Here is my 1995 Buick Roadmaster Estate station wagon. The last of the proud line of big American wagons, these babies last rolled off the assembly line in 1996. In a fortuitous alignment of cost-cutting and hot rod spirit, these big wagons have the same drivetrain as a Corvette – high performance V-8, 4 speed and dual exhaust. With the faux wood paneling, white wall tires and luggage rack, they are real stoplight sleepers.
These are full size wagons, big enough to seat 8 people or carry full sheets of plywood. Big comfy split bench seat, “Gran Touring” suspension, and other great classic wagon features – the “vista” roof over the middle row of seats, “dual-action” tailgate (opens to the side or down!), and best of all, the “way back” third row, rear facing seats.
My Roadie is equally at home as a family grocery getting, band gear hauler, and as a tire burning stomper.
I don’t usually like cars of this late vintage but this one’s a real beaut! I, of course love the “wood” paneling. (And I especially love the term “stoplight sleepers”.)
My first car in Los Angeles, which I still own, was a 1955 DeSoto Fireflyte. The backseat of your woodie looks like the front seat that was in it when I bought it, a rich burgundy seat from an early 60s Lincoln Continental. I swapped it out with the original DeSoto seat within a week of buying the car but looking at your backseat makes me miss the squishy comfort of the Continental one.
I love that this car is so massive. I adore traveling with large groups of people in a car and it’s so much better to stuff them into one of these than a mini van. The glass roof over the middle row of seats, the tailgate opening to the side or down and the rear facing third seat make this an exceptional ride.
So, when will you post pictures of your Desoto? I love the feel of 50s cars – the huge steering wheel, wrap around windshield and rolling-sofa ride, let alone the fins and the chrome chrome chome!
I’ve always had a soft spot for wagons, as my dad drove them while I was growing up, and my first car was his ’86 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. That one had a more traditional look, but an anemic motor.
This is actually the second Roadmaster Estate I’ve owned. The first was a 1994 model in pretty rough shape, but it had a positraction rear-axle, so I could burn rubber on both rear tires! This one has an open rear axle, so only single tire burn outs are possible, but the clean condition and sumptuous bordello-red interior are reasonable consolation.
As for people hauling – a few weeks ago we put together a triple-date over to Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, and there was serious competition over who got to sit in the way back.
First of all, kudo’s on the car, what a land yacht of american steel, dude! I can just see you screaming across the bay bridge in that thing.
If you go to Allee’s website, and then to art, and then to furniture, which she directed me to last week, you’ll see a picture of a couple of cherry 1950’s classics in the window-a 1955 deSoto fireflyte, and a mid-50’s Studebaker.
Allee, is the DeSoto a push button? My Dad had a ’57 firesweep shopper wagon that was pushbutton, I have a pic converted from a slide of it in Phoenix, the fins are ginormous. And the Stude-is it a hawk or a commander? Do you still have it? Originally they were designed with the big trunk because they were considering a rear engine configuration.
I still have both the DeSoto as well as the 1955 Studebaker Commander. Although both were my everyday cars (from 1976 when I got the DeSoto and 1984 when I got the Stude) they’ve sat on blocks for over a decade, one in my driveway and one in a garage, waiting until the day their mommy has enough saved in her piggy bank to fully restore them. Push button transmission wasn’t offered in the DeSoto yet but it does have an under the dash 45 player.