From the middle 1930s until the late ’50s Roadmaster was, essentially, Buick’s line topper. In the days when Buick hierarchy was demarcated by little fender-mounted portholes –“ventiports” in Buickspeak — Roadmasters had four on each side, lesser models (Special, Super) had just three per side.
Ventiports were tossed out in ’59 as were older model names. Gone were Special, Century and Roadmaster and in came Electra, Invicta and LeSabre. Yet, thirty years later and against all odds, the Roadmaster name returned. It was applied to a bulbous, Chevy Caprice-based station wagon in 1991, a companion Roadmaster sedan was added the next year.
Buick’s ’91 – ’96 Roadmaster wagons were the last of a breed. These were definitely old school rides with body-on-frame construction, V8 power, rear wheel drive drive and offered with fake wood siding and seating for as many as eight, not to mention a “Vista Roof” over the second-row of seats. The third row faced oncoming traffic so kids could flip the bird to those following. Luxurious, commodious, versatile and, when appropriately equipped, fast, the Roadmaster Estate Wagon is a massive wonder to behold.
Minivans and SUVs supplanted the role of the traditional station wagon over the past three or four decades and today there isn’t a single domestic station wagon, full size or compact, in production. You can only buy a big wagon today if it wears a Mercedes Benz three-pointed star, a BMW roundel or a set of Audi rings.
Just the same, we have a real appreciation for these land yachts bearing the Buick shield. Sure, they have a lot of presence (over 18 feet long and almost 4600 pounds unladen) but we dig ’em because by being so traditional they were, in some real way, making a contrarian statement. You could even order one with a 5.7 liter LT1 motor, same as a Corvette. And that’s kind of outlaw.. even with the fake wood.
We love the funky flame job on Mark Wenner’s Roadmaster. This big Buick goes as fast as it looks, too. GM knew it has reached the end of an era and discontinued Roadmaster after the ’96 model year but they earmarked those last year cars with special “Collector Edition” badging.
You may very well want to “collect” one of these and, to that end, we offer some terrific Roadmaster wagons at reasonable prices. Now, with the price of gas lower than it has been in quite a while, you have no good reason not to seriously consider acquiring one. Here’s a ’96 with only 123,000 miles in nearby York, PA for only $2750. How can you not buy this?? Here’s another, a pristine beauty with half the miles, at more than twice the price in nearby Addison, IL.
We like this nostalgia-themed commercial that introduced the new Roadmaster wagon in ’91. The good old days weren’t even all that old back then.
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