A bastion of American motoring and manufacture, Buick is a name that has proudly sat emblazoned across numerous notable vehicles for over a century, with cars like the underrated Buick Reatta, tire-smoking Wildcat muscle car, and 2022 Buick Enclave all being fine examples of the long-lasting brand. Sitting proudly alongside these is the Buick Roadmaster, a car that spans eight model generations and has undergone more facelifts than an aging Hollywood starlet.
Tracing its roots all the way back to the stout 1931 Series 80, a first for Buick in that they fitted a lusty straight-eight to an upmarket sedan, the famed Roadmaster is an American staple, with numerous versions of the eponymous car having drifted up and down the countries highways for what is coming close to nearly a century. Admired by collectors, cruisers, families, and modifiers alike, the Buick Roadmaster offers up something for everyone in a number of bodystyles as it continues to amass a following from fans both old and young. Instantly recognizable as one of Buick's premier products, here are 10 things gearheads forgot about the Buick Roadmaster.
10 They're Much Older Than You May Think
Initially known simply as the Series 80 which dates back to 1931 the Roadmaster name didn't appear on the vehicle line-up until a reshuffling towards the end of the decade with the Series 80 Roadmaster sedan setting itself apart from other GM releases.
A much needed 1936 restyle, along with its moniker, saw the Roadmaster gain a more defined grille, squared-off bumpers, and streamlined headlights along with a welcome bump in engine power to a not so shabby 130hp.
9 It Was (Almost) Always Very Stylish
Having worn many body styles during its life cycle, the Roadmaster, on the whole, always appeared to be a smartly presented stand-out vehicle built to sit at the top of the many Buick offerings as a distinguished, quality product.
While some of the later styling flourishes, like the very distinct 'drawer pull' grille called the Fashion-Aire Dynastar" were gaudy, bizarre additions, the Roadmaster has weathered the passage of time with dignity and class.
8 A Pricey Purchase
The Buick Roadmaster was for those who could identify with the better things in life and as such, they were not cheap automobiles, built on the longest non-limousine chassis, Buick cars were priced to reflect their owner's social standing.
When calculated for inflation and represented in today's money an early 1930s Roadmaster would have set its owner back nearly $40,000 dollars, while a later, more luxurious, special edition could potentially have set a purchaser back a whopping $65,000.
7 Big And Comfortable
Ranked firmly in the category of land-barge the longest Roadmaster measured in at over eighteen feet in length with a width of six and a half feet, hugely spacious the interiors were often opulently finished with comfortable supple leather.
Weighing in at up to 2100kg the Roadmaster was no nimble-footed corner carver, but dominated when used as a comfortable highway cruiser, able to lap up hundreds of miles without breaking a sweat or troubling its occupants once.
6 It Was A Sales Success
All eight generations of the Buick Roadmaster were considered to be something of a triumph in dealer showrooms within their respected markets. Devout owners were keen to either upgrade models or swap older cars for the newest version.
Following the Second World War, interest in the Roadmaster soared with a record number of vehicles being shifted in both 1947 and 1948, this trend continued well into the early 1950s, as the car continued to evolve into a style icon.
5 The Nineties Weren't Kind To Its Styling
The Roadmaster name and trim level were pulled from the market by Buick following not only sharp a decline in sales but also the decision to once again rename the vehicles on offer, with the replacement now being referred to as the Electra.
Following a 3 decade absence, the Roadmaster returned in 1991 and brought with it none of the flair or style that had been associated with the previous generations, taking on a more reserved, strictly business-like appearance.
4 You Could Get One With A Corvette Engine
Not having aged well, the nineties cars weren't without their charms, and many found homes with those seeking some American-made luxury or large families that acknowledged the vast amount of comfortable luggage hauling space on offer.
Those looking for a little excitement could also opt for the Corvette-derived LT1 engine option, which would see a detuned 5.7-liter V8 that put out a healthy 260hp fitted beneath the extensive hood to provide grin-worthy performance.
3 A Proud American
Proudly manufactured at a number of GM plants across America, the Buick Roadmaster was a home-grown winner which, in its early years, was also assembled and offered in Japan to those overseas clients seeking American luxury motoring.
At the height of sales, vehicles were being manufactured at up to eight plants across America to ensure that the consumer demand would be met, and vehicles often wore an indication mark or sticker to denote where they hailed from.
2 They Love A Modification
No matter its age, condition, or history, Roadmasters have become a very common sight on the modifier scene, with all versions of the car offering up a unique base for a creative mind to enact their vision of motoring perfection.
Capable of being host to a limitless number of customizations or off-the-wall ideas, the Roadmaster is considered to be an easily modified car thanks to the excellent availability of parts along with an active network of past and present owners.
1 The Last Of Its Kind
The highly sought-after Roadmaster Woodie Wagon was discontinued in 1953, marking the last time a mass-produced wood-bodied station wagon would be offered by a mainstream manufacturer within the American marketplace.
Considered to be the finest of its kind, the Roadmaster Woodie has a cult following, with less than well-looked after examples being sought out so that they can be restored to their fantastic former glory for a new generation to enjoy.