Our Cars--Mom's 1996 Buick Century
Submitted by Car Lust reader and commenter Al Sapp
*Author's note: In order to fully understand this post, it's worth noting that, at the time of writing, I’m 14.
When we think about the 1982-1996 Buick Century, not that we do often, we often think of the driver's age being somewhere between 76 and dead. And you'd be right. My mother bought this prosthetic limb beige Light Sand Rift Metallic '96 Century from a 94 year old family friend back in 2007. She was looking to replace her trusty but unneeded 1997 Dodge Caravan SWB. My brother and I had aged to the point where a minivan just wasn't necessary.
When she came into possession of the Buick, it had something like 38k on the odometer. Without sounding cliché, it was only ever driven to church on Sundays.
The Buick was powered by 2.2 Liters of multiport fuel injected, overhead valve Detroit muscle. Muscle is a relative term. This gutless beast of an engine developed 120 horse power and 140 pounds feet of torque. Not exactly a GSX Stage 1, but it got you from A to B in comfort.
Here's how Chris Hafner described the Buick's Cutlass Ciera twin:
They were good-looking in a generic way, with blandly formal lines. They had the overstuffed bench seats, sloppy suspension, numb steering, two-spoke plastic steering wheel, and awful left control stalk typical of GM sedans of the time.
I'd agree. The cars were good looking, and well stanced. I never got to drive it, so I can't say much about the numb steering, but any passenger could certainly feel the sloppy suspension. Build quality wasn't exceptional.
Alas, after a few years the pavement burning 2.2 started suffering. The alternator was the first thing to go. A year or two later the top end of the motor had to be rebuilt. It still ran rough. We put it on Craigslist. (The photos are from the ad we posted.) After a month of not selling, we gave it to my retired car salesman grandfather to try and sell it. He sold it, to a mechanic trying to flip it. Mom later replaced the Buick with a Kia. Out of respect for my mother, I keep my opinions to myself.
Though I was never attached to it, I was still sad to see the old beast go. It’d be a fine first car, if it wasn’t front wheel drive, which, in large sedans, is taboo for me.