Nice Driver: 1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon

It must be nice to be the master of the road and Buick allowed mortal men to do just that simply by acquiring one of their high-brow, so named vehicles. The Roadmaster name dates to the 1930s but by 1996, the year that this Roadmaster wagon was produced, it was all over but the clapping. That being the case, let’s look at one of the last examples to wear that vaunted moniker. This big Buick is located in Darby, Pennsylvania and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $6,721 with 35 bids tendered as of this writing.

Things get confusing with the listing because this wagon is claimed to be both a ’94 and a ’96 but the VIN verifies this Buick Roadmaster has a ’96 model. At 142K miles, it looks pretty darn good! The finish is listed as original and the faux wood applique is not showing signs of fade, peeling, or bubbling. These are big cars with a sort of Blimpo silhouette but they were popular, especially in sedan form. This example is advertised as being rust-free with a straight body and frame and the numerous underside images bear out this claim. Any exterior wear is described as appropriate for a vehicle with this wagon’s “road history“. Of note are the aluminum alloy wheels, these appear to be in sound shape which is often not the case due to road rash and brake dust.

Power is provided by a 260 net HP, 350 CI small-block Chevrolet “LT1” V8 engine. It may be tough for a Buick purist to accept bowtie power under the expanse of a Roadmaster’s hood but that’s how things were in the ’90s as GM’s various brands were losing their uniqueness and “borrowing” parts from the other divisions. And of course, Chevrolet made good use of Buick’s well-respected 3.8-liter V6 engine. The listing states, “THE BUICK  CHEVROLET 5.7 8 CYLINDER ENGINE IS SMOOTH, QUIET, AND, VERY RESPONSIVE. NO MAJOR OIL LEAKS EXCLUDING NORMAL SEEPAGE“. A four-speed automatic transmission (4L60E?) gets the LT1’s power to the rear wheels.

The interior is finished off in tan leather upholstery still shows well with minimum age wear, cracking, etc., pretty remarkable for the driver’s seat, in particular, considering that it has been butt-bound for 142K miles. Ditto the carpet and dash pad, no demerits to be given. As is often the case, the third “way back” seat shows as rarely used. The instrument panel of this Roadmaster is surprisingly austere and minimal, my preference actually as there’s not much to gawk at and it’s an encouragement to keep one’s eyes on the road. A very nice interior feature of this wagon is the sun/moon roof, an option that I did not know was available on this vintage wagon.

The seller sums up this Roadmaster by stating, “THIS IS A EXCELLENT RUNNING AND DRIVING BUICK ROAD MASTERWAGON THAT WILL GIVE PLENTY OF GOOD SERVICE TO THE NEW OWNER“. There’s no doubt about its current condition, this Buick appears to have been gently driven, well maintained and garage kept. It’s the mileage (plenty of good service) that has my radar up. It’s true that a ’96 Buick Roadmaster station wagon is not an everyday find, especially one in this condition, but how much reliable, trouble-free driving is left before “stuff” happens?

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Comments

  1. MonteMarc

    How much did we spend on spray painting the rusty exhaust and underside of the car to call it “rust free.” Not a bad looking car overall. I just have to roll my eyes.

    Like 4
  2. Phipps

    I believe it was one of these I got my first action in but burgundy. Be funny to have as comedy and for a shop hauler

    Like 2
  3. John Phillips

    They managed to keep the rubber wraparound glued on. No minor feat.

  4. Troy

    There seams to be a lot of these things popping up here on barn finds lately makes me want to buy all of them and have a demolition derby just to make a bunch of people cry

    Like 3
    • TimS Member

      I want to do the exact same thing with first-gen Broncos.

      Like 3
  5. Chris Dieringer

    eBay listing says it was in some type of accident.

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