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Old 02-07-2010, 03:00 PM   #1
ZiggyPA
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advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

I like the Roadmaster wagon very much and may want to import one.

Which years are the best to get? Are there any problems specific to the Roadmaster wagon which I should look out for, because they are hard to repair?

Also what is the best place to look for a used Roadmaster, I know autotrader, vast and cars.trovit but those seem to be mostly dealer ads. Preferably I want a car from Florida, they are easier to import.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

Howdy. Try the following website link as they have some people who can answer your questions about Buick Roadmasters.
http://www.buickforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

Quote:
Originally Posted by 012620 View Post
Howdy. Try the following website link as they have some people who can answer your questions about Buick Roadmasters.
http://www.buickforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22

What? If all we do is redirect members to have the hassle of joining other sites to get an answer, we can all close up shop here and go home.

Simply put, the best years to buy are 1994, '95 and '96. These models have the 260 hp Corvette-derived 5.7 liter V8, a more-precise, electronically-controlled automatic transmission, and an upgraded dashboard with dual airbags.

However, these years are the most expensive to buy.
1992 and '93 are usually a bit cheaper, all other things being equal, but have a slightly less-powerful 190 hp 5.7 V8, and, of course, a hydraulically-operated transmission. Dispite these limitations, they are still fine-performing cars.

The first model year, 1991 had an even less powerful 5 liter V8. However, relatively few 1991 wagons were built, so the chances of finding one are pretty rare.

From a reliability point of view, these are heavy strong and durable cars, with no glaring weak points or things to look out for. However, even the newest on is 14 years old, so most are well-used, with relatively high mileage.
So, look for one with the lowest mileage and best condition that you can afford. Beware of rust, body damage and neglect of maintenance. Mechanical parts and maintenance parts should be easy to get, especially on-line. But, of course, body and interior parts are more difficult. Any required parts would have to be sourced through an auto dismantler.

These cars are easy to work on, imo. There is lots of room under the hood, and they are relatively simple and straightforward by design. But you still need a big garage or driveway if you want to do some serious work.

Imo, its best to buy one from a private seller, who has maintenance records which can prove how well its been looked after. However, a dealer may be better equipped to look after the exporting and shipping paperwork for you.

As for price, these things really are not popular to buy these days in North America. The 260 hp cars are somewhat collectible and a bit pricy, but the older ones are not popular among the general public. You can likely negotiate a good deal on one, because used car sellers have difficulty moving these. The average buyer has little interest in gas hogs like these, and even less interest in the old wagon body style.

Most of them have the wood-grain body decals, which, imo are pretty ugly and subject to fading. However, many were made without the woody effect and, imo look much nicer.

Finally, some of these cars were used for some serious trailer-towing, with the accompanying stress and wear. So, imo, be wary of any cars with big trailer hitches on the back.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:22 AM   #4
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

Thanks for you answer Magic! I'd like to get a '95 or '96 with around 120,000. From the ads i've seen, lower seems to be rare.
I don't care for the wood panels either (is it real wood or plastic?) can these be removed or are the body panels underneath it different from the ones originally made without wood?
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:28 PM   #5
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

The fake wood panels are 3M brand transfer material that is put over the finished body panel. The material is transluscent, so body color under the transfer must be the same as the rest of the body or the rest of the woodgrain panels or the color will be off. The body panels were the same--wood grain or delete---except for the holes for the surround fake wood trim. The ones without wood trim are relatively rare--maybe one in fifty was built without wood trim.

I have a '93 with the stock 350 engine and it has adequate power, even for towing my boat and snowmobile trailer. The '94 and up, however, were much more powerful. I believe the '93 and older models were more reliable and less costly to maintain, as they had a standard distributor, one oxygen sensor, throttle body injection vs. the tuned port injection on later ones. My main aim would be to find one with little or no rust from a climate that allows that.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:24 PM   #6
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

To find a true non wood car search for WB4 on the SPID sticker. The problem with removing the wood vinyl from the wood cars is that the door handles and gas cap area were painted tan to help the wood blend in. Once you peel the vinyl off you have to repaint everything to rid the car of the tan paint and to hide the bodywork on the fenders, doors and quarters after filling all of the holes. Finding a WB4 is not that hard at all, I am on my third one now. My second I just sold to a man in Canada. I bought the car from the original owner's daughter after he passed away. It's a black Limited WB4 with tan cloth interior and 35,000 miles on it. The car still smells new. I sold it because it has never seen snow and I couldn't bring myself to make it a year round daily driver. My latest WB4 I found in Georgia. Not nearly as nice but it was in my budget and I'm working hard to turn it into a '95-'96. The '94 was sort of a bastard year as it had the LT-1 but it still had the small '93 pod style mirrors, the '95-'96 dash but the small DIN & 1/2 radio and a few other small details. I much prefer the bigger mirrors and the later style radio(mainly because I have a spare Monsoon CD player I put in it) plus the LT-1 will blow the doors off of a TBI car and it has more torque if you plan on towing.
If you find one with air shocks plan on replacing them. Most guys switch to bags in the rear springs to give a better ride as well as more load control. Also check to make sure the drain holes in the quarters are open. The holes on my 35,000 mile car were sealed shut from the factory and I didn't notice until I washed the car and heard water sloshing around. If left unattended it will cause rust in the quarters, a big problem for these things. Also the door panels and window rollers suck. Bottom line. When you have to replace the window rollers, and you will, make sure you replace them with the updated round rollers instead of the factory oval sliders. Plan on repairing your door panels while they are off too. Epoxy will be your friend for this repair.
Other than these minor setbacks I think these cars are awesome. Plenty of mods available to make them look good, run good and handle good, all while hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood. Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:20 AM   #7
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

Any opinion on roadmaster versus colony park?
The colony park is older but the panther platform is ubiquitous; is the roadmaster harder to find parts for?

I'm a student-- looking for a sometime-pickup that will be cheap to maintain. A single $1000 repair is almost my gas budget for the entire year; really puts fuel economy in perspective! so I'm not TOO worried about low mpg on either.
I like the idea of being able to tote lumber, stone, large canvases in either.
By pickup-- I mean that I need to haul very heavy things but only intermittently; so I want neither the open bed nor the particularly poor fuel economy of an older pickup (I did think about pickups), but a station wagon that is capable of a heavy or large load when I need it is perfect, as well as the ability to accommodate passengers.


Ooo, and I like the black w/o wood on your car (posting above)! What would you sell it for? :-D

-Bernard
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:52 AM   #8
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

Oh btw, what did you pay for the 35,000 mile wagon?

I'm looking at a fellow with a 70,000 mile 1994, lowest miles I've yet seen! I can't fathom where you found 35,000 miles!
It's sat for a while; trying to get a sense of the sum of the work it'll need. Has some rust and peeling vinyl "wood" siding; needs brakes turned, new spark plugs; the seller will be looking it over in greater detail to figure out what else.

Also looking at a guy with a 102,000 mile roadmaster.

I'm making a list (swaybars, suspension/springs, redo the vinyl siding or just remove and repaint the whole car) to see what the total cost might be.

What kind of money did you ultimately put into your roadmaster? I will probably want to make just as many improvements, when I buy one. Trying to figure a budget.


-Bernard
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:05 PM   #9
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

Quote:
Originally Posted by BerniniCaCO3 View Post
Oh btw, what did you pay for the 35,000 mile wagon?

I'm looking at a fellow with a 70,000 mile 1994, lowest miles I've yet seen! I can't fathom where you found 35,000 miles!
It's sat for a while; trying to get a sense of the sum of the work it'll need. Has some rust and peeling vinyl "wood" siding; needs brakes turned, new spark plugs; the seller will be looking it over in greater detail to figure out what else.

Also looking at a guy with a 102,000 mile roadmaster.

I'm making a list (swaybars, suspension/springs, redo the vinyl siding or just remove and repaint the whole car) to see what the total cost might be.

What kind of money did you ultimately put into your roadmaster? I will probably want to make just as many improvements, when I buy one. Trying to figure a budget.


-Bernard


Here's the replacement '94. As I said before, it's not nearly as nice but I'm not afraid to use this one. So far I've converted the dash and cd player, installed my Z-28 cluster, replaced all of the stainless trim, replaced the gate, cleaned the heck out of it, 1LE elbow installed, replaced the driver door panel, replaced the rollers in two windows, replaced the rear wiper, etc.


I sold the wagon for a little over $10,000 which is way too cheap looking back. I probably should've put it on e-bay for max $$$ BUT, the guy who bought it is a wagon freak like myself and promised the car will never see the rain or snow, except from the garage, and I have the first shot at buying it back if he ever decides to sell it. Can't really put a price on that.

Keep in mind that these cars share just about everything with the Impala SS (except the rear end, the wagons is wider and the sway bar won't work) so you can do just about all of the mods to a wagon that guys are doing to the Imp: Lowered springs, suspension rebuild kits, engine stuff, 6 spd conversions, bucket seats/console conversions, LS swaps, the list goes on. Visit ImpalaSSForum.com to learn more than you ever wanted to know about these land yahts.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:53 AM   #10
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Re: advice for buying a Roadmaster wagon

One from Anthony Quinn's estate sold on ebay less than year ago.It was a solid color,less than 17,000 miles and still in his name.I can't recall what it brought.
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