When Buick remastered the roads in ’91, it bypassed Park Avenue

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1994 Buick Roadmaster
Buick

Be it the “box” or the “bubble” generations, the last two decades of General Motors’ venerable B-body platform sported famous names with legions of loyal followers: Behold the Caprice, Impala, Delta 88, Bonneville, LeSabre, and, of course, the Roadmaster. The latter’s premium trappings also had a name so evocative it became part of the American psyche … except for that unfortunate 30-year-ish hiatus.

Thank goodness the B-body’s final (and best?) years as a four-door sedan brought back this storied nameplate, wearing Park Avenue-like skin that’s somewhere between the modest Chevy Caprice and the ostentatious Cadillac Fleetwood. Even that opera lamp in the C-pillar was relatively understated, no?While most enthusiasts gravitate to the later Roadmaster’s LT-1 powerplant, there’s something about the original design’s more expensive (or, at least, more expensive-looking) layers of delicately chrome-trimmed, fake wood inserts offsetting acres of monotone plastic, vinyl, and leather trim. Motorweek tested the 1992 Roadmaster Sedan in all its central-fuel-injected glory: The 5.7-liter V-8 is weak-kneed compared to a 1994 model (with the aforementioned detuned LT-1), as 9.3 seconds to 60 won’t impress anyone. That’s not the point, though, because the Roadmaster was all about some serious, imperious progress.

The Roadmaster packed some decadent levels of luxury, with a still-modest price of under 24 large for Motorweek’s Limited tester. Forget about being cheaper than the Caddy—Motorweek says its tester’s price undercut that of a Buick Park Avenue. Like, awesome.

Talk about more Buick for your money: V-8 and rear-wheel-drive motivation, ABS brakes, a full set of gauges, power everything, three-position lumbar support, automatic air conditioning, and even a power trunk pull-down. The Roadmaster only needed the uprated audio (with CD player) and the traditional trappings of a vinyl roof and Uniroyal “Royal Seal” tires—with their classic mayo and mustard sidewall design—to complete the look.

Even though the Roadmaster lacks a few key bits of American luxury, it’s truly amazing how much Buick you got back in the early ’90s. Especially when compared to the Supercharged Park Avenue Ultra, didn’t the Roadmaster Limited truly prove that less is more?

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