Before you think I’ve missed my medication, I maintain that the Buick Roadmaster Estate is destined for greatness. Why? Because it has more street presence than a Ferrari, more faux wood than IKEA and, well, looks like nothing else on the road.
From 1994 to 1996, Buick’s eight-seater dreadnought packed the firepower of the contemporary C4 Corvette – GM’s LT1 5.7-litre V8 – which means it can dispatch 0-60mph in just seven surreal seconds. That’s right, this station wagon can smoke a first-generation BMW M3! Its size, attitude, styling and furnishings are more over the top than a Kardashian’s birthday party, but it’s the ultimate sleeper: a dragster that looks like a wood-panelled kitchen. Imagine the look of defeat on that M3 driver’s face as you black-line him away from the lights.
Best of all, you can buy a low-mileage survivor – cherished and driven by a silverhaired Floridian senior – for less than $10,000. That’s around £8000 plus shipping costs for a genuinely eyepopping American classic that will give you massive points for hardcore cool.
Measuring 18ft long with three rows of seats and enough room to start a family, quite a few were fitted with limited slip diffs, leather trim, air suspension, electronic level control, vista roofs and heavy-duty oil coolers. With the optional Towing Package, they could haul 7000lb and ride like a Silver Shadow. And that heroic 260hp LT1 V8 also did duty in the period Camaro Z28, Impala SS, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and Chevrolet Caprice Police Package. This is that most weird and wonderful thing: an eight-seater American muscle car.
A private seller in Tampa has a white 1995 example with 42,000 miles, history, aircon and the optional 220 inches of Light Colonial Oak appliqué along both sides for $9500, while Ernie’s Autos in Connecticut has a last-of-the line 1996 Estate in factory black (without the fake wood), but with the Towing Package, Posi Traction diff, leather, aircon and 66,000 warranted miles for only $6995.
Even the normally sensible Hagerty agrees that interest is on the rise, with insurance enquiries up 37% in the last 12 months. Look at the popularity of woodclad Jeep Wagoneers and you’ll understand the end-of-an-era cult appeal. Prophetically, the final year 1996 Estates had a hood ornament bearing the words ‘Collector’s Edition’.
Cost New $35k
Value Now £8000