Curbside Capsule: Buick Roadmaster – Flint’s Last Land Yacht


(first posted 6/2/2014)    This Buick a rarity, not in that it is a Roadmaster, but in that it is unmolested. There are plenty of Roadmasters in Memphis, but most of them seem to have been donked, and usually appear to be one breakdown away from appearing as fodder in the local pick-a-part’s lineup.


This one appears to have led a small town life before heading to the big city. I did some research on Huebner Motors in Pittsburg, KS, and it does look like they sold all five main GM makes.


Of course, that sort of situation was uncommon, but makes a good example of all the internal competition the Roadmaster faced. Not only could you find the same car dressed in more aero, but much less tasteful (to my eyes) clothing as the Caprice on the same lot or a super-sized Cadillac version, but you also couldn’t option up what was advertised as Buick’s biggest car as much as some buyers wanted, lest it top its smaller but more prestigious sibling, the front-drive Park Avenue. The LeSabre also crowded it from below, giving the Roadmaster a very narrow slice of the pie. It was pretty much meant as Grandpa’s last car, since he wouldn’t get in no gosh-darned front wheel drive contraption unless it were a hearse, and even then, he might contrive to fall out the back.


Another reason for the Roadmaster was that it could tow a useful amount, which was somewhat ironic, given that it was cancelled so another factory could be converted to pickups and SUVs. I wonder how many folks cruising around in a Broughamtasitc pick-’em-up would be happier, in say a modern day Park Avenue, like you can get in China?


In the era of the ‘New’ GM, such things as re-badges are verboten. The Enclave offers essentially the same towing capacity (4500 vs 5000 lbs for a Roadmaster Estate), and if you really want a V-8, I’m sure the salesperson will more than happy to write you up for a Sierra or Yukon Denali. But, if you want a Buick land yacht, your ship has sailed, unless you want to find a Caprice PPV and engage in some D-I-Y badge engineering.