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.
Swedish B-Body Team — GM Full Size Wagons in Stockholm
1972 Ford LTD Sold To Germany — The Europeans Are Buying Our CC Jewels On The Cheap While We Buy Their Overpriced Junk
Two beauties, two different design philosophies. I really like the Mercedes, but those big GM wagons speak to me as well.
That Buick reminds me of a tasteless wooden sideboard on wheels.Buffet for those with word problems.
Could the Mercedes have the same owner as the Buick? Considering the proximity? German diplomat brings Mercedes to the states, takes Roadmaster with him on the way back home?
I don’t think it’s restored, I think it’s a very well preserved original. That paintjob looks like color code 881 “Silberdistel”, or perhaps 861 “Silbergrün”. It’s difficult to tell them apart. But the metallics was not on the standard palette of color choices, I think they were an option. Though many of the higher end-W123:s came with metallic, so perhaps it was standard on them? 230E:s and 280E:s. The point is, metallics are very difficult to respray to the exact same hue, and that paintjob looks exactly like a factory job.
For those who are so inclined, there’s a German site for W123:s, with a palette with all the color choices and matching pictures.
I doubt that the Buick and the Mercedes have the same owner; although within a block of each other, the two cars were parked in very different places. The Buick was parked in a mass of parked cars right around the corner from an elementary school in mid-afternoon, suggesting that it was visiting on a school run, while the Mercedes was in the middle of a residential street that was mostly empty. Only a block apart in distance, but apparently a world away from each other.
Thank you for the information about the metallic green color, which I was thinking about. I can remember seeing that Mercedes color only once, on a 1980s 560SL, so I figured that it was a high-end color when new and unusual-looking enough to be rarely ordered when new and is even rarer today.
No lamenting here, I have tried to like these but I just can’t. Always seemed like the mother ship coming to retrieve the little ‘uns.
While I can appreciate the Buick for being the last of the RWD cars from Buick, for all their size the rear seats were extremely uncomfortable — the cushions were low to the floor and very short. GM was up to its old tricks to make the rear seat area look more commodious.
Hey, that looks like Jerseyfred’s old car. Interesting that it’s going to Germany, and not one of the Schandinavian countries.
Except mine was a white 93. I think the one Robert found is a 94. I believe the color was called light driftwood metallic. Later in my COAL series, I acquire a dark cherry metallic 95 Roadmaster wagon
One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing on this type of post is a Related Reading link to COAL posts of similar cars, such as Jerseyfred’s wagon.
Hopefully those Christmas Lights on the Buick will come off without ruining the faux wood.
Nice old Road Barge ~ I too am glad it’s going to be loved instead of scrapped and shipped to China for making more crap we don’t need .
That W-123 230E has U.S. Spec bumpers on it making me wonder if it’s a Canadian direct import . the weeny 4 cylinder gasoline engine was seriously over taxed in a four door sedan , even the Coupes sold so equipped were turtles .
The bumpers were the non-US small units. The camera angle makes them look larger than they really were.
I have never driven a W123 other than a few US-market diesels, but I talked to the owner of a gray market 230E manual years ago and he said that it actually performed quite well, since it had no smog controls and a manual transmission. He said it was comparable to a US-market 280E automatic in performance (not a rocket, but adequate), but with much better economy.
I looked at the green Mercedes-Benz more closely. The bumpers indicate this car is 1982-1985 European model. Another clue is the front turn signal indicator: European version is more ‘orange’ while US version has lighter shade of amber and compulsory retroreflexive element on the side.
The W123 was updated in 1982 with black rubber covers on the side of slender bumpers to resemble more like ‘meaty’ US bumpers. The update did away with rust-prone three-piece chrome bumpers (see the cover stripes in pre-1982 photo below). The rectangular headlamps originally fitted to 280/280E became standard equipment across the board, discarding the round headlamps.
European version (pre-1982 update):
European version (post-1982 update):
That Roadmaster looks identical to the one my uncle once owned, except for the stickers. His was a very nice car for the time, and this one is still a nice car today even at age 20.
I do love the color on that Mercedes! Like the Euro lamps too, even if the car may or may not be US-spec.
W115-123-124-201. Still available in almost endless quantities, Europe-wide. A lot of them in a well preserved / maintained original condition, rarely restored. They’re still too common for that. Be prepared though that most of them have a D on the trunk lid.
€ 10,000 to € 15,000 for a (very) good one, any of the models I mentioned. Visit any classic car show and there are a few dozens of them in a row. I would buy one though from an experienced Benz specialist, with a complete documented history.
Like this man, with some nice old Benzes in stock:
Excellent US pony- and muscle cars, fully restored, do around € 40,000 here. And well preserved / maintained land yachts about the same prices as the Benzes I mentioned above.
Here’s a nice one, a fully original (unrestored) 1973 W115 200 gasoline automatic. (Photo Marco Hof)
Emotions set aside, this is just business. Global trading, import-export, question and demand. The kind of business that has been going on for hundreds of years. You’ve got something I want and I have the cash. Or something else that you want.
I clicked on the link and looked over what the dealer was offering and saw some very nice and fast looking wagons. There was also a 190E with 2.3 engine that caught my attention But no 500E sedans from the nineties (?). The 500E has become one of my favorites. Very few were imported Into Canada. Sometimes Euro spec Mercedes show up for sale on the Internet here. If only I had the money…
Something like this ?
Marco Hof (see W115 200 above) is another dealer with a nice collection.
Stock list: http://500e.nl/voorraad/
Was this the last RWD woody?
AFAICT, yes. It outlasted the Grand Cherokee-based Jeep Grand Wagoneer (1993 only) by 3 years.
Thanks for that info
There was a woody version of the PT Cruiser for the first couple of years, and as that car came out for the 2001 model year, it probably is the ‘last woody’. Not RWD, though, so the Buick probably still holds that title.
Very cool! I guess there are some Germans who like American cars as much as many Americans like German cars. As much as there is to dislike about the bloated beached whale B-body wagons, there is something inherently awesome about these Roadmasters. There aren’t many cars that quite seem befitting of the title, “Master of the Road”.
the mirrors and wheels mark the roady as a 91-93 model year
94s had those mirrors also. Change came in 95
If classics or any other valuable artifacts get distributed very wide it improves the odds that one of them is surviving. Disaster can strike anywhere. In Britain a National motorcycle museum burnt down destroying an unbelievable treasure. The oldest Toyota was found not in Japan but in Vladivostok. All that matters is that the vehicle is appreciated where it is at any given time.
The history behind the oldest known surviving Toyota must be quite interesting. Since it was produced and sold only in the Empire of Japan and ended up in Russia, my educated guess is that its original owner was a Japanese VIP or industrialist in Manchuria/Manchukuo, or someone in the Manchukuo puppet regime under “Last Emperor” Pu-Yi, and the Soviet Army took it as a spoil of war when it invaded and occupied Manchuria.
I enjoyed that story about the oldest Toyota..I never knew that. Vladivostok of all places!
I don’t how you come up with the car is going to Germany just because it has diplomatic plates………. it just means it is being used by a diplomat here, thats all.