15 Best & Worst Buick Roadmaster Years (Complaints, Stats..)

The Buick Roadmaster, with a production run spanning from 1936 to 1996, has experienced a range of high and low points throughout its history.

This article will delve into the best and worst years for the Roadmaster, shedding light on which models stood out, and which ones fell short of expectations.

While some Roadmaster models have been praised for their performance and comfort, others have been criticized, offering comparisons for buyers.

The Best Year for Buick Roadmaster

The prime time for the Buick Roadmaster was between 1994 to 1996, with the 1994 model standing out the most.

This particular model year featured a 260-horsepower LT1 V-8 engine borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette, transforming the Roadmaster into a borderline high-performance machine.

In addition to its robust performance, the 1994 Buick Roadmaster was praised for its comfortable interior and ample space. The car boasted a luxurious ride and smooth handling, which remained consistent across the final three years of Roadmaster’s production.

During this time, the Roadmaster was available both in sedan and wagon versions.

The wagon was an especially eye-catching marvel, considered a “roadmonster” due to its distinctive styling and size.

The 1994 Buick Roadmaster, with its impressive blend of iconic design, generous proportions, and powerful performance, holds the title as the best year for the legendary American car.

The 2nd Best Year

The 1992 Buick Roadmaster stands out as another good year for this classic American car.

In its early years, the Roadmaster came only as a wagon, but a sedan variant joined the lineup in 1992. With its addition, the car became even more versatile and appealing to a broader audience.

The sedan inherited the wagon’s impressive performance and power, featuring a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produced 180 horsepower.

The 1992 Buick Roadmaster was not only about power but also about safety features.

This model was one of the first American cars to feature standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) on all four wheels for both the wagon and sedan variants. This safety feature increased the car’s desirability while keeping its passengers safe at high speeds.

Though the Roadmaster eventually upgraded its engine in later years, the 1992 model gave us a taste of its powerful potential. It provided a balanced blend of performance, safety, and luxury, making it a memorable and admired car in the Buick lineup.

Other Good Years

  • 1936: The origins of the Roadmaster name date to 1936 when Buick renamed its entire model lineup to celebrate the engineering improvements and design advancements over their 1935 models. This year marked the introduction of the Series 80 Roadmaster, which became a landmark vehicle in Buick’s history.
  • 1949: General Motors made significant restyling in this year, resulting in an excellent design for the Buick Roadmaster. This model came in three sizes, with the Roadmaster being the largest and most luxurious. Its striking look and powerful performance characteristics made it a great year for the brand.
  • 1953: As part of Buick’s 50th anniversary celebration, the 1953 Roadmaster introduced the iconic “VentiPorts” on the front fenders, which became a recognizable design feature for future Buick models. Additionally, this year marked the debut of the “twin-turbine” Dynaflow automatic transmission, adding a touch of innovation and convenience for drivers.
  • 1992: After a hiatus, Buick revived the Roadmaster nameplate in 1992. This year saw the introduction of the Gen II small-block V8 engine, which provided a solid performance base for the new generation. The 1992 model also incorporated modern styling and features, bringing the Roadmaster into the contemporary automotive era.

These notable years showcase the best of the Buick Roadmaster, with each model standing out due to its design, engineering, or performance advancements.

From their early beginnings to their modern revival, these exceptional years have solidified the Roadmaster’s place in automotive history.

The Worst Year for Buick Roadmaster

The 1991 Buick Roadmaster had its share of issues compared to other model years. Despite the company’s effort to create a comfortable and stylish vehicle, this particular model lacked some essential features.

One notable drawback was the absence of a powerful engine.

In contrast to the 1994 to 1996 Roadmasters, which had a 5.7-liter gas engine with output up to 260 hp, the 1991 model had a less potent engine, impacting the car’s overall performance and driving experience.

The 1991 Roadmaster also faced criticism for its outdated design. Its boxy and bulky appearance was considered less visually appealing by some customers. This perception was especially prevalent in a time when more modern and streamlined vehicles dominated the market.

Another concern was the fuel efficiency of the 1991 Roadmaster.

The model’s heavy weight and less efficient engine led to lower gas mileage, which became a drawback in an era where fuel economy began to be more important.

While the 1991 Buick Roadmaster was not without its charm or merits, its performance and design shortcomings make this specific model year less desirable in comparison to its successors in the Roadmaster line.

Other Bad Years

1949 – 1958 Roadmaster Series.

While the 1949 Roadmaster was built based on the Y-Job concept-car drawings and provided a luxurious and comfortable ride for its time, subsequent models in the series between 1949 and 1958 showed a decline in quality and desirability.

Competitors began to overshadow the Roadmaster, as its features and performance no longer matched the innovation seen in other vehicles of the era.

It is worth mentioning that even during these less-favorable years, Buick Roadmasters had loyal fans who appreciated the brand and its dedication to providing comfortable, feature-rich vehicles.

In later years, Buick revamped their line-up, and while they may not have the same name-brand famous cars as other brands, they continue to produce some worthwhile models that don’t hurt folks in the pocketbook.

Common Problems to Look for in Used Buick Roadmasters

When considering the purchase of a used Buick Roadmaster, it’s important to be aware of some common issues that have been reported by car owners.

This knowledge will help you evaluate the condition of each car you come across and make a better decision.

One prevalent issue with the Buick Roadmaster is the failure of the Auto Level Ride Compressor. This can lead to a bumpy ride and poor suspension performance, so keep an ear out for any unusual noises while test-driving the car.

You can also check out the best and worst years for Buick LeSabre.

Another common problem with these cars is internal faults in the distributor, which can cause engine problems.

A reliable sign of this issue is if the car experiences difficulty starting, or if it stalls while running.

Additionally, watch out for wear in the idler and pitman arm, as this can result in looseness in the steering. If you notice any wandering or difficulty in steering, it could be an indicator of this issue.

Keep in mind, these problems are not exhaustive, and not every used Buick Roadmaster may have these exact issues. However, being aware of these potential problems can help you make an informed choice on which model to purchase and what to look for in your test drive.

Go Back to list of all Buick models (best and worst years)

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.