After a lengthy search of many months, I’ve found a station wagon that’s in decent enough condition to be worth saving! To the left is the sellers photo of the 1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon that I hope to purchase. I went to have a look at the car a couple of weeks ago and it looks pretty good. The car is up for sale by the executor of the estate of an elderly gentleman who has recently passed away. I made an offer and I’m waiting to hear if we can reach a deal. For those of you who don’t know a great deal about these gorgeous cars let me fill you in a little. The ’90’s era B-Body wagons made by General Motors are really the last of the full sized station wagons. Models like this one were made from 1991 through to 1996 as the Buick Roadmaster, the Chevrolet Caprice, and the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. The 1994-1996 Buick Roadmasters sport a 350 cubic inch (5.7L) V8 engine that isn’t terribly dissimilar to the engine in the Corvette of the time period and it delivers a whopping 260 horsepower. Whatever you may think of it’s outward appearance, this is NOT your grandma’s grocery getter!
From the 1950’s through the 1970’s, station wagons were extremely common sights on North American roads. These massive and luxurious cars symbolized the ability of families to take to the roads. A family vacation meant lengthy trips in these wonderful cars. Many wagons came with options specifically designed for long trips. Features like gaming tables in the rear cargo area, or rooftop tents were not at all uncommon. As cars began to get smaller in an effort to become more fuel efficient, these beautiful cars became undesirable and were eventually replaced by mini-van’s and SUV’s. Frankly, in a direct comparison, the station wagons of old often have more cargo capacity and better fuel economy that their successors. The cargo bay that is shown above is of a sufficient size to hold 4’x8′ sheets of drywall with the tailgate closed. Today’s station wagons are but pale imitations of their glorious ancestors and many automotive enthusiasts are once again seeking these cars out in an effort to drive something different. Current wagons are much smaller than they’ve ever been in the past, mini-vans are often cheaply made and not terribly pleasing to the eye and SUV’s rarely have decent fuel economy and aren’t nearly as functional as they could be. The station wagon fits many of the needs of today’s drivers just as it has in the past and does so with a certain inimitable style. Unfortunately, for most people these cars are not the epitome of style and class and any station wagons that weren’t worked to death are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Station wagon enthusiasts are a passionate bunch and take great joy in rescuing these rolling monoliths from being scrapped or destroyed in demolition derbies. Take a wander over to www.stationwagonforums.com or the GM Longroof Forums and listen to how devoted the enthusiasts there are about these cars. It gives an automotive geek a warm heart to know that there are still so many people willing to preserve such a substantial piece of history.
My very first car was a station wagon, albeit a much smaller one than this and I’ve always remembered it fondly. My hope is to purchase and restore this beauty to it’s former glory and proudly drive it for as long as possible. While she’s in great shape, there are definitely many secrets lurking within the nooks and crannies of this monster. Gradually I plan to find all of them and get them addressed. As I have new information to share, I’ll post it here as a log of how everything comes together. All I need now is for the seller to return my call and reach a deal!