1992 Buick Roadmaster

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This is the last American station wagon of the old school. Under the hood of this flagship was installed the biggest, available for Buick engine of that time. It may come as a surprise to some, but the production of the eighth generation Roadmaster ’91 began with a station wagon, while the production of the sedan was launched in ’92. From ’91 to ’96, 200,919 of these cars were produced. Sedans and station wagons were sold in the ratio 3/1. The most of these cars were produced in ’92, – 70 731 copies. But gradually, despite the high practicality and not too high, as for such a huge car, the demand was falling.

The Crown Victoria sold much better, and in fact Ford from ’91 did not even offered a large, full-size station wagon. Perhaps such a decision was due to the release of the first generation Explorer, which, together with cars such as Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Ford Expedition, released a little later, drew away customers who want to buy a roomy and practical car for the family. However, this did not interfere with sales of the roadmaster’s compatriot, the Chevrolet Caprice. The latter for the same period of time was released in circulation of 680 thousand cars. In addition to the Caprice, the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser was the Roadmaster’s equal-interest vehicle. All three cars used the B-Body platform, which included a frame, rear-wheel drive, and a big V8.

In this generation, the 1992 Buick Roadmaster was the last car under that name. Notably, by ’91, the ’33 Buick did not produce the Roadmaster. Thus, GM resurrected the name, but not for too long.
Everybody understands that the essence of this Buick is huge, spacious interior and comfort, especially if we speak about a station wagon. Hardly anyone who bought the flagship model from Buick, counted on sharp, steering, or the absence of roll in the corners. In addition, today such a car is bought to get the experience of driving a classic, American car. But there is another category of Roadmaster connoisseurs. These are the people who value not only comfort, but also reliability along with ease of maintenance. Such people, as a rule, are well versed in cars and choose a big sedan from Buick consciously.

For them, the presence under the hood of the Roadmaster LT1 engine known from the fourth generation Corvette is important. Such owners appreciate the large amount of free space under the hood, because it makes it easier to repair and maintain the car. And sometimes this car is chosen by car repairmen, or shop owners, because they know the Buick won’t bring big problems.

1992 Buick Roadmaster Sale and Price.

A new, flagship sedan from Buick in the early ’90s could be bought for $20,000. Even in the high-end configuration, the car cost $24,000. Which was about half the price of cars like the Lincoln Town Car, or Cadillac Deville. The new flagship from Buick came with a three year, or 60,000 mile, warranty.
Today you can buy a 1992 Buick Roadmaster for $10,000 in good condition and with about 150,000 miles on it. Remarkably, in the early 2000s, cars with three times less mileage could be purchased for $3,000. Even today, these Buicks are not seen on the roads as often and so the value of such cars will only grow with time.

Exterior styling and photos.

You might have seen Roadmaster station wagons whose side panels were styled with wood. Of course, this is not real wood, but the vinyl, but it is a reference to the vintage Buick during the Second World War. The fact is that during wartime, despite the huge U.S. industry, all steel went to military equipment. Civilian cars were equipped with wooden body panels, to save steel, but to make the car.

As we said, the Roadmaster was a frame car and was available in two body types. The station wagon was significantly longer than sedan, at 5990mm and 5481mm respectively. Wheelbase was 115.4d (2944mm). Curb weight of the station wagon is 2130kg, while the sedan’s curb weight is 1842kg. In 80s and even 90s, when the era of off-road had not yet arrived, many bought such trucks as a tractor-trailer. The Roadmaster was equipped with a towing package and could tow a trailer weighing 3180 kg. And the price of this package was only $325.

On the roof of the station wagon can be seen the additional rails for luggage, which should improve the ability to carry loads. The rear of the sedan’s roof, including the roof pillars and glass frame, could be vinyl wrapped. A rectangular stripe could be noticed on the rear pillar of the sedan. It was supposed to resemble the portholes on American sedans of the past decades, and on the Roadmaster from as early as ’49. The muffler on the station wagon is on the side, behind the rear right wheel. This solution gives the car a resemblance to a truck, or a large SUV. The sedan mufflers are traditionally located under the rear bumper.

The rear fender of both the sedan and the station wagon bears the Roadmaster emblem. The sedan’s rear fenders cover the wheels, a reference to previous decades’ cars as well. Beneath the side moldings, the Buick is decorated with a wide, chromed overlay. The gas tank hatch is located at the rear, behind the license plate. Notably, there are rubber pads on the back of the hatch, which should cushion the closure after refueling.
The Roadmaster came with a variety of wheel covers. In the photo you can see the hubcaps that cover the bolts of the cast wheels. This type of hubcaps has the name of the model. Buick could be equipped with large chrome hubcaps, which imitated the spoked wheels.
Externally, it is a big, classic American-style sedan. Yes – it was technically obsolete when it came out, but that’s what attracted most of those who bought this car. After all, it was reliable, had a huge service life, and was easy to repair.

Interior and equipment.

Of course, in such a car, the gearshift could only be paddle. Salon by the way the car is designed for 8 people, 3 people can sit on the front sofa, 3 more on the second row sofa and two on the third row sofa in the trunk (to the latter we will return a little later). Buick’s steering wheel rim at the top and bottom is covered in leather. It is noteworthy that all plastic parts, including the ducts of the heating system, are painted in the color of the interior.

In some versions, there is no tachometer among the instruments, apparently Buick thought that this is not the Honda S2000 and there is no need to monitor the revs. But in this modification there are additional gradations on the instrument scale at 55 and 65 miles. Obviously, Buick thought that this will be the main, speed mode on the highway.

The wood used in the cabin trim is actually a stylized wood plastic. On the insert imitation wood, located in front of the front passenger, there is an inscription with the name of the car – Roadmaster. It’s noteworthy that at that time a similar technique was used in Ford, so sitting in the passenger seat you could easily see the inscription Crown Victoria, or Town Car if you were in Lincoln. Probably it was done for a casual passenger to know exactly what car he was in. While inside the Roadmaster you will notice that there are no traditional door handles, the tight straps are used for them – you can see it in the picture. You can see GM emblems on the ignition switches.

The steering wheel is adjusted manually, there is no pedal adjustment, still it is not a Lincoln, or Cadillac. Although a little later, this adjustment became available for Ford SUVs. Optionally, the front seats could be equipped with an electric drive. So the driver’s seat could be adjusted in 12 directions. The cushion height could be adjusted regardless of the height of the backrest. The car was equipped with climate and cruise control, heated seats and mirrors.

According to many reviews of Buick owners, we can conclude that in spite of its age, all of this equipment continues to work properly today.

In the photo you can notice the sunroof over the second row sofa. Today it is unusual in that it has a convex shape and it does not move in any way. It is essentially a transparent roof element. In case the sun seems too bright, the sunroof can be covered with two blinds. Depending on the equipment level, the rear sofa back can be equipped with an armrest. However, the backrests have no headrests, which is not too good in case of an accident. There are ashtrays in the doors.

The luggage compartment arouses the most interest. We would like to tell that the trunk lid can be opened up and down; there are two different levers for this. But to get to these levers, you must first press the button to open the door, the rear door window will open slightly and under it are these levers. Lowering the 5th door downwards it can be used as a picnic seat. However, to get out of the third row, it is necessary to wait until someone opens the door from the street.

Another peculiarity of the roadmaster car is that the seat of the third row is installed with its back to the sofa of the second row. That is, people sitting on the third row look backwards. Today such a solution seems very unusual. This, unusual sofa is equipped with lumbar-type safety belts. Of course they are less effective than traditional types of belts, but it’s better than nothing.

In the photo you can notice the small, ventilation slots that extend. They come in handy here, as the third-row windows don’t go down. In the sedan, the full-size spare tire is in a special cover, just on the trunk floor. In the wagon, the spare tire is hidden under the plastic trim on the right side. The sedan’s luggage compartment is equipped with a luggage retention net.

Engine and specifications of Buick Roadmaster.

From the very beginning, the flagship from Buick was equipped with a five-liter V8 L03 from Chevrolet. This engine produced 170 horsepower. Today, many people say that this is not enough, but we should remember the “sick era” of American engines had just ended, and in ’91, 170 hp was a decent output.
A little bit later the L05 engine with the cubic capacity of 5.7 liters and 180 horsepower came along. Thus, with the increase in displacement of 0.7 liters the Buick received only 10 horsepower. Expressing dissatisfaction with this fact, some even remembered a car called Daewoo Matis. This compact car was equipped with a three-cylinder 0.8 liter engine and developed about 40 horsepower. The maximum horsepower of 180 was reached at 4,000 rpm, and 407Nm of torque was available at 4,000 rpm. The compression ratio of 9.8:1 was very high by American auto standards.

All Roadmaster engines ran with a four-speed, automatic transmission. Until ’94, it was a hydraulically controlled 4L60. After ’94, the electronic controlled transmission 4L60E was introduced.
The most revered among Roadmaster fans is the LT1 engine, known to many from the Corvette. Despite the different intake system and some other changes, this unit produced 260 horsepower and 424Nm of torque with a displacement of 5.7 liters. At the same time the LT1 was more economical than the less powerful V8 5.7. Maximum speed of Buick with LT1 engine was 174 km/h.
The LT1 engine is considered a very reliable unit. But its peculiarity is that the ignition distributors are not on top, as is the case with most engines, but on the front engine cover, near the pump. If the water pump begins to leak, the ignition system immediately suffers. Another feature of the LT1 engine is that the water pump is driven by the timing chain. This solution increases the overall reliability of the car, but replacing the pump becomes more difficult. Otherwise, it is a very reliable and resourceful, power unit. A big plus of Buick is that in spite of the big engine, there is a lot of space in the engine compartment for convenient engine maintenance and repair.
According to the photo you can notice that the hood is supported by two gas shock absorbers. The alternator and air conditioner compressor are top-mounted for easy servicing. The cooling system radiator is blown by two electric fans.
The rear suspension is dependent on springs. Some vehicles were fitted with air suspension which was not adjustable from the cockpit, but maintained the same ground clearance at all times, regardless of load. This option was called Dynaride, and the trucks equipped with it have a corresponding inscription below the dash.
The front brakes are disc brakes and the rear are drum brakes. The fuel tank is made of plastic, which is a plus today, because it will not rust.
The towing package includes a limited slip differential and optional oil and transmission radiator.

This is a representative of the old, American school of automotive engineering. Although this car was produced in the first half of the 90’s, but with its technical solutions it goes back to the 60’s. This is a strong, maintainable and with a very long service life, the car. Certainly, it cannot be called economical, but those who want to buy a Roadmaster today, will hardly be able to refuse their favorite car.

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