Junkyard Find: 1984 Buick Century Estate Limited Woodie Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 buick century estate limited woodie wagon

The Chrysler K-platform-based minivans debuted for the 1984 model year, marking the beginning of the end of the station wagon’s mainstream appeal in the United States; not many years later, SUVs would snare most of the potential wagon buyers who didn’t get minivans.

Here’s a Buick Century wagon from that decisive year, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.

Buick was a major wagon player in 1984, with three different models available that year. There was the big Electra Estate, based on the same B-Body platform as the Chevy Caprice and Pontiac Bonneville. Economy-minded Buick wagon shoppers could get the Skyhawk Wagon, a member of the J-Body family that included the Chevy Cavalier. Right in the middle, the Century Estate offered a luxed-up Chevy Celebrity wagon for medium-sized families.

I can’t find evidence of 1984 Skyhawk wagons with the classic 1980s decal-based “wood” siding, but most Electra Estates and Century Estates seemed to be so equipped.

Under the hood, the rare 3.0-liter version of the Buick V6, good for 110 horsepower. The optional 3.8-liter V6 made 125 hp, and that’s what most Century Estate buyers got; the base engine in this car was the rattly 2.5-liter Iron Duke I4, but you won’t find many Duked Centuries.

Buick sponsored the US Olympic Team in a big way during the 1980s and 1990s, and the 1984 Century sedan was available as an Olympiad Edition (examples of which show up in wrecking yards from time to time). Everything Buick sold for 1984 had this window sticker.

1981 was the last year the United States government mandated 85 mph speedometers, but GM stuck with these speedos for a few additional years. With 110 horses in a boxy wagon, Century Estate speeds over 85 didn’t happen often, anyway.

Perhaps this car was moved off the lot as a result of this Southern California Buick dealership ad.

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  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Sep 26, 2017

    Any of those Ciera's in tan with Tru-coat?

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Oct 05, 2017

    ^^ Great movie reference We had the likely the rarest of the Woodies .My parents , bought new , an 81 Corolla wagnon , red woodie, "the Tamale", all 3 of us learned how to drive with it, and surprisingly the vinyl wrap looked good even towards the end of its life, as the red paint hAD long since faded. No real rust issues either. My parents donated it approx. 2000. Someone dented the right rear quarter panel later in its life and Dad used bumper stickers to secure the side molding, one was a yellow "Save our Troops" , which confused a lot of people. In retrospect he wasn't making a political statement, but just didn't have any tape. One time it failed inspection because the power steering pump was missing, my dad had it removed after it failed. His response was classic Cheech and Chong, "it's still in the car, it's in the back of the car" (hatch). Every now and then I'll see an early 80s corolla and text a pic to my sibs for nostalgia's sake.

  • Dukeisduke So, it'll be invisible, just like all other Gen 6 Camaros?
  • Alterboy21 The gov't has already mandated control of your vehicle. 10 years ago they required cars to have ABS and traction control.I am not sure I agree that automatic breaking is ready for primetime, but taking control of a cars driving behavior is not new ground for the NHTSA. 
  • Parkave231 Collector's Edition hood ornament or GTFO.
  • Dave M. Once again Mustang remains solely on the throne. But obviously the day of the ponycar has long passed....
  • Art Vandelay The car so nice they killed it…twice