29th Jun 2011, 10:21
The Roadmaster is an attractive car? Seriously? My Aunt bought one of these mainly because it was the only car at the time (car versus a truck) that would haul her 30 foot camper. I remember the car when I was younger, and even at the time to me it looked like a giant bloated wale on wheels. The thing just drank gas and the interior was unbelievably cheap and plasticy. I'd say in retrospect the only redeeming quality of the car is that it was so gigantic that it is a bit "retro" today, given it had more in common with cars from the 70's than a car from the 90's.
In my opinion, this was perhaps a low era for Buick and a lot of other GM cars back then. Style and fit and finish took a back seat, and the bean counters ruled the day. It was cars like these that ultimately put Toyota and Honda up front, because they actually built cars people wanted.
I for one am glad GM and Ford finally got out of the business of building boring, plasticy, uninspiring cars, and started making cars people actually want to buy. If they had continued down the road of building cars like the Roadmaster, they would have been gone a long time ago.
29th Jun 2011, 10:29
Nothing can ever compete with the comfort and safety of these big body-on-frame cars. A recent study showed that the safest vehicle on the road is a large body-on-frame SUV, and that you are 3 times as likely to be killed in a small unibody car in an accident compared to an SUV roll-over.
Sadly, oil prices and the fact that most of our oil is imported has required drastic changes in our cars. With new 56 mpg fuel mileage standards being imposed in just 14 years, we are faced with easily crumpled little golf carts. We plan to drive our large body-on-frame SUV until we die of old age. It is so well-built it will likely last that long.
The Roadmaster was a grand and beautiful station wagon, built before the term "station wagon" became unpopular, and silly terms like "crossover" were coined for the very same types of vehicle. Personally, I'd feel safer in a '92 Roadmaster wagon than in any of the flimsy unibody "crossovers" being made today.
29th Jun 2011, 12:19
"Boring, plasticy, uninspiring cars" Gee whiz, that sounds like Toyota styling if you ask me.
29th Jun 2011, 18:37
12:19, I agree, but don't forget the domestics as well except for a very few exceptions. I guess styling is an objective thing, but I know I am not alone in feeling like I am driving the blandest looking cars that have ever rolled off the assembly lines.
30th Jun 2011, 00:08
"In my opinion, this was perhaps a low era for Buick and a lot of other GM cars back then"
Are you kidding me?
This was a HIGH point for Buick, as evidenced by the sheer volume of Parks and Roadies still driving today!
The 3800 was probably one of the greatest engines, ever (Wards agrees)... The 5.8 is right up there with it.
The low point for all American auto quality was the mid/late 70's 80's. This is where Japan really ate our lunch (and rightfully so). Buick was one of the first brands to turn it around and make serious inroads towards producing a high-mileage American product - and they did so from 91-96. These are just fantastic cars, which is why they're still driving today. Buy a low mileage Roadmaster or Park Avenue from 91-96, you might pay $2K or $3K for a car that gives you another 10 years of low running costs.
The only real 'headache' with the B Bodies is that working on the engines can be tricky, and you have to keep an eye out on underside rust if you live in those places where cars rust. Here 20 years later, some have developed frame issues.
Still, I couldn't disagree more with your assessment. This era of Buick was a high water mark.
30th Jun 2011, 09:56
If some think that the Roadmaster was "beautiful", then they are in the extreme minority. The car didn't sell because the thing was one ooogly looking car. All I can say is that I am awfully glad that those who think the Roadmaster a good-looking car aren't those calling the shots in the design department at any of the car firms.
I've been a car nut all my life, and to me the Roadmaster represents everything that was wrong with US car makers during that era. The 90's were perhaps one of the worst periods, because GM and Ford had basically turned their entry level and upper level luxury brands into "Grannymobile" cars. Buick, Cadillac, Oldmobile, and Lincoln were so far off the mark that they were in no way in the same class as even Lexus, BMW, or Audi. It was one old-person boat after another: The LeSabre, Century... Roadmaster were ALL big bulbous, uninspiring and totally bland cars that appealed almost entirely to an aging demographic. GM, Ford, and to some extent Chrysler are now undergoing a sort of Renaissance, and thankfully they have for the most part stopped making grannymobiles and boats.
Like I said - My Aunt bought a Roadmaster because she didn't want a SUV or truck to haul her camper - and the Roadmaster was about the only car that would do it. Other than that, the car was simply too huge. I drove it once. The thing was like driving a boat - literally.
The argument has been made over and over again that old school body-on-frame vehicles are safer than unibody vehicles. Time again that argument has been proven false. Look at just about any safety report out there these days, and there are vast numbers of unibody crossovers, SUVs, small and medium sized cars that carry 5-star crash and safety ratings. Cars are a lot safer today than they were even 10 years ago. There have been vast improvements in safety cage design, safety systems - like the introduction of side curtain air bags, safety warning systems, and so on. That, and ANY engineer will freely tell you that a unibody construction is going to be more rigid by far than any body on frame design.
Some of you might romantically assume that some old boat from the 50's-80's will be "a lot safer than today's Puny cars". Well... I happen to own a '55 Ford. It has a truck frame underneath. The sheet metal is basically bolted together and sits on the frame. The doors do not have any safety bars welded inside. The ONLY thing between me and the cars on the road is a thin sheet of steel and a B-pillar. It was common for cars like this to suffer massive amounts of damage in accidents. Engines and steering columns would get pushed right through the firewall into the passenger compartment. Oh- and the car didn't have seat belts. If I were to be in an accident there is absolutely no way I would want to get into one in the '55 Ford. For starters, as mentioned there is hardly any protection for the driver. Secondly, the dash is made out of metal. 3rd it has a giant, HARD steering wheel with a chrome medallion in the center. Lastly, there are no crumple zones to absorb the impact.
You want to also hear something ironic? A lot of people always see my car and say- " Wow, that car must weigh 5 tons!" Would you believe that a Camry weighs More than my '55? Yes - it's true. Mainly because other than the frame and the body, there isn't much else. No inner body structural safety reinforcement, no safety equipment. No nothing. So much for the argument that modern cars are " puny". Truth is that my '55 is in fact the puny car, and so too can that be said for a lot of older body on frame vehicles.
I'm not saying that modern body on frame vehicles are not also safe... but the argument that unibody cars aren't equally safe is false. Back in the 50's and 60's, the selling point of cars was getting something BIG and also getting something that had a lot of horsepower. Today a major selling point is safety. Car companies put a lot of effort into that area. That means the same level of safety has to be delivered in the entire product lineup.
Anyway, I think we can put this whole conversation to bed. It's clear it's going nowhere.