An anachronism when new, the ultimate Buick Roadmaster wagon (1991–1996) arrived far more than a 10 years into an period of downsized autos with understated exteriors. It sported skirted fenders, woodgrain paneling, and three rows of seats. When the Roadmaster and its B- system siblings (the Chevrolet Caprice and the Oldsmobile Customized Cruiser) appeared, practically all new autos ended up unibody types. GM’s full-size wagons for ’91 ended up body-on-frame dinosaurs, with V-8 energy and rear-wheel drive—the perfect template for a sleeper muscle motor vehicle.
The Roadmaster released as a formal, aged-university household hauler. “I assume people today highly regarded the wagon, although it was a time period when wagons had been on their way out,” suggests Ed Welburn, who, right before turning into head of General Motors global structure, labored on GM’s closing rear-generate wagon. Early-’90s people have been driving minivans and Ford Explorers. A station wagon was somewhat uncool, in both of those a school fall-off lane and a staging lane. The Roadmaster’s prospective was apparent to Martyn Schorr, whose agency managed East Coast community relations for the tri-defend brand name during the period. “I managed the establish of two Roadmasters for [Buick fanatic] Nicola Bulgari, with 502 crate motors,” Schorr claims. These automobiles, a sedan and a wagon that had been the closing versions of just about every human body model, were personalized by Specialized Motor vehicles Inc., a respected strategy-car or truck fabricator in suburban Detroit.
“Those people have been severe highway warriors—complex, rapid, and rapidly,” Schorr suggests. “Everything was custom, which include the 4-wheel Brembo disc brakes, gasoline-injection programs for the 502s, custom wheels with cloisonné Buick emblems in the centre caps, and NASCAR-variety coolers for transmission, the engine, and the rear stop.”
Schorr’s builds have been freaks at the time. But considering that then Welburn has seen the GM wagon changeover into a contemporary scorching-rod darling. “I noticed it a couple decades back, the beginnings of it,” he claims. Some pals from Bulgari’s collection not too long ago visited him, arriving in two modified Roadmasters. “It is really an exciting phenomenon,” Welburn says. “It can be difficult for me to put ‘performance’ and that automobile in the exact sentence.”
Not each and every modified wagon suits his style. “Some seem absurd,” says Welburn, who prefers stock-wanting sleepers with modestly upsized wheels for “a much more balanced search.” But he’s open to all modes of vehicular enthusiasm. Boss Wagons ho!
JAMES LIPMAN : JAMESLIPMAN.COM
Automotive photographer and Vehicle and Driver contributor James Lipman sourced a GM E-Rod 6.2-liter V-8 crate motor from someone’s misguided Ferrari 400i restomod challenge and dropped it into his 1992 Roadmaster wagon. “It really is fairly significantly plug and engage in,” he states. “The four-site recommendations fundamentally say: Place it in the auto, hook up the wiring, push it.”
Although it commenced lifestyle as a Caprice wagon, racer Steve Morris’s longroof has acquired its Road learn stripes. Right after the Caprice scraped a wall in a race in 2010, “I resolved to make it into a woodgrain station wagon,” he states. Beneath the hood bulge lives a personalized twin-turbo 9.4-liter V-8. “It makes 4500 horsepower. We are striving to do a 5-next quarter-mile.”
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