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.