My Bitchin Buick

Posted on: July 2nd, 2024 by

Breaking The Glass Ceiling

The two women broke the glass ceiling in unexpected ways.  They were car thieves and crackheads.  This was 1991.

A Teenager’s Eternal Selfishness

Siblings are often cursed with a directive to share stuff.  In my case, it was to share a 1986 Buick Century Limited with my older sister while we attended college at Florida State University (FSU).  Both my sisters are great…back then and today.  But….ewwwww.  I wanted my own car!  The eternal selfishness of the teenaged mind is a powerful thing.  I’d like to think I grew out of that stage but I have suspicions that I have not.  Please keep your thoughts on this matter to yourself:)

We had great parents who did not spoil us but set us up for success and kept us safe.  My parents did not believe in a free ride.  Our college agreement was that they would pay for our classes and books, but we had to pay for our housing and food.  Harvard, Princeton, the Community College of the Bahamas…all were open to us.  This resulted in my sister and I working as Resident Assistants at Cash Hall…a private dormitory and apartment complex that housed rowdy college students and all of FSU’s athletes except for the football players.  They were at the Ritz or something…

The Not Quite Yet “Bitchin” Buick

Our parents cared for our safety by providing us with a used, black over red-velveted interior, four-door Buick that my dad found for $600.  While it did not enhance my dating life, it was reliable.  My dating life remained spotty at best.  And then the Buick disappeared.

For my sophomore year, I decided I needed to spread my wings a bit and I lived in an apartment with two buddies from high school.  I awoke one morning…technically it was after noon (purposely with a space), to find the Buick missing.  I assumed my sister grabbed it to run errands so I did not think much of it.  But since I was now a few miles away, I thought I’d better call her on my rotary dial phone to confirm.


911 Was Called…Eventually

This is a summation of our conversation: “I don’t have it, I thought you had it.”  We bounced that around between ourselves for a while until we realized that neither one of us had it.  It had been stolen…cool.

You always remember the first time you call the police.  The authorities arrived and I felt important for some reason.  Once I confirmed that it was here, while pointing to an empty parking spot, and now it’s gone, pointing to the same empty parking spot, they took a few notes on what looked like post-its, and departed.  I’m sure they took it seriously.

Three weeks later, I had the car back.  Well, most of it.  Four “youths” had been caught joyriding in the Buick near the Tallahassee International Airport…International meaning flights to Cancun happened during spring break.  All but one of the youths were under 18 years old.  The original perpetrators were two young women who had stolen the Buick and traded it for crack cocaine…quite entrepreneurial of them.  They were never caught.


Back in Black…and Bruised

The steering column had been cracked open so they could start it with a screwdriver.  My dad refused to throw any additional money at the Buick, so we used a Phillips head as the “key” for our remaining time with the car…which wasn’t long.

Additional “enhancements” by the perpetrators included the word “Bitchin” keyed onto the hood in five-inch lettering that resembled San Serif if done with a switchblade.  Pardon my using the “B” word, but this is for historical documentation purposes.  I consider myself the Indiana Jones of 1980s mediocre cars.

While at FSU, I played trombone in the Marching Chiefs which was their +400 member marching band.  As a “tromboner”, their words, not mine, we received jerseys with nicknames on the back that were created by the senior players.

For my freshman year, I was “Horny Bone”…for different reasons than what you are probably imagining right now.  I received a (partial) music scholarship for playing the French Horn while I played trombone in the marching band.  Once my French Horn private lesson teacher discovered my other life, he made me quit playing the trombone.  From that point on, the 26 trombone strong section of the Marching Chiefs performed with one French Horn lurking within their mist.  “Horny Bone” made sense.  The following year, my Jersey was adorned with “Bitchin Car.”  No one ever accused senior college kids as being very inventive.

My tenure with the Buick ended when a Ford F-150 ran a red light and T-boned the black beauty causing it, and me, to 360 many times before coming to rest on an Exxon service station.  You read that right.  We landed on the raised base that housed the gas pumps.  I was shaken and stirred and thankfully not Burger Kinged flame-broiled.  The $600 Buick was totaled.

During RM Sotheby’s Auburn auction of 2020, I noticed that there was a 1986 Buick Century Limited on offer.  I just had to sit in it and relive my college days.  This one was nicer, and you didn’t have to start it with a screwdriver.  Even though the estimate was only $6,000 to $8,000, I never considered buying it.  Despite its namesake, I never considered the 1986 Buick Century Limited as “Bitchin”.

If you need help selling your 1986 Buick Century Limited, call Mecum.  If you need help selling your bitchin collector car, then please respond to this email.  As always, thanks for reading and I will talk to all of you this Thursday on The Collector Car Podcast.  – Greg