If I replace the engine in my Centurion convertible, might it become a classic?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1973 Buick Centurion Convertible. I was told that there were only a limited number of these models manufactured. Do you know if this information is true? I have just spent money restoring this car (interior, body, paint). My major concern is the motor. The original 350 V8 currently has 140,000 miles, and I am expecting to have to rebuild it or replace it. Is this feasable? Is this model worthy of monetary investing, or is it simply a car I happen to enjoy owning?

TOM: Well, Bob, in my opinion, the only car worth investing in IS the one you enjoy owning. There are people who treat cars as "investments," but I think it's much better to treat them as "cars." I happen to own a 1963 Dodge Dart Convertible, which I don't keep for it's investment value. I keep it because I get a giddy feeling every time I drive it with the top down.

RAY: That usually because he's sitting on a pile wet leaves. He hasn't been able to get the top UP in two and a half years.

TOM: Ignore him, Bob. YOU know how wonderful an old car can be. And by the way, your car WAS produced in quite limited numbers.

RAY: We called our pal Dave Brownell, the Editor of Hemmings Motor News ("the bible of the old car hobby") in Bennington, Vermont. He told us there were only 5,739 of these made, which is not very many.

TOM: So as cars go, it may even be worth something if the body is in good shape. And the truth is, the engine is probably the easiest part to replace, since General Motors made a zillion of these 350 V8s.

RAY: But consider the potential value of the car to be just an added plus. Keep it running because you love it. And maybe you and my brother can have an in-depth discussion some day about how to keep mushrooms from growing inside your glove compartments.

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