Home Car Stories Alley Finds 1996 BUICK Roadmaster Estate wagon- Alameda, CA
1996 BUICK Roadmaster Estate wagon- Alameda, CA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Monday, 09 March 2015 21:26

1996 BUICK Roadmaster Estate wagon- Alameda, CA


Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

96 BUICK Roadmaster Estate wagon- Alameda, CA

Some great old names returned when a really refreshing retro wave washed over cars in the late 1990s. Manufacturers had finally found ways to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy numbers, emissions standards, 5 MPH bumper laws, rollover laws, impact crush zones, airbags and every other requirement the Feds could throw at them.

96 BUICK Roadmaster Estate Alameda, CA logo

Once these problems were solved some attention could be diverted back towards style. For years cars were jellybean lookalike vehicles due to the necessity of meeting fuel economy standards. In the late 1990s some individual style began to slowly creep back into designs.

96 BUICK Roadmaster Estate Alameda, CA front

By the time the 1994 Ford Mustang appeared the designers were able to add enough flourish to the design to make it look uniquely like a classic Mustang while still adhering to aerodynamic necessities. Then came a retro themed Thunderbird. Mazda leaped into the fray with a MG clone they named the Miata. VW revived the classic Beetle.

96 BUICK Roadmaster Estate Alameda, CA threequtr

Buick revived a greatly revered name from the past: Roadmaster. Fake wood paneling on a station wagon in the 1990s was truly a retro themed car. Minivans and SUVs had been sucking the life out of the highways for over a decade of drab greyness and now suddenly here was a wagon that traced its styling cues back to the 1950s.

96 BUICK Roadmaster Estate Alameda, CA dr side

Of course, the distinctive whale sided body found on the Caprice and other full size GM cars from the 1990s does detract from the old school reminders added to the car but not enough to smother the retro feel. Even with the 'whale body' the car does manage to convey a sense of direct lineage from those old vacation cruisers of a bygone era.

96 buick roadmaster estate alameda pass side

Another retro themed item is the hood ornament which sits above the 'radiator' styled front grille. Also note the old fashioned full size metal hubcaps in an era where most cars had plastic hubcaps or modern alloy wheels.

96 buick roadmaster estate alameda dr hood ornament

The VIN 1G4BR82P9TR4xxxxx decodes:

1= USA built

G= General Motors

4= Buick

BR= Roadmaster Estate wagon (the BW refers to the base Roadmaster)

8= 4 Door station wagon

2= Active manual belts with driver and passenger airbags

P= Option code LT1 350 (5.7 L) multi port fuel injection V8 engine

9= Check digit

T= 1996 Model year

R= Arlington, Texas final assembly plant

4xxxxx= Sequential number not shown here to preserve owner privacy

96 buick roadmaster estate alameda dr rear 3 qtr

Those who read all the VIN codes above are probably wondering if a mistake was made with the engine. A Buick wagon with a Corvette engine? Yes, its true. The Roadmaster 'mastered' the road with ease when equipped with the incredibly potent LT1 engine. Chevrolet didn't name the LT1 in some frivolous empty gesture meant to evoke the past. The new LT1 not only evoked the past, it eclipsed the past. Not only were cars returning to style in the body but performance was returning to the powerplants, too.

Note the 'Island Auto Sales' dealer plate from Alameda, California. This is a large used dealership down on 1927 Park Street right before the metal bridge to the mainland.

96 buick roadmaster estate alameda rear

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 December 2015 21:03 )