My Wheels – Chapter 25
1985 Buick Century

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who didn’t think the 1985 Century was particularly photo worthy. Not only have I no pictures of mine but the only internet picture I found of something similar is the one at right. Mine was new so had wheel covers and all its chrome bits but it may have looked much like the picture at some point in its life.

The Century was Buick’s member of the A-Body family which included the Chevrolet Celebrity, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, and the Pontiac 6000. I was drawn to the family by a company owned Celebrity that the service manager drove and praised. I found my car in a newspaper ad where I think it was the low-end come-on among pricier and more desirable LeSabres, Regals, and Rivieras. It had the inline 4-cylinder which was not, I’ve read, very popular. Neither was it, I soon learned, very peppy. It was hooked to a three-speed automatic. The car had power locks but not power windows. Nor did it initially have a right hand mirror.

The absent mirror is easy to remember because it was the last piece of the deal. I had come to really depend on mirrors on both sides and ended negotiations with, “I’ll take it if you include a passenger side mirror.” The factory installed mirror on the left side was flat black and in a day or so I had a matching one on the right of my new purchase.

Although it wasn’t very powerful, smooth, or quiet the 2.2 liter engine did an adequate job and delivered pretty good mileage. Actually, “adequate” is a pretty good description of the whole car. It once carried two adults and four kids, one a teenager, to and from Myrtle Beach. It wasn’t roomy or particularly comfortable. It was adequate.

The American auto industry was not known for its quality in the mid-1980s. The Century’s materials may have been slightly better than those used in the company’s Celebrity but the build quality was about the same. A couple pieces of interior trim were already falling off when I traded the car at about a year old.

4 thoughts on “My Wheels – Chapter 25
1985 Buick Century

  1. I just had time to read your post, and honestly I have a pretty different opinion about the car. My father bought it somewhere around 2000. The previous owner was a grandmother from niagara falls who really took good care of it. Nobody had ever sat on the rear seats and the front ones were under blankets to protect them. It was truly spotless and had like 70 000 km. He paid like 2000$ and ran it for ten years. It was a really good winter car but the body started to rot because of the salt. Over the years he only had to fix the interior roof, exhaust and brake lines. So that’s why I’m surprised when you say the build quality was bad. After that the car was my first car, and I ran it for like two years but pieces were falling off so I had to get rid of it. But still 1985-2010 is a good run for a car. Mine had the 2.8 Carbureted engine and It hauled the car pretty well while still having good mileage.

    • That’s really cool about you once owning the pictured car. When you first commented, I thought you might be upset about me using the picture because I had none of my own car. Glad that doesn’t seem to be the case.

      You’re right about 1985-2010 being a good run. Maybe my view of the Century was a little harsh. I really didn’t have any mechanical issues with the car. The issues I did have were purely cosmetic. Of course, when interior trim breaks or falls off in the first year it’s really in your face and taints your overall impression. A car that provides 25 years of service is deserving of praise.

  2. No of course I was just really surprised. I used to have an automotive blog as a teenager and it doesn’t exist anymore (where this picture originated). I am pleased to see my first car posted on some websites, and when I write “1985 Buick Century” on google image it’s the second one that shows up! Also this week my favourite californian magasine (Hot rod Magasine / Roadkill) published an article about the cars that you are embarassed that you love. My comment about the story of ther car with this picture was on top of the list. But I understand your point, interior trim falling off on the first year usually make you think you just bought a Lemon.

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