Digestible Collectible: 1996 Buick Roadmaster

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1996 buick roadmaster

It’s an election year. In theory, media outlets should be doing everything in their power to ensure equal time for all candidates, lest a bias influence voters on the public airwaves.

Well, I’ve come to expose a bias here at TTAC, and to demand equal time for a car not getting equal airtime to a beloved competitor. That candidate is the General Motors B-Body. TTAC certainly loves the Panther, but to completely ignore the big GM platform simply isn’t fair.

I certainly could have tracked down an Impala SS for this feature, but I love wagons and so do you. I’m also planning an autumn road trip to visit a mouse, so the extra cargo room would be welcome.

About seven years ago, a second dependent took up residence in the living area attached to my garage, forcing the sale of my beloved Sentra SE-R for something with an accommodating back seat. The Ford dealer down the street had a clone of this 1996 Buick Roadmaster on the lot, taunting me daily on my commute. It sold the day before my Sentra did.

As I’ve trolled the web searching for cars, it seems a disproportionate number of these big wagons have remarkably low miles. For example, this one only shows 67,000 miles, which is quite low for a 20-year-old Buick. It’s not quite concours quality, but it looks stunning.

Is the dreaded Optispark distributor to blame for its lack of moment for years? At this point, I don’t think the unreliable dizzy is a problem, as the aftermarket has developed fixes. This looks like a great, if thirsty, family cruiser. $10,750 is more than I’d comfortably spend, but this is clean enough to justify the price.

If only Ford had restyled the Panther-based wagon in the ’90s …

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2 of 86 comments
  • Frylock350 Frylock350 on Jan 12, 2016

    I had a Chevy Caprice B-body wagon and I'd give anything to have a new one. I'd buy this if I had the cash lying around. I loved that wagon! An E-class wagon is NOT a replacement for this it can't hold a candle to offering the utility this wagon did. The only true modern replacement is a Suburban.

  • MyoNen MyoNen on Nov 26, 2017

    Ok where to start. My Granny had the 1996 version it's one of the greatest cars ever made... Exhibit (1) season 1 episode 5 top gear America "beater boot camp" It will swallow 4x8 sheets of plywood like they are nothing The rearward facing 3rd row rules, and it can tow a boat without complaint. The sedan version is actually a different platform which is why they look so different Now to the downsides Speed limited to 110mph total BS. Self leveling air ride suspension fails early and often but is easily swapped out for the leaf springs from the Caprice or Impala. Shit for fuel economy. I would love to see GM buy Wrightspeed and apply their power train to this car and bring it back to the modern era

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?