Buick Roadmaster

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Buick Series 80
Buick Roadmaster Series 80
Buick Roadmaster Series 70
Buick Roadmaster Series 75
Buick Roadmaster
Production period: 1931-1996
Class : upper middle class
Body versions : Touring car , limousine , station wagon , coupé , convertible
Previous model: Buick series 129
Successor: Buick Electra

The Buick Roadmaster was a series of passenger cars manufactured by Buick as the successor to the 129 series in the United States from 1931 to 1933 and 1936 to 1958 .

Until 1933 the series was only called "Series 80", from 1936 the name Roadmaster was added. From 1940 the Roadmaster was called "Series 70", with the Series 80 being reserved for a few limited companies .

In 1957 and 1958 there were also better equipped Roadmaster models from the 75 series . Another Roadmaster was built from 1991 to 1996, although it did not have a serial number.

Series 80 (1931–1933)

1st generation
Buick 87 4-door Sedan (1932)

Buick 87 4-door Sedan (1932)

Production period: 1931-1933
Body versions : Touring car , limousine , coupé , convertible
Engines: Petrol engines :
5.65 liters
(76-83 kW)
Wheelbase : 3150-3302 mm
Empty weight : 1866-2050 kg

From the spring of 1931 Buick offered his superclass Model Series 80 with the large in-line eight cylinder engine of the top model Limited with 5650 cc capacity and a maximum power of 104 horsepower (76 kW) at 2800 min -1 to. At 3150 mm, the wheelbase was slightly smaller than the Limited. There were only two bodies: a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan, available in the classic style of the early 1930s.

In the following year, the wheelbase grew to 3200 mm and a "high-performance motor" with 113 hp (83 kW) was available on request.

In 1933 the appearance of the car was extensively redesigned. The radiator grille was given a slightly backward sloping slightly V-shape, the fenders were given a more elegant curve, the bonnet had three large vertical ventilation flaps on each side and the car was slightly lower. The wheelbase increased to 3302 mm and the "high-performance engine" was no longer required. In addition to the two bodies from previous years, there was also a two-door convertible and a four-door Phaeton.

From the end of 1933, the 80 series was no longer manufactured. In three years, 24,117 copies were made.

Roadmaster Series 80 (1936–1939)

2nd generation
Buick Roadmaster 80C Phaeton Cabriolet (1938)

Buick Roadmaster 80C Phaeton Cabriolet (1938)

Production period: 1936-1939
Body versions : Touring car , limousine
Engines: Petrol engines :
5.25 liters
(88-104 kW)
Length: 5340-5417 mm
Wheelbase : 3327-3378 mm
Empty weight : 1856-2234 kg

From the beginning of 1936 there was another model from the 80 series. It was nicknamed the Roadmaster.

This car again shared the engine with the larger Limited and this time with the smaller Century . He had 5247 cc and developed a maximum power of 120 hp (88 kW) at 3200 min -1 . The wheelbase had grown to 3327 mm and there were again only two body variants: a four-door sedan and a four-door Phaeton convertible .

In the following year, the engine output increased to 130 hp (96 kW). Now there was also a larger sedan with six seats.

In 1938 a sporty sedan was added and the engine output rose to 141 hp (104 kW). The wheelbase of the car grew to 3378 mm.

In 1939 nothing changed in the technology, but the frames of the windshield and rear window were made of stainless steel. Another model was a Sport Phaeton (only three were built).

By autumn 1939, 43,843 Roadmaster Series 80 units had been built.

Roadmaster Series 70 (1940–1952)

3rd generation
Buick Roadmaster 71 Touring Sedan (1941)

Buick Roadmaster 71 Touring Sedan (1941)

Production period: 1940-1952
Body versions : Touring car , limousine , station wagon , coupé , convertible
Engines: Petrol engines :
4.25 liters
(104–125 kW)
Length: 5359-5515 mm
Wheelbase : 3200-3277 mm
Empty weight : 1807-2025 kg

In the spring of 1940, the Roadmaster was also completely redesigned.

Its wheelbase was only 3,200 mm, and it had new bodies without running boards and with headlights integrated into the front fenders. The radiator grille had horizontal chrome bars and a broad shape, strongly raised in the middle.

In addition to the four-door sedan and the four-door Phaeton convertible from the previous year, there was also a four-door convertible and a two-door coupé. The engine from the previous year was taken over. After the designation Series 80 was transferred to the Limited, the Roadmaster was given the serial number 70.

In the 1941 model year, the headlight housings were completely integrated into the front fenders, which had increased in volume. The engine output rose to 165 hp (121 kW).

In 1942, the last year of pre-war production, the Roadmaster also got a facelift. The flat, horseshoe-shaped grille was now back on vertical chrome bars. The wheelbase grew to 3,277 mm and the Phaeton convertible, four-door convertible and coupé were omitted. There was a two-door convertible and a two-door sedanette new.

In 1946, automobile production began again with the last pre-war models, which were only slightly modified, as a two- or four-door sedan and two-door convertible. After the Limited was discontinued , the Roadmaster was the brand's top model. The engine output sank again to 144 hp (106 kW). In 1947 a five-door station wagon was added. In 1948 these models continued to be built unchanged.

In 1949 the Roadmaster was delivered on the new GM-C platform with a 3200 mm wheelbase. Stylistically, however, little has changed. The engine output rose again to 150 hp (110 kW) and a two-door hardtop coupé named "Riviera" was added as a fifth model .

In 1950, the vertical chrome bars on the radiator grille extended into the front bumpers. The wheelbase grew slightly to 3207 mm. There was again a one-piece windshield. The engine output increased again slightly to 152 hp (112 kW).

In the following year there were only cosmetic changes. The radiator grille with narrower vertical chrome bars was framed by the front bumper lowered in the middle and a solid chrome clasp above the radiator grille. The two-door Sedanette was omitted.

In 1952, too, little was changed in the appearance of the vehicles. The engine output, however, increased again significantly to 170 hp (125 kW).

42,115 Series 70 cars were built before the Second World War . In the almost seven years that followed, up to autumn 1952, 464,900 units had been produced.

Roadmaster Series 70 and 75 (1953–1958)

4th generation
Buick Roadmaster Series 70 Estate Wagon (1953)

Buick Roadmaster Series 70 Estate Wagon (1953)

Production period: 1953-1958
Body versions : Sedan , station wagon , coupé , convertible
Petrol engines : 5.3–6.0 liters
(138–243 kW)
Length: 5240-5565 mm
Wheelbase : 3086-3239 mm
Empty weight : 1857-2118 kg

From early 1953 there was the new V8 engine of 5277 cc, a power output of 188 hp (138 kW) at 4,000 min -1 scooped. The wheelbase was only 3086 mm (with the exception of the hardtop coupé, which had a 3188 mm wheelbase).

There were few changes to the bodywork. The 1953 Buick Roadmaster Station Wagon, model 79R, was the last station wagon made in the USA with real wood paneling. Its body was created by the company "Iona Manufacturing", which produced all the bodies for Buick station wagons from 1946 to 1964.

In 1954 the Roadmaster also appeared with a completely new pontoon body. All fenders were integrated into the body and there was a small swing of the hips in the area of ​​the rear doors. The windshield was designed as a panoramic window . The wheelbase grew by 5½ "to 3226 mm. The station wagon was omitted. The engine output rose to 200 hp (147 kW).

1955 shows the Super with a large shark's mouth in front and small tail fins in the back. The engine output increased to 236 hp (174 kW) while the displacement remained the same.

In the following year, the shark's mouth became wider and a four-door hardtop sedan was offered as an additional body shape. The engine output rose to 255 hp (187.5 kW).

While the front remained almost the same in 1957, the tail fins and the swing of the hips were significantly enlarged. The V8 engine was also enlarged to a displacement of 5965 cm³. The power increased to 300 hp (221 kW). A high-performance engine with 330 hp (243 kW) was even available on request. The normal sedan (with B-pillars) was dropped and the other models had a wheelbase that was increased to 3239 mm. In addition to the 70 series, the two hardtop models were also delivered as the 75 series (with better equipment).

The Buick Super was extensively revised for 1958. The shark's mouth had mutated into a grille over the entire width of the vehicle, over which double headlights were mounted. The tail fins grew huge, and there were broad chrome strips on the sides of the rear doors and fenders. The 70 series was discontinued and only the 75 series was produced.

Technically, nothing changed in the last year before the model was replaced, only the high-performance engine from the previous year was omitted.

From the beginning of 1953 to the fall of 1958, 309,272 series 70 and 75 cars were built. Shortly afterwards, the Electra replaced the Roadmaster.

Roadmaster (1990-1996)

5th generation
Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon (1990-1996)

Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon (1990-1996)

Production period: 1990-1996
Body versions : Limousine , station wagon
Engines: Petrol engines :
5.7 liters
(125–191 kW)
Length: 5481-5530 mm
Width: 1984-2029 mm
Height: 1420-1527 mm
Wheelbase : 2944 mm
Empty weight : 1845-2067 kg

At the end of 1990, General Motors revived the Buick Roadmaster name, designating a large, rear-wheel drive station wagon that, like the Chevrolet Caprice and Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, was based on the B platform .

In the spring of 1991, the station wagon was given a four-door sedan. The standard equipment of the estate car, known as the Roadmaster Estate Wagon, included wood foil applications on the flanks, the Vista Roof , a permanently mounted glass roof insert over the second row of seats, two airbags (also for the front middle seat) and ABS . The Estate Wagon offered space for up to eight people thanks to the continuous front bench (consisting of two seats next to each other) and folding seats in the luggage compartment. If you put down the second and third row of seats, the result was a cargo space over two meters long. The rear window could be opened separately electrically, the tailgate could either be swung to the side (hinged on the left) or folded down, allowing the loading area to be extended. When folded down, the tailgate is so stable that several people can sit on it. With 1550 liters of luggage space with 6 seats used and 2600 liters with three seats in relation to the number of people plus luggage space, the cargo space offers the best values ​​ever offered by a conventional car. Only minibuses derived from delivery vans, which as a rule also count as passenger cars, offered more space.

Initially, the Roadmaster was powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine from Chevrolet in conjunction with a four-speed automatic transmission; from model year 1994, a 5.7-liter V8 engine with the identification code LT1, derived from the Chevrolet Corvette , was used instead for use. This machine with its 260 hp achieved rather unusual performance for a family car at the time (6.7 s to 96 km / h, with the automatic kickdown only being used once to change to second gear at 120 km / h, which then goes up to to the electronically governed top speed of 175 km / h) and is also unusually comfortable at very low speeds.

In the summer of 1996, the production of the Roadmaster and its parallel models Chevrolet Caprice , Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham ended . With them, the era of classic full-size automobiles at General Motors ended.

Of the last Roadmaster model series, a total of around 199,000 copies were built in just under six years.


Data of the 5.7-l V8 engine (type LT1)
Max. power 194 kW (264 hp) at 5000 min -1
Max. Torque 447 Nm at 2400 min -1
Fuel consumption according to the factory
city 13.8 l / 100 km
Overland 9 l / 100 km
Average consumption according to Auto Motor und Sport 11.8 l / 100 km
Changes from 1991–1996
1991 only built as a wagon
5.7 l, V8 with 125 kW (170 PS)
4-speed automatic
1992 Sedan and Wagon
5.7 l, V8 with 132 kW (180 PS)
1993 small changes for lowering the windows
more muffled sounds
1994 Engines in the wagon and sedan are replaced by LT1 with 194 kW
both get redesigned dashboards with 2 airbags for all 3 front passengers
1995 Wagon and Sedan get new radios
new, larger, foldable and heated side mirrors
in the "Limited" version there are seats with memory function
1996 Wagon and Sedan get “Collectors Editions” names - last year
  • tinted windshield
  • tinted glass roof
  • automatic walkway lighting
  • Cornering lights
  • electric, foldable and heated exterior mirrors
  • integrated and adjustable roof rails
  • Aluminum wheels
  • 225 / 75R15 steel belt all-weather whitewall safety radial tire "General Seal" (independent seal in the event of damage) from General Tires, a subsidiary of Conti
  • Floor mats in the front and rear footwells
  • Choice of leather or fabric seat covers
  • Driver seat 10-way electrically adjustable and with memory function
  • Armrest with 2 can holders and integrated storage compartment
  • electric backrest adjustment and electrically adjustable lumbar support (in the limited version)
  • electric windows with auto function for the driver
  • adjustable leather steering wheel
  • 2-stage seat heating for driver and front passenger seats (limited version)
  • rear doors with child lock
  • electronic, digital climate control
  • electric antenna
  • Stereo system for cassette and radio with station and program search
  • automatic volume control
  • four concert sound speakers
  • Digital clock
  • automatically dimming interior rear-view mirror with 2 reading lamps
  • illuminated mirrors in both sun visors
  • Remote control for central locking, interior lighting, electric tailgate opening and alarm system
  • programmable, automatic central locking
  • Rear wiper
  • Rear window heating
  • Luggage net (Sedan)
  • Loading area cover (Estate Wagon)


In the film Rain Man , a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Series 70 Cabriolet is the vehicle used to travel across the United States.

The 1955 Buick Roadmaster is sung about in episode 35 of the VH1 Storytellers TV music series in the song Ol ''55 by Tom Waits .

Individual evidence

  1. 1991-96 Buick Roadmaster - Consumer Guide Auto. In: consumerguide.com. Consumer Guide, accessed June 26, 2018 (American English).

Web links

Commons : Buick Roadmaster  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  • Beverly R. Kimes, Henry A. Clark: Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Krause Publications, Iola 1985, ISBN 0-87341-045-9 .
  • John Gunnell (Ed.): Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. Krause Publications, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87349-461-X .
  • James M. Flammang, Ron Kowalke: Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999. Krause Publications, Iola 1999, ISBN 0-87341-755-0 .