Lust Object of the Day: 1942 Buick Roadmaster Sedanet – American-Style Streamliner

As you know, I’ve got a real thing for streamliners. Preferably a Tatra, the mother of the genre, at least in terms of production cars. But in a pinch, a good old American streamliner would satisfy quite nicely. Especially so this 1942 Buick Roadmaster Sedanet fastback, with its endlessly-long hood ensconcing its big 320 cubic inch straight eight. Quite the contrast to a T87 with its air-cooled rear 2.5 L V8, but there’s something to be said for this more conventional configuration:

Like: I want.

For reference’s sake, here the T87. Like so many things European, it’s a bit more practical and space efficient. But there are times when such considerations are best thrown into the slipstream.

The original T77 was already nine years old when the new 1942 big GM cars arrived, with the most advanced styling in the land. 1942 was not exactly a good year to introduce a totally new car, as the tooling would all-too soon have to go into storage for the duration of the war.

And after being dusted off and reinstalled on the factory floor, it would serve all the way through 1948, as Buick did not use the new 1948 C-Body that Olds and Cadillac did until one year later, a bit of a mystery. But it was still looking mighty fine then, as this body was one of the best ever to come out of GM, and aged very well.

Only the two-door sedanet came in the fastback style.

Ever wonder what trunks in these were like? I did. And now I know. Not terribly capacious, but folks tended to pack pretty lightly back then.

Forget the trunk; the other end is where it’s at. The clamshell hood is open to expose the big 320 inch Buick Fireball straight eight, with compound carburation for extra zip at higher speeds. That was standard on the big eight, and optional on the small 248 inch unit in the Special. Power was stated at 165 hp @3800 rpm and torque was 278 ft.lbs @2200 rpm. That was a very healthy figure for 1942, equaled only by the larger 356 ci big Packard.

a track in upstate New York

One of the more deeply etched memories involves seeing one of these big Buick fastbacks in an unlikely place: a dirt track stock car race. It was a warm summer evening in 1973, and a GF and I drove up to Mt. Vernon to a classic old dirt track oval to catch the races, something that every once in a while I would indulge in. The only car that I remember clearly was this big Buick fastback and its bellowing straight eight. I was almost shocked to see it out there on the track, such a big car mixing it up with smaller ones.

Did it ever win? Against the hot tri-five Chevys that dominated? Of course not. But it and its driver put up a hell of a fight, and its uniqueness, both in looks and sound, made it utterly unforgettable. I can see it in front of me now…

That endeared me to these big beasts forever, as if that needed doing. A Big Buick, no matter how old, was still something to command interest and respect 25-30 years later. And today.

Can’t forget to show its sumptuous interior. High quality materials through and through.

And I love how this For Sale ad at Mecum includes a shot to the rear, where the long flowing roof and rear window are made very visible, unlike the traffic behind the car itself. Not a problem; the Buick could outrun 99% of it anyway.

The 1942 ushered in this new front end style that became a trademark for the brand for quite a few years. I rather prefer this simpler style of the original, as it got a bit heavy handed with time.

I need to run; preferably in this Buick.


Images from an expired Mecum sales ad.