CC Capsule: 1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt


I am such a wussbag.

I’ve always had irrational lust for the final B-body wagons. I can’t tell whether I like the Chevy Caprices best for their clean lines or the Buick Roadmasters for their sheer audacity. (I can take or leave the Olds Custom Cruisers.) I see a lot more Roadmasters on the road than Caprices, though. Such was the case a few months ago when I was in Terre Haute; as I headed for home I spotted this Buick Roadmaster wagon in a parking lot with a big For Sale sign in the window. Of course I pulled over for a look. And of course I didn’t buy it. Because I’m a wussbag.


Did this one ever look cherry. And it wasn’t white, like most of the ones I see still on the road. I think this is Medium Adriatic Blue Metallic, and this Roadmaster wears it very well. And look, none of the plasti-wood is peeling. I would have loved to hear its LT1 V8 burble.


This bent Collector’s Edition hood ornament was the only cosmetic flaw I could find on the car. It told me that I was looking at a ’96 Roadmaster, from the last year they were built. All ’96 Roadmasters wore this swan-song hood ornament.


As I looked it over, my mind started right in on the usual litany: “Where would you put it? You already own two cars and the biggest of those, a little Toyota, almost doesn’t fit in your tiny one-car garage. And how would you get it home from Terre Haute? You’d want your mechanic to look it over before you buy it anyway, and he’s all the way back in Indianapolis. You don’t know anything about what gremlins this car may hold. It’ll probably be a money pit. And the owner probably wants too much for it and won’t negotiate. And as soon as you buy it, something will go wrong with the house or one of the other cars and you’ll wish you had this money back. Or you’d come upon a better deal on a car you want more. No, it’s best to just pass this one right on by.”


I hate my mind sometimes. So I snapped my pictures and drove on home. It showed up on Craigslist a couple months later with a $3,500 price tag, which seemed like a grand too much.


Oh, look: Here’s another Roadmaster wagon, this time a ’92, on my local Craigslist for just $2,500. Check out those dog-dishy hubcaps. And isn’t that Save the Whales sticker a cute touch?

Sigh. Let the wussbaggy litany in my mind begin anew.