Junkyard Find: 1996 Buick Regal Olympic Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Buick sold some special-edition Centuries as part of their sponsorship deal with the 1984 US Olympic athletes, and we saw one of these cars in this series last year. The later Olympic Edition Buicks are harder to find; there are still some ’88s around, but this is the first ’96 I can recall seeing anywhere. Let us admire its athletic grace.

A perfectly competent front-drive Detroit sedan, but it didn’t sell to many buyers born after 1920.

The advertising for this generation of Regal talked big about “European styling” and “Camry beating.”

The subsequent generation of Olympic Regals got a bit of star power in its ads.

The textured-velour Olympic-logo headrests didn’t change much between 1984 and 1996.

The good old Buick V6, which soldiered on (in the Lucerne) until the 2009 model year. By 1996, this engine was much smoother than its ancestors.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • RollaRider10 RollaRider10 on Apr 23, 2014

    GM did this with the Vectra and Astra here in OZ for the 2000 Olymipics. Not as snobbish as the American's, just a couple of badges; one on the boot and a couple on the front wings. They're still relatively common

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Apr 25, 2014

    The shifter and surround are terrible, and from a Cavalier.

    • Geozinger Geozinger on Apr 25, 2014

      The shifter (the knob for sure, maybe the whole assembly underneath is too) is from a contemporary Cavalier, but the surround is not.

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.