rear passenger door, like an airplane.
one can almost imagine someone trading in their gas-sucking 455 Centurion for a Datsun 210 during the second energy crisis, and then regretting it forever after.
Sounds like when my father sold his ’69 Olds Delta 88 convertible in 1978, and bought his friend’s 1975 Mustang II Ghia, thinking that it would be better on gas for my 17 year old brother who was going to be using it.
I was thinking that swap, convertible to wagon would have “new baby” all over it. Not usually something looked back on with regret (at least by people of an age and means to have been a car owner for some years and buy a brand-new one when the kid comes.)
Your statement reminds me of a guy I knew in my college auto body class. He had a beautifully restored ’69 Dodge Charger R/T that had every option available. Whatever it lacked from the factory, he added using either repro or NOS parts. It also sported a built 440 that would push it into the 12s all day long.
When he got married he traded it in on a brand new Corolla wagon. That had to really hurt.
I’d gladly trade my ’95 LS400 on a new family truckster, but they can have my ’66 Biscayne when they pry the keys from my cold, dead hands.
Those Datsuns, however fuel-stingy they may have been, along with all other Japanese cars at the time were tin-cans with very good drivetrains. Sad.
I believe an AMC-anything at the time in the late 70s – early 80s was so much the better car if keeping the big battleship ragtop was not an option, at least until the late 1980’s, then it was a different ballgame..
Seeing those two together is a rare sight indeed, great pic!!
I would love to drive that Buick!
I love coming here-you not only learn about “curbside classics”, but you can find out about the evolution of parking space sizing! 🙂
They come for the cars, they stay for the evolution of parking space sizing!
Is this a great site, or what 🙂
As rare as that Buick is here the Datsun is now rarer and we did get the Datsuns new but every single one has evaporated.