Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reader’s Rides: Trio of 1976 Buick Free Spirit Indy Pace Cars rescued for restoration



Flock of Free Spirits. Len L'Heureux has gathered a trio of 1976 Buick Free Spirit Pace Cars at his shop in Canada. Len, no stranger to automotive restorations, located the rare (only 1,290 built), pace car replicas and negotiated their purchase.
  Despite their junky, as-found appearance, two are driveable. I was also surprised to learn that two of the slab-sided, silver Buicks were bought from original owners who had squirreled them away for decades. 

Attention-getting graphics on one of GM’s popular A-Body Colonnade beauties were not a recipe for success, but these overlooked, limited-production Buicks should soon skyrocket in value.

Fly again?
  Plans to restore the lone, t-top-equipped Free Spirit are underway. Once the restoration is complete, Len plans to sell the Free Spirit wearing the best graphics. He hopes to recoup some of the t-top Buick’s restoration costs by selling off the hard top swan. The ugly duckling of the bunch will likely be stripped of Free Spirit-specific parts. Those unobtainable, crown jewel items will be needed for Len’s parts stash or retirement fund. 
  Try finding a 1976 Buick Free Spirit aluminum roof halo or deck lid spoiler. I hate to say it, but I will. Len’s collection may be worth more, sold in pieces and parts. Let’s hope these three Buicks hit the road again.

  We will keep you posted on Len’s progress but if you get a wild hair and want to buy Len’s collection, he may consider leaving the Buick business. You can reach him at: lenbone.1@gmail.com

Jody Potter  
— Junkyard Life

The interior 1976 Buick Free Spirit Pace Car replica features bucket seats, console shift, tilt, A/C, and Rallye steering wheel.

Free Spirit spotter’s guide: Aluminum accent strip tops the squared roof.

Rare flock of three 1976 Buick Century Free Spirit Pace cars.

Only the best Colonnade-era Buicks featured a stunning, sweeping console.


Len L'Heureux plans to sell this Free Spirit replica, which has the best decals.

Len’s favorite t-top-equipped 1976 Buick Free Spirit is flanked by two hard top models.

A red Buick Rallye steering wheel frames the pace car’s gauges.

The Buick’s silver paint has dulled to a shade of grey that is often mistaken as primer. Spotter’s Guide tip: Pace car replica striping makes the lengthy hood look longer.

Cloth or vinyl interiors were option on 1976 Buick Free Spirit replicas. I’ve seen black cloth in person, see that previous Free Spirit find here.

1976 Free Spirits featured reddish-orange painted wheels.

1976 Free Spirit Buicks spotter’s guide: Blacked-out tail panels.

Read more 1976 Buick awesomeness!

Do you know where a classic or muscle car is parked in the weeds, send photos and an address. We’re on the way!?  Send emails to junkyardbull@gmail.com.