Junkyard Find: 1984 Buick Century Olympia

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 buick century olympia

Buick was one of the major sponsors of the United States Olympic Team for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles— you know, the Games that got boycotted by the Evil Empire as payback for our boycott of the 1980 event— and the centerpiece of that sponsorship came in the form of a very special car: the 1984 Buick Century Olympia. We last saw one of these rare machines back in 2014, and now the Junkyard Find series returns with another, found in the San Francisco Bay Area a couple of months back.

The Century Olympia came in white with gold pinstripes and sported special exterior badging.

Not only that, the Nearly Velour™ seat upholstery had purple USA Olympic Team logos on the headrests.

’84 Olympics officials got a fleet of Buicks to drive around during the events as well. I wonder if my friend who got busted for knocking over all the cones on the bicycle-race course (the night before the event) in his Toyota Hilux got hauled to the Laguna Hills slammer by a rent-a-cop driving a Skyhawk.

Power in this car came from the 3.0-liter version of Buick’s venerable-even-then V6 engine. This engine made 110 horsepower, which was better than the base Iron Duke four but not quite as righteous as the 3.8 V6 in the Century T-Type that year.

Did I buy the handsome analog dash clock out of this car? You know it!

Here’s what that clock looks like in night mode.

Junkyard employees bent the decklid so badly, trying to open it with no key, that I had to shoot the set of vintage California political bumper stickers from strange angles.

Sam Farr was in the State Assembly when this car was new, then moved on to Washington DC to represent the 17th Congressional District (which, at the time, included this very junkyard). Barbara Boxer and Bill Monning get decklid sticker shoutouts as well, so we can assume that this car lived most of its life in the San Francisco Bay Area. And how many cars have you seen with a bumper sticker from Bill Richardson’s 2008 presidential campaign? Believe it or not, the campaign website still exists.

Is a special-edition A-Body Buick sedan with California-style rust around the edges worth anything? No, it is not.

This car stayed in production all the way through the 1996 model year (the year in which Buick shoppers could get an Olympics Edition Regal), albeit with a not-very-radical facelift in 1991.

Because it’s a Buick, the Century doesn’t let the feel of the road interfere with your tranquility.

For links to nearly 2,200 additional Junkyard Finds, please visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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  • Millmech Millmech on Aug 17, 2021

    Suggestion/Request - Perhaps post movie of the Surgical Operation of opening locked trunk/boot with only a forklift. "Crack the Safe, Leave No Marks"

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Aug 23, 2021

    Little late for this response, but that clock has a “quartz” label on it, but it doesn’t act like it in the video! The 1983 Regal Custom Sedan my parents had (the last of the three-binnacled, black-over-silver gauges IP) had an analog quartz clock that moved second-to-second like a wristwatch. My guess is that Murilee had an extra 12V electric movement laying around? Surprised that Century had a clock option — I’ve never seen one so-equipped — especially since all but the base AM radio had a digital clock built-in.

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  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
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