Buick Roadmaster Origins
The Buick Roadmaster has a long and checkered history. The car model was a staple of the Buick family from 1936 to 1958 and was then reintroduced in 1991, running to 1996 when the model was finally discontinued. In the beginning, the Roadmaster was a top-of-the-line model for the company. The Roadmaster was also the first car to have the Riviera name attached to it, before the Riviera had its own model.About the Buick Roadmaster
The original Roadmaster cars are known for their luxurious trimmings and elegance of design. The 1930s and 1940s cars will be familiar to those who have watched a gangster film or two. The hardtops and convertibles with large front grilles were the height of class on the road.Buick Roadmaster Evolution
The first Roadmaster appeared in the 1936 model year, when the entire Buick line was given names to reflect the perfection of their new engineering. The Series 80 car made by Buick in 1936 was named the Roadmaster. It was a huge vehicle, weighing in at 4098 pounds. The rounded metal behind the front tires, the runner along the bottom of the vehicle, the hardtop, and long body are easy to recognize. The first generation was discontinued in 1937.
A longer hood was introduced on the 1938 model, as well as new hubcaps and taller bumper guards. This model had coil springs instead of leaf springs, which made the ride smoother. The "waterfall" grill can also be found on this model.
The Series 80 car was renamed the Limited in 1940, so the Roadmaster name was transferred to the Series 70 model, new to the Buick line. The hood is curved further, giving the entire car a "torpedo" shape. The engine inside the unit is also redesigned, the new models giving out 165 hp. Buick also offers a two-door convertible version.
The Roadmaster received a fresh design during the 1942 to 1948 model years. The car featured airfoil fenders that trace the side of the car all the way to the back fenders, creating a "futuristic" look. After the war, the 1948 model introduced the revolutionary torque convertor transmission called the Dynaflow.
1949 was the year of a drastic redesign for the Roadmaster. The standard Roadmaster became curvier all around. Buick also introduced an Estate Wagon model as a precursor to the contemporary station wagon. A two-door Riviera Coupe was introduced as well, the first car to use the name. The coupe is stylish and flamboyant, showcasing the postwar attitude. A very flashy convertible, the Skylark, was also added to the line. The cars of this time also came with V-8 engines, making them power performers.
The sixth generation was introduced in 1954. The body was changed to fit the General Motors C-body, which was sweeping the car world at the time. The C-body provided greater stability and makes the car safer to drive. The horsepower in these vehicles also increased during this period to 236 hp, making it one of the more powerful vehicles on the road.
The seventh generation ran from 1957 to 1958. It has the Sweepspear flourish, a curved line running down the side of the car. New suspension improves the car’s handling and a new engine produces 300 hp. The design was changed again in 1958 before the line’s name was changed.
The car was reintroduced in 1991. A B-body station wagon replaced the Estate. This came with the popular fake wood-grain finish running down the side of the vehicle. A four-door sedan is also available, which lacks the style and muscle of the seventh generation predecessor. The car was discontinued in 1996 due to poor sales and changing tastes in the market.
If you are looking for a classic car with instantly recognizable styling, the old Buick Roadmaster is a great choice. Fully restored models can be very pricey, so unless you have very deep pockets you may wish to start with a fixer upper and try your hand at some mechanics. The cheap Roadmasters of the 1990s have many problems. The new electronic transmissions are untested and have several glitches. It is best to stick with the older models if you can afford the price.