Super Clean: 27K Mile 1996 Buick Roadmaster

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One of GM’s favorite “B” body cars is the last of the rear-wheel-drive models which were found in the form of the Chevrolet Caprice, Cadillac Fleetwood (D body actually, but similar) and Buick Roadmaster. Produced between 1991 and 1996 and powered by a Chevrolet small-block V8 engine, they had a definite following back in the day and still do today in 2020. So finding a 27K mile, 1996 Buick Roadmaster example, twenty-four years after the fact, is quite a find. Let’s examine this one more closely; it is located in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania and is available here on craigslist for $9,350. Thanks to Mitchell G. for this find.

This version of the Roadmaster, introduced as a ’91 model,  encountered some minor facelifts during its six-year production cycle but things got more interesting in 1994 with the inclusion of Chevrolet’s detuned LT1 Corvette engine. Built at GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant, production went on until December of ’96, ceasing finally as GM claimed it needed the build capacity at Arlington for the Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Escalade SUVs. The big GM rear-wheel drivers were popular right up until the end.

Our subject car, which is claimed as a one-owner, 27K mile example, was domiciled and garaged in Virginia over its lifetime. The seller, who has had possession of this Buick since the Spring of 2020, claims that he is now selling it as he has lost his garage space. That’s the same problem that he had last week with this ‘89 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.  Garage space must be tight in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania! Owing to the admission that the seller has driven this car for a few months would make it, by my estimation, a two-owner car. Regardless of ownership, this Roadmaster is in beautiful condition. The Ruby Red finish still shines as new and as the seller states, there are no signs of dings, dents or other mishaps. The black vinyl padded landau top is in nice shape too though, subjectively speaking, it only seems to make the wide derriere of this car look wider – an illusion I guess. The chrome and trim continue the complete presentation, it all appears as new.

The interior has that kind of cheesy GM, mid-’90s look to it and the bordello red fabric upholstery doesn’t help any. Sure, it’s very clean and unused in its appearance, and I’m sure, quite comfortable as a Roadmaster should be. Nevertheless, it looks like one is driving their living room via a Barcalounger. My experience with a GM center, cassette tape-holding, console isn’t too good. It seems that when you flip it up, everything becomes dislodged and then the lid flys open slinging the contents into small, unretrievable places. It’s a nit, but it is the first thing that I thought of when spying the open compartment. With the front seats slid back into a rearward position, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of legroom for rear-seat occupants. It is especially notable in a car of this size.

The engine room is occupied by a 260 net HP, Chevrolet 5.7 liter, V8 engine. It is similar to the Corvette variation but detuned and it is the old-school, traditional small-block motor. Its replacement, the “LS” series, was phased in starting the following year. The seller claims that it runs perfectly, further adding, “Preventative maintenance I have had done include an air filter, oil and filter change, serpentine belt, transmission filter and fluid change”. It sounds as if everything is good to go in the mechanical department. The transmission is a four-speed automatic connected to a limited-slip differential.

Full disclosure, my mother-in-law owned a ’96 Buick Roadmaster; it became affectionately known as the “Road Cochon” because it was a bit of a road hog. Big, and a bit wonky, it had questionable road-handling characteristics but rode beautifully. The LT1 engine, as described above, was hardly a firebrand in a 4,400+ lb. sedan, completely adequate though. The RM’s biggest drawback, which may be considered minor in the scheme things, was the interior materials – typical GM ’90s auto parts store seat cover upholstery and thin, cheap plastic fittings.  While not really acceptable on a Chevy, it was uncalled for on a Buick. And as the seller of this Roadmaster mentions, he had to have the aluminum wheels refinished – I know on my m-i-l’s car, the wheels were pretty grungy looking after only six years; one would expect better. The car was eventually offered to me on a quick sale but I passed.

This is another recent find that seems to need very little if anything. These GM “B” bodies were pretty reliable cars and the price for this Roadmaster seems fair. If you want to be large and in charge, this may be the ride for you.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. 8thNote 8thNote

    The end of an era…….

    I would happily drive this every day. It is a Beautiful speciman. A great example of the style and presence that defined American automobiles for many decades.

    Like 12
  2. Dan

    From the day when you had a choice of interior materials and weren’t stuck with leather, whether you wanted it or not. Beautiful example, I’d take it in a heartbeat.

    Like 7
  3. Jonathan

    Awesome and would buy now if a bit closer. This vehicle has, at least, another 100,000 miles of life left on it. Perhaps 175,000 if treated nicely.

    “And I even like the color.”

    Like 5
    • JEFF S.

      I owned a 1994 Roadmaster Same red color, but mine had the gray leather interior. I do not like the red cloth interior one bit. Mine went 209,000 before the bottom end developed a loud knock at start up. Was still running when it went to the junkyard.

      Like 0
  4. Will Fox

    I would drive this every day too. Not old or rare enough to be kept mothballed in the garage, and gas prices aren’t that high right now. This would make an EXCELLENT road car for those 3-day wkend type trips!Mileage makes it practically new!

    Like 5
  5. Tony M.

    “I lost my garage space” is the typical note in an ad from someone who got an absolute steal from some elderly original owner and is now flipping it a few months later for no less than double the money.

    Nothing wrong with that, but I see it all the time

    Like 13
  6. AndyinMA

    She’s beautiful

    Like 3
  7. Dave Brown

    My wife’s maiden aunt owned one of these new and I had to drive it WAY too much. She was old but big Buicks were her go to car. Anyway, it was an awkward driving car. I drove from Walnut Creek, CA to Bodega Bay in it up the costal highway. It was down right scary. The car was so hard to see out of in any direction but forward. The hood was huge and on its nose was a cheap looking hood ornament. I used it to help me stay in my lane on HWY 1. The car was huge and VERY softly sprung. Turns were always an adventure and there are plenty of them on this route. On the rear C inside panel, the plump pillow trim just fell out. The instrument panel looked cheap but was trying not. The rear lift over height to the trunk was tremendous. And everything was a shade of blue. I remember big Buicks that were solid, impressive, road going machines. This one tried to mimic them, but failed miserably and lacked the style Buicks had used to glamour us with. GM should have kept Oldsmobile and shelved Buick. Actually, their management is responsible for a tremendous amount of really bad decisions and still are. GM is now a basically a truck company since they lost their car business to Europe and Asia. But, so has ford and Chrysler. Given time, Europe and Asia will take the truck market too. Their management seems to make better decisions. I still remember my desire for Continental, deVille and Imperial. But those days are over.

    Like 0
  8. gerardfrederick

    As far as GM decision making goes, I fully agree. They took a going concern, Opel and turned it into a disaster by replacing highly competent management with a guy from Mexico whose first act was to cancel all contracts with all suppliers, resulting in inferior, cheap products being used. While this mexican genius was destroying Opel, GM drained its bank account to keep incompetent american manufacturers going. The result – the closure GM factories, the loss of Opel, Vauxhaul and Holden — a total catastrophe. And let´s not forget opel was one of the world´s oldest industrial enterprises with a flawless reputation.

    Like 6
  9. bob roller25704

    \That big Buck is the equal to my every day driven 1997 Lincoln Town Car and it represented the Buick brand far better than the Mickey Mouse models of today that barely rise to the level of a major appliance like a refrigerator.
    We have had our TownCar since 2005 and it was an estate sale car and so far we have no reason to get rid of it and it is a crime as to what Ford did to Lincoln.

    Like 3
  10. Jasper

    There was an old guy that ran one of these as an unsanctioned taxi to the local gays in the know. His didn’t have the vinyl top but had leather and was always pristine.

    Like 2
  11. Casey Wiedmann

    Had a 93 Roadmaster back in the day. To this day, still one of my favorite cars. Gas mileage was decent, power was fair and what a cruiser! Would love to have one of these again.

    Like 4
  12. Mark

    Had a 92 Roadmaster Limited. White with maroon leather and all the options.
    Fantastic car. One comfortable couch on wheels.

    Like 1
    • Bob Roller

      We have owned 2 Electra 225;s both 1975’s and the first one was optioned to the limit and we really liked it.The second one was too close to a Chevrolet to suit me and it soon morphed into a Lincoln
      Town Car.

      Like 0
  13. Dan G

    Hard to tell by the pic, but if this is the same guy who was selling the crown Vic because he “lost his garage space,” as I recall that car’s odometer looked a bit off- this one’s might, too.

    Like 0
    • JEFF S.

      Good catch Dan G. I had to enlarge the picture of the odometer and it does not look right. I owned a 1994 Roadmaster and all the numbers lined up perfect all the way from 99,890 to 209,525 when the car went to the junkyard in 2009.

      Like 0
  14. jerry z

    Just a flipper selling a nice car. Buying from an estate sale, I’m sure the price was a little less. Remove the padded top, throw on some SS wheels and suspension, and 3.73 gears, this would be a blast to drive!

    Like 1

    guy here hasa wagon. They ARE big vehicles.
    Rather the dwn sz (enuff for MY needs) and the ’83/6 LTD/Marquis wagons.

    Like 0
  16. Kenn

    Tony and Jerry, why the comments re: flipping? My guess is that over half the cars,planes, rv’s and boats found here are being “flipped”, in the sense that the sellers have not been owners for more than a few months. And that’s O.K. It’s just foolish to think otherwise IMO.

    Like 2
  17. David RMember

    I think the black top takes away from this car. The red color is beautiful and when I saw the red fabric interior it made up for the top.

    Like 1
  18. Steve BushMember

    Kenn, because when I deal with a long time owner I have a somewhat higher higher level of trust that everything is honestly represented and feel I’ll likely get a better price. Too many flippers, it seems, care only about the profit and often rip off both the original owner and the final buyer, putting little or no work or money into the car, and either accidentally, or by design, misrepresenting it.

    Like 0
  19. Dan G

    I’d be very curious to know if the current owner has service records. It’s a good way to verify the mileage.

    Like 0
  20. Bob Roller

    The opportunistic flipper whose motto is,”On my honor I do my best to
    take what I get and steal the rest”.

    Like 0

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