1995 Buick Roadmaster
|Season||The Great Maybe|
|Air Date||March 23, 2015|
This 8th generation, B-body variant was resurrected from the dead in 1991 after being shelved in 1958. The Roadmaster of old was a classic of those gangster movies where fat guys with power ask when they can expect to be paid. But in 1991, the reintroduction got rid of the classic styling that made the Roadmaster such an icon in the first place. Hell, the 90s version introduced a fake wood grain finish, as if that lousy paneling would bring back nostalgia. It was like a faded hooker trying to recapture the glory days when she could charge $100 for a handjob and not get laughed out of the Cracker Barrel parking lot.
This is a 1995 Buick Roadmaster sedan. --- INTRO SONG BY ROMAN Roadmaster sedan, oh your glory days are gone But oh I know just how you feel I don't get road head anymore --- MONOLOGUE BY MR. REGULAR When you look at American nameplates, and this for the benefit of viewers overseas, we Americans name cars with hardening haughtiness. [echoing] THIS IS THE ROADMASTER. [end echoing] THIS IS A VEHICLE FOR MASTERING ROADS, AND SLIDING YOUR HAND.... DOWN YOUR PANTS, BEHIND THE PULPIT, WHEN YOU LEAD THE CONGREGATION IN THE BENEDICTION. Roadmaster. This is the name General Motors has used since 1936 for a large upper trim luxury sedan. The sedan for men who are sinking into their autumn years. Roadmaster cars allow grandpa to openly flirt with the 23 year old server at Friendly's, in front of his whitewash wife, because the great journey is coming and he wants a good seat on the number nine train. You're looking at the eighth and final generation of the Roadmaster. Back in the 30’s and all the way to 1958, Roadmasters look like cars from the 1990 live-action movie of Dick Tracy. Then in 1959 the Roadmaster went away. The kitchen debates went down that year, gimmicky, yes, but Khrushchev said to then vice president Richard Nixon, “Everything you have we will have in two years, and then we will wave bye-bye as we pass”. Khrushchev was talking about technology, and to be fair, our cars looked antiquated in the late 1950s and one year later, it was 1960 and car designs got sleek and jet-like very fast. But the nameplate Roadmaster didn't return until 1991 when it was jizzed on the back of an unspecialized GM B-body. Now, we have to talk about the B-body, yes the the B-body is General Motors competitor to Ford's Panther body. It's an undercarriage. It's a basis on which to build multiple types of cars. This is another American move: Create one model and Carvell your way to a fleet of vehicles based on toppings, and here's a list of all the cars General Motors has ever built based on the B-body platform: *A video shows a list of vehicles built on the GM B-body while Mr Regular sings: La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la *fart* a la la la la la la* You use a GM B-body for driving to an eight-dollar spaghetti dinner and you get salad and a roll, and later on as your arthritis kicks in you ease int- What is this? Hold on. Wait. Wait. Huh- This is different- Holy hell, this is a manual stick shift, what the hell is this doing on this car? This doesn't belong here. This Roadmaster isn't what it seems. WELCOME TO THE CAMMASTER: THE SCOURGE OF NORTH PHILADELPHIA! (Philly!) Huh-oh yeah this is getting good really fast! --- POV OF MR. REGULAR STARTING UP THE CAMMASTER Owner (over the two-way radio): “Why aren’t you backing out, are you having trouble?” Mr. Regular (over the radio in a German-esque accent): “Put it in H!” --- MONOLOGUE Here is the Cammaster’s story: It was purchased for two grand off of a small lot in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The car came with Pep Boys wheel covers which fell off right after purchase, so the owner pulled trim wheel rings off of a junkyard Chevy Astro van and they fit. It was a grandma's car with only 61 thousand miles. Oh boy and here's the good stuff! (eager giggling) Here comes the good stuff! One of the big dollar options for GM B-body cars from 1994 to 1996 was the 5.7 liter LT1 V8 engine which was the primary plant for the 1992 to 1996 Corvette C4 and the Chevrolet Impala SS. Now, now, it's- it's fine offering a big engine in an AARP car because that's- that's what you're trying to boast it- oh “this is the best car it has the best engine”, but you have to make the driving experience as predictable as voting straight party ticket, you know, but you- you can't let this engine run free, you have to temper it, you have to pull it back in with an automatic transmission. So General Motors used the GM 4L60 automatic transmission, which is fine, there's nothing wrong with that gearbox, but it's an automatic transmission in the classical sense. It's slushy and it's smooth, BUT HERE’S THE CAMMASTER’S PARTY TRICK: The owner removed the 4L60 automatic and swapped in a GM T56 6-speed manual from a ‘96 Camaro, so that's where you get the name: Roadmaster, Camaro, Cammaster, and now the LT1 engine is set free. It's allowed to do what it was made to do: RIP THE BACK TIRES OFF THIS CAR. *A video shows the Cammaster doing donuts in a parking lot. A text disclaimer pops up, stating, “Disclaimer: Regular Car Reviews did not take, nor was present For this footage. Regular Car Reviews does not condone or approve of reckless driving.”* No, seriously, the owner is done buying new tires for this. You can still buy used tires, he buys- he buys used tires because they're- they’re just gonna turn into smoke in two weeks, anyway. He cut a hole in the floor for the stick shift to fit through and then he took a sawzall to the floor pan/firewall for a clutch pedal, and off you go. Oh yeah, one other thing he had to pull up the seat cover fabric and cut away some of the seat foam in the middle here because it has a bench seat in the front, granted the two sides move in and out. Anyway, you had to cut- he had to cut out some foam here so the stick shift has room to move, ‘cause you have to put the stick shift here because this is where the gearbox is. There's no other place to put the- stick shift, so it has to go right here so you have to cut out room to make it fit- Oh, and then he added some simple bolt-on stuff: long tube headers, X-pipe mufflers, dumps, limited slip differential, 373 gears, AND NOW THIS CAR IS READY FOR WAR. Even with the bolt on mods, this car is making about 300 horsepower to the rear wheels, and no one expects this barge to be fast, especially RSX owners. At the time of filming, when we filmed this, the Cammaster needed a new steering rack. Not that the stock one was broken or anything, it just was no longer applicable because the original steering rack was a- for a grandma car, so it was big, you turn the wheel a lot to make small movements but when the back tires now all they want to do is break free. All the rear tires want to do is join the front tires. The rear end of the car just constantly wants to go around so you're out if you nail this thing on the highway. The rear end wants to come around so you're sawing away on this big wheel- He need to put- he needs to put a shorter- a tighter steering rack in there (OH SO TIGHT) so the car can just so- so you could make the tighter movements and the thing can be stable on the highway. The B-body itself was the last gasp of classic American cars. Those icons of old your Cadillac Fleetwoods and your Oldsmobile Custom Cruisers. They fell by the wayside as the word sedan became a four-letter word in spirit. Hell, even Volkswagen has taken to calling it sedans “coupes”, and that's because the crossover is king. The Roadmaster is a car you packed all your stuff in before leaving for college, and it's the car you stroll away from the dorm: Your mother in tears and your father trying to hold back his glee at being finally able to bang his wife without interruption from here on out. We need cars like this again. Cars that aren't ashamed to be big. I know you have the Escalade, but it's not the same. In an interview with Detroit News, Chevy Steve Ma-aaaah once said that the sedan is slowly being faded out because the smaller you go in the market, the more of a trend it becomes. He would go on to say SUVs have more expression to them more character to them they fit the multidimensionality, that's even a term, that people have in their lives, but I don't believe that statement. Our SUVs really that much more adaptable, that much more functional to the lives of your average consumer than a sedan? What is it about SUVs that speaks to so many consumers? What caused the death of the big American sedan? Well, I mean look at this: It's not exactly trendy looking, and it's beholden to an older way of thinking. One that gives up style in the name of function. We live in a society that's used to having it both ways. Form is supposed to match function, and vice versa. When something falters in one of those categories it becomes expendable, and the word “expendable” is unfairly paired with the term “old” in our modern way of thinking. Here's what I mean: This is the nuttiest car I've ever driven to date. Even weirder than the Toyota 4Runner build in Nederland, Colorado. The Cammaster, this creation is ludicrous because it's a angry rejection of old age discrimination. We expect the old or anything associated with age and the elderly to back step offstage and let the Young Turks to find trends, but this Roadmaster build is a representation of not going quietly into that gated community night. No, the Cammaster is right-wing Kaufman's chicken dinner conformist on one hand, and foul-mouthed aging punk rocker the next. When you look upon a Roadmaster, with its religious overtones and speakers that only play Michael W. Smith and maybe Wayne Newton on occasion you don't expect chaos, BUT WITH THE CAMMASTER, CHAOS IS WHAT YOU GET. This is the classic American car refusing to be ignored, not being pushed away by crossovers, not being pushed away by SUVs it's still out there and it's angry. It's like when you looked upon what appears to be a kindly old stationery store owner dressed in tweed, and then you realize he's William S. Burroughs. Yes, the only American writer to out-drink, out-drug, out-fornicate and out-crazy Hunter S. Thompson. The Cammaster is the William S. Burroughs of cars. --- OUTRO SONG by THE ROMAN You shocked me like a PS2 boot up sound When I started not forget to turn the volume down and bless it against the wall and not break my face Buick Roadmaster sedan it's not your time or place I'm sorry that you died