Today on Better Connecticut my wife Kara Sundlun and her co-host Scot Haney revealed to the viewing public I drive a Buick. Scot was surprised when he saw Kara pull up in my Buick Roadmaster yesterday, and was more surprised that I love that car. It IS the master of the road.
That’s it above next to a nearly identical one I spotted in the West End the other day. I just had to take a picture of the two together.
Why a Roadmaster you ask? Buick is my favorite brand of car, for a few reasons. They have a great classic history, sort of like the Brooks Brothers of cars. They look cool, and they are ridiculously reliable. In fact, they are thee most dependable make, beating every Japanese brand. So much for the myth that Japanese cars are better. This study just came out this week:
I also like Buick because it is an American car. The Buick Enclave that Kara drives was made in Lansing, Michigan and the Roadmaster was built in Arlington , Texas. Our other Buick, a 1965 Electra , was made in Flint, Michigan.
I’ll admit, I owned three foreign cars before Kara and I switched to Buick for the reliability, and we wanted to help Detroit, Kara’s hometown.
We’re not the only ones. Denise D’Ascenzo recently joined the Buick family, as did “Better” producer Melissa Dethlefsen.
Anyway, back to my Roadmaster. I always wanted one, and it had to be a wagon with the fake wood on the side. When I was growing up we had a Ford with the Country Squire wood, and I thought it was cool.
At the end of last summer, a widow in Milford was selling her late husband’s Roadmaster wagon and it was in great shape. Always garaged and babied. The third row had never been used, and the back seat was used only a handful of times.
I bought it the day I saw it, and she gave me a great deal. As Kara mentioned on Better, the woman turned down a higher offer because the prospective buyer criticized her Roadmaster as he tried to talk her down in price. She felt as if he was offending her husband. She knew I loved the car and actually sent us a Christmas card wishing us well with the car that was so special to her family.
“The Master,” as it is affectionately called, holds a sheet of plywood, actually a stack of plywood. Do not try that in your car…you may put out a window. It has a Corvette engine that is extremely powerful, reliable, and surprisingly fuel efficient. It gets 25 MPG on the highway. Its size makes it safe, and the dual airbags are an added feature. Best of all I paid much less for two cars (the Roadmaster and an Electra convertible) than people paid for a mass produced foreign sedan, a bland box that will never grace the cover of a classic auto magazine or be oohed and aahed over at a parade or car show.
One of my buddies has spent so much money in the past year repairing his German sports car that he could have bought two Roadmasters and had some money left over. His car is at the bottom of that reliability list posted above. He now has Roadmaster envy and tells me whenever he spots one, and as the picture above proves, there are more out there than you might think.
There are always some great ones on Ebay and cars.com
Here’s to a Roadmaster revival.
Categories: Cars, Uncategorized
Wow! I guess people that are on tv are just regular people! Never would have guessed it. Thanks for sharing! Or maybe you should thank Scot and Kara!
Great story, Scot! I, too, own a Roadmaster, a 1995 Limited sedan, and I love it for so many reasons. I love it so much that I plan to restore and modify it, adding some features found on newer cars and upgrading the interior, rather than buying a new car.
I, like you, am a believer in American cars and other US-made products. I just wish more Americans would stand up and say that they’re proud to own American products as well.
By far one of the most down to earth stories about american vehicles. And to think most people say they don’t last more than a few years before rusting and falling apart. Cudos my friend, you earned my respect.
GO Dennis!!!…I applaud you for speaking out on behalf of us Buy American Car Owners!!..I am totally in your corner on how I and My Husband feel about buying American..Sure some of those imports look nice and maybe sound nice, but in the end, there is no comparison and all my profits stay in this country where they belong. Great Blog, and best of luck with your Buick!!
Brings me back to my childhood, too! My dad was the shop foreman at the Buick Dealership in Albany, NY, and we always had Buicks. I learned how to drive on a ’66 Electra sedan and a ’68 Skylark coupe. The land yacht is what Dad taught me on and the ‘Lark is what I took my test in. The best thing about the Buicks was you could drive them forever and they still wouldn’t wear out! Bet the ‘Master was great in the snow this winter.
Dennis…like you I owned several foreign cars (mainly German) that drove well but were extremely unreliable. I decided to return to my American car buying roots and got a 2005 Ford Mustang. The Mustang is the most reliable car I have owned and a blast to drive. Thanks for sharing your Buick story…hopefully others will be inspired by your words and give American car makers another shot…just when they need it most.
It’s great to read something from someone in the media that is not bashing our homegrown products. Traditional rear wheel drive American cars need make no apologies for safety, reliability and even economy. I’ve had everything from my long-ago 1960 Olds Super 88 to my current 2006 Chrysler 300C, and driven everything from Germany, Sweden and Japan. We’ll keep driving American.
Dennis, I too own a Buick, as a matter of fact its my third Buick. My first was purchased in 1989, it was a 1995 Buick Regal, its is still running today. I gave it to my siste, who in turn gave it to my neice who in turn passed it on to a cousin. I just purchased my 3 Buick. Its a 2007 Rendevous, I love it. Its my first SUV and it holds my 2 dogs. I am 45 years old and have always driven buicks. I have only owned 3 cars of my own. They have been reliable and roomy. I would not drive anything else.
It’s hard to find a truly AMERICAN car anymore with parts made all over the world. I still try to by American with a yard full of Fords, and one Nissan that is made in Mexico! I think Buick is one of the better built cars and it is often underrated. But I want to comment about your comparison to Brooks Brothers. The term “shoddy” means poor quality and during the Civil War Brooks Brothers made uniforms out of scraps from the floor glued together called “shoddy” and they fell apart when they got wet. Their clothing is much better now, and maybe Buick could have a “Brooks Brothers Edition”. Keep up the good work.
I bought a used ’02 Buick LeSabre Limited about a year ago, and I love it. It’s the nicest car I’ve owned. The only problem I’ve had is that the window motors keep blowing. Other than that, it’s a great car!!!
Thank you so much for your post, Dennis. As long as there’s a Buick out there to drive, it will be the automobile of choice for me. Yes, my wife and I have had one of the top Japanese imports, but I returned to Buick and will not consider anything else.
My old Buick LeSabre cruised beautifully past 200,000 miles this week. Guess what? It has been virtually trouble-free, it delivers great fuel economy, it’s supremely comfortable and quiet. I’ve never waxed it once, but it still looks terrific. I enjoy driving a car that stands out from the look-a-like import crowd!
Your Roadmaster wagon is the same color as my ’96, only mine isn’t a woodie. I’ve taken artistic license with mine, affixing approximately 3500 acrylic reflex reflectors (the kind normally seen on bicycle pedals) to it. I call it “Buick Reflectra.” It even has a “REFLECTRA” nameplate, made from two “ELECTRA” nameplates! Photos are at the website above.
Come on down for the Houston Artcar parade on May 9. It’s the oldest and largest artcar parade in the world! You’ll have a great story to bring back to the folks back in Connecticut!
Thank you for all your comments