How Buick Works

1990s Buick Roadmaster

Spacious and well-equipped, the 1993 Buick Roadmaster sold fairly well.

In its quest to strengthen its position in the 1990s, in 1991 Buick introduced the first Roadmaster in 35 years. It was only that year's restyled Chevy Caprice in Buick dress, built on the same rear-drive B-body chassis from '77.

But this new "Roadie" was big, spacious, and well-equipped in the best tradition of full-size Detroiters. In other words, it was a lot of car for the money, considering it was cheaper than the smaller, more efficient front-drive Park Avenue.

An Estate wagon bowed first with fake-wood siding, eight-passenger seating, handy two-way tailgate with separate lift-up window, and a $21,500 price tag.

Six-passenger standard and Limited sedans followed for '92 in the $22,000-$24,000 range. That same year, the base 170-hp 5.0-liter V-8 was bolstered by a much torquier 5.7-liter option.

The '94s could run close to $27,000, but they also ran with a standard 350 LT1 V-8 from Chevy's latest Corvette sports car, though in low-stress, 260-bhp tune. Car and Driver clocked one at 7.8 seconds 0-60, but pulling power, not sheer acceleration, was the name of this game -- as in towing trailers and boats.

The reborn Roadmaster pulled a fair number of customers, all things considered: a best of 85,500 for '92, 30,000 to 40,000 for 1993-95. Though that wasn't much compared to the levels of 10 and 20 years before, each sale was almost pure gravy, as the elderly platform and other major components had been paid for long ago.

But the Roadmaster would die after '96 to make room for more-profitable sport-utility vehicle production at the Arlington, Texas, factory that also built the Caprice. Like Reatta, the '90s Roadmaster served a purpose, but it was clearly a car of Buick's past, not its future.

For more on the amazing Buick, old and new, check these out:

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