No Reserve Roadmaster: 1996 Buick Wagon

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It honestly looks more like  Hudson Hornet or a Zeppelin than it does a Buick but that’s the style that all GM ’91-’96 full-sizers encompassed, sedan and wagon alike. While this ’96 Buick Roadmaster is a big rounded wagon, the faux wood treatment breaks up some of its slathered enormity and actually causes this Buick to more closely resemble a cabin cruiser. Regardless, this car will never be classified as svelte. While sunbathing in St. Paul, Minnesota, this Roadmaster is looking for a new home and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $5,100 with twelve bids tendered.

Size matters and this big Buick is 217.5″ in length, 80″ wide, and tips the scales at 4,700 lbs. It’s one of 8,900 wagons to depart GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant in its final year of production. Oddly, the wheelbase only stretches 116 inches – it looks longer.

The seller tells us that he bought this car thinking that it would be pristine but in his judgment, it’s not. It has been repainted and overspray gives it away. Apparently, there is some quarter panel surface rust that was painted over too but the car is claimed to be rust-free. The listing images aren’t really that good as the lead is the only one that includes a full glimpse of the exterior as opposed to the more focused snippets that comprise the bulk of the images. One thing that is evident is that the underside is in very sound shape – no sign of a problem anywhere.

Power is provided by a 260 net HP, 350 CI Chevrolet LT-1 V8 engine. With only 65K miles recorded, the powertrain “appears to be in good condition (engine is quite (sic) and transmission shifts smoothly)“. The seller adds that there is no sign of engine oil drips and the brakes work fine – except that the ABS light is now on.

Inside continues the continuity of the exterior’s condition. The tan vinyl or vinyl/leather upholstery looks fine as does the carpet though the seller mentions there’s a hole worn through the driver’s side rug. The rear headliner is coming undone and there’s an issue with window clips on three of the four doors. Good to know, there is working (cold) A/C and a functioning radio. There is a partial image of the cargo area and it checks out.

We cover station wagons all of the time here on BF – they’re popular and the older, the better. So that begs the question, how will a ’96 edition do? I imagine pretty well, while hardly a “classic” and built upon subjective styling, this vintage Roadmaster has that LT-1 engine and those are always a draw. Being a no-reserve auction, this might be a reasonable way to get into doing a little road mastering on your own, right?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Nice looking RoadMasher.

    Like 2
  2. HadTwo

    Last year for this Wagon. “Collector’s Edition” round hood ornament as I recall.
    The best engine transmission package of the series.
    This burgandy color did not get ordered much. A good detail and a new set of floor mats and someone has a nice Driver.

    Like 2
  3. JustPassinThru

    Buick with a factory SBC engine.

    The world’s going to a camp-meeting Hell…

    The SBC had its virtues, not the least of which is, it and parts are everywhere.

    But Buick engines were special. Everything from the non-special Special, to Kaiser-Jeep products, to Flxble buses (before they went diesel)…if you wanted reliable power, the most for the cubic inch, you wanted Buick’s engines.

    Abandoned, with those years of GM’s modern engineering front: BADGE engineering. Make the exact same car, sell it in five divisions, with only the nameplate to differentiate.

    Like 1
  4. mercedes 600

    I have the same color on my 96 only with matching dark red interior. The deal was if I drive my aunt and uncle to the airport they would give me the car. They were moving west and had no more need of it. Still have it. Great car nice ride

    Like 6
  5. ACZ

    This is a car you can’t beat. This one even has the trailering package. Transportation for the family and toys. Plenty of power to bring as much as you want on vacation and beat a couple of Mustangs at the stoplights. Last of the great ones.

    Like 3
  6. Old Beach Guy

    I’ve had two Buford Roadies, a 92 and a 95. Great cars. Fit ’em with a set of Impala SS wheels, and enjoy the ride.

    Like 3
  7. Dan

    The LT1 always had issues with the opti-spark and that stupid, but very expensive internal water pump.Both of these were bad ideas. Ask any Vette or Z/28 owner who has one. The Roadmaster and Impala SS has the same set up as the Vette and Z/28 with a lesser fuel injection system When they failed they they were too much money to have repaired. You were better off getting the Chevy Caprice or Oldsmobile versions of these with simple 305 as they were far more reliable and cheaper to repair when something failed. They were just slower.

    Like 0
  8. Gary Gary

    I knew I saw this same car right here on Barn Finds reviewed by Adam Clarke back on 11/30/2022. I remember it because the seller listed at that time is the same one the current seller is referring to as scammer when it comes to (mis)representing the vehicle’s real condition. I actually applaud the current seller for bringing to light just what happened & why they’re flipping it so quickly.

    Like 3
    • PRA4SNW

      Gary, good catch!

      Too bad the buyer wasn’t a BF reader or they would have read this warning by BFjunkie in the previous comments:

      “How is everyone so easily duped by the rattle-can underside touch-up?? If you look closely, that exhaust system has been painted silver and there is overspray on the undercarriage and the O2 sensors. Whatever did have surface rust has been hit with black paint, especially on the suspension pieces, which look greasy now. The way I read the feedback is customers are seeing a lot of small details in person not represented in the pictures or by the seller and the condition is honest enough not to be dishonest with heavy disclaimer on any reliability issues. Not my kind of seller… Sorry.”

      Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW

    I read the ad and appreciate the seller’s honesty about the items that do need attention. Actually, it doesn’t sound too bad as long as you take those things into consideration when bidding.

    What the seller should have done was to show a picture of each item that he mentions. Instead, a buyer is left to guess at how bad the items are.

    Like 1

    I had a 96 Estate, tan with wood and tan leather interior. Only mechanical issues were the water pump, belt driver on crank balancer broke in half(had to steer without power steering),fuel pump stopped working if it went below half full. Interior plastics were brittle and broke, rear seat was like an oven with overhead window. Drove it like I stole it, surprised a lot of sporty car drivers when all they saw was my taillights.

    Like 0
  11. chrlsful

    I very much like the idea.
    Not so much the exceqution.
    Congrads cheb for the attempt.
    Wish some one was still @ it here
    in merica (a large power wagon rather
    than all the SUVs). I gota lill or middie (not
    small or compact, mini) and it’s perfect for me.

    Like 0

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