I have seen the future, and this Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon’s will be in Berlin or somewhere else outside of the U.S. A German diplomatic license plate adorns this Roadmaster, and its owner not only went to the trouble of buying a 20-year-old station wagon, but also made the effort to track down one in prime condition: no rust, no dents, all trim pieces present, straight and clean with slightly faded paint and a few stickers on its plastiwood, all of which should respond well to a good cleaning. Such cars are not easily found, and this effort by a German diplomat living in the U.S. for a limited term says unequivocally that he or she is a fan of American cars. It also strongly suggests that the owner will take the car to Germany or a foreign capital, making it another American classic moving overseas.
Many will lament that yet another American classic will be disappearing overseas, following the many thousands that have migrated to Germany, Sweden, and other countries in Europe during recent years. I am not one of them, though; aside from being a small export win for the U.S., foreign demand for these cars tells the American public that they were worthy vehicles that should be preserved instead of dying gradual deaths as cheap beaters. I do hope that domestic demand for them increases before Europeans buy all of good examples cheaply.
Another reason not to be bothered by the departure of American classics overseas is that the process happens in reverse as well, demonstrated by the presence of this car parked only one block away from the Roadmaster. This European specification W123-chassis Mercedes-Benz 230E is either very nicely restored or an exceptionally well preserved 30+ year old survivor. In Europe, it would be a nice but not especially interesting old Mercedes, available for a modest price. Here, it is unusual and interesting, and its owner probably paid a premium that its next owner will be happy to pay as well. The same happens to every Roadmaster, Caprice, or LTD that goes overseas. Perhaps one day Americans will go to Europe to re-import them, as Brits do with Jaguars and Austin-Healeys and Americans do with World War II Jeeps and Harley-Davidsons.