Junkyard Find: 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 oldsmobile firenza wagon

Of all the GM J-bodies sold in America, the Olds Firenza may be the rarest. In 1984, most Oldsmobile wagon shoppers wanted a stately rear-wheel-drive behemoth with a V8 engine, not some newfangled small wagon with a little communist-inspired four-cylinder engine driving the wrong wheels. Thus, Firenza wagons are rarer today than early AC Cobras. Here’s one that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard last weekend, while I was in town for the fifth annual Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons.

This is the 2.0 liter version of the GM 122 pushrod engine. The 122 was a little less thrashy and rattly than the Iron Duke, but it also made less power. This LQ5 put out 86 horsepower, which was pretty miserable even by 1984 standards.

However, at least this car had genuine electronic fuel injection. And not-so-genuine “wood paneling.”

Brown-and-tan velour bucket seats.

The last owner of this car must have had glaucoma or some other illness that requires the completely legitimate application of medical cannabis. If Mr. ex-Firenza Driver lived in my state, of course, he could just throw away the medical card, ride his Lambretta to the local dispensary, and buy some shatter hash.

I must assume that this pin was applied when the car still had That New GM Velour Smell.

Say what you will about the early J-bodies, but at least this one outlived most of its Japanese peers.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Mar 30, 2014

    Surprised to hear that some commenters had HVAC issues with these. Say what you want about problematic GM products, over the decades their AC systems have been bulletproof. Every GM car I or family members have owned that was manufactured in the 60's through the 90's has had very reliable HVAC systems. In fact up until Rolls Royce was acquired by VW and subsequently BMW, GM supplied the Frigidaire units for models such as the Silver Cloud and Cornice. About 15 years ago an uncle of mine left the family the 4 door version of this car. It was gray with gray velour and the 1.8 OHC with auto. It was in decent shape but was sitting for a while. I managed to get it running but it's motor was making some tappet sounds which apparently is the norm for older Brazilian 1.8 OHC's. But once I ran it for a while and let it idle the noise dissipated. Ended up selling it to someone who need cheap wheels for $600. Last I heard they got a few years out of it.

    • Truckducken Truckducken on Jan 14, 2015

      Chronic GM HVAC issues I've seen: 1) Vacuum lines feeding the control panel units were made of an incredibly brittle, rapidly deteriorating plastic. Failure was a question of when, not if; 2) The AC system seals would leak. Again, when, not if. 3) The fan switch would wear out after a while, leaving you with a speed or two for a while, then nothing. None of this was terribly expensive to fix, but all of it was guaranteed to dissatisfy.

  • Sofia_say_what Sofia_say_what on Aug 10, 2016

    The button was put on in 2004 when I got the car. My grandma gave it to me. I lost it when my parents got rid of the car. Those are my husband's union stickers on the back. I grew up going on fishing trips in that car. And took my daughter on her first fishing trip in it. This makes my day. Omg.... You found my dope ride. No idea who the cannabis guy is. That must have been after us. This is so crazy.Did somebody buy it, or is it still in a junkyard?

  • Legacygt Great review. I've only driven one Wilderness model (an Outback provided as a dealer loaner) and I found the handling a little sloppy on-pavement. It's good to hear they managed to give the Crosstrek the Wilderness treatment without hurting the on-pavement experience.And this is the first time I've read a review that dared to criticize Star Tex seats. I find the material interesting and low maintenance and fairly comfortable but I totally agree that it rates very poorly for breathability. It's so bad that I think Subaru should offer it with some sort of ventilated option. 5 minutes on a hot day and you're sitting in a pool of sweat.
  • Analoggrotto Too bad they don't sell Kia Telluride, the greatest selling vehicle in it's class over the pond in the UK who burned Washington DC down but that's ok.
  • Analoggrotto Kia Telluride never faced such problems and now offers a superior offroad trim for those times where soccerdad needs to go get the white claws from costco.
  • Zerofoo There's a joke here somewhere about Tim's used car recommendations, Tassos, and death traps.
  • Tassos Subaru really knows how to take fugly to ever higher levels, and sell every one of the (of course very few) it makes. As if the number of sales negates the fugliness.Don't hold your breath. I bet this will NOT be the vehicle James Bond arrives at the Casino in Monte Carlo with in his next flick. (if any)