Cohort Outtake: 1975 Buick Century Free Spirit Indy 500 Pace Car Replica

Buick 1975 Century Free Spirit ff

I can’t remember ever seeing one of these. In Jim Cavanaugh’s article Part 7 on Indy 500 pace cars, he reports that there were likely onl 1,813 of these 1975 Buick Century Free Spirit pace car replicas ever built. And Joseph Dennis spotted this one at the Back to the Bricks car festival in Flint, MI. a couple of years back.

Buick 1975 Indy Garner

Actor James Garner, who had enough experience behind the wheel of fast cars, was entrusted with the actual Pace Car, which was powered by a 455 V8, undoubtedly breathed-upon too.

Buick 1975 Century Free Spirit eng

The replicas were apparently powered by the 350 CID Buick V8, which was rated at 165 hp. I’m not quite sure what the story is with the air cleaner; it doesn’t look like the usual arrangement. Maybe someone will explain.

Buick 1975 Century Free Spirit fq

Not much need to explain the very mid-70s graphics.

Buick returned to pace the Indy again in 1976, but this time with a turbocharged V6, the beginning of a grand(National) era.

More:  Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars Part 7: 1975 – 1979