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1993 Roadmaster, Good choice for first car?


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My son just turnesd 16, not mature enough for driving yet. He will want a car before long and I picked up a one owner 1993 Roadmaster last night with 105,000. Very clean, garage kept. A good choice for a first car? I don't care for all of the Cobalts and the like most kids get and thought a bigger car would be better. Any thoughts?

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I think in general the mid 90s Buicks coming from a pampered home are some of the best transportation deals going for a young driver. The best thing is they seem to be easy to find in excellent garage kept condition dirt cheap. He may moan about the model but if he does, simply tell him he can walk or get a job and buy his own car and insurance. Having said that while bigger can be a good thing compared to say a Ford Fiesta but behemoth size like the Roady could be a problem for backing, parking, maneuvering etc. Keep in mind that car also has a huge back seat which could end up costing him, and you, alot of money down the road. LOL. Something like a century would be a nice compromise.

Most kids I know including my nephews are way too spolied and "demand" a certain type of car from mommy and daddy. I worked from the time I was 11 saving money to buy my first vehicle when I turned 16 and actually bought it when I was 15 so I could work on it and have it ready to go the day I turned 16.

I know I know..........kind of like the story of walking up hill both directions to school but I'm not even that old. LOL

Post a pic of the car if you get a chance

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I am headed out to pick it up right now. It's up in Punxsutawney, ( I'll need to check the trunk for Groundhogs) It has a new battery, full tank of gas and the obligatory mats on mats covering the carpet. I'll get pictures and post them.

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I concur, it sounds like a great find . . . but usually not what a young male might think they need. Until, of course, they get out on a quiet country road and unleash that LT1's power. You can point out, carefully, that it's the same (except for some items, like rear disc brakes, wheels/tires) car as the Impala SS, but in more luxurious form.

The added size and bulk can make it better, but I also see many high school age males driving Buick Century/Regal and LeSabre fwd sedans around here. PLUS, there's a great online community in the RegalGS website! Similarly, many of these cars have been "estate cars" and are very reasonably-priced. But, with less rear seat leg room than the Roadmaster, generally.

I'd say play it and see how it goes. Point out the fact he can build up his arms and chest doing washing and waxing operations . . . hehe. No doubt, he will have the most comfortable car of ANY of his friends! Just control any urges for "sound systems" or other things . . . in reality, the factory radio can prove to be much better than he ever suspected . . . once he learns how to work it. Some replacement speakers might be needed, over time, though, but that's all.

Good luck!

NTX5467

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I think it's a perfect first car. The large size is not just safer, but learning how to master driving a big car pays off with a better driver. At least in theory anyway. If he can drive the car successfully and learn good judgment of his car and the space around it, then when he drives a smaller car he will have a better understanding of a safe distance whether he is driving on a highway or parking in a spot. And hopefully he won't try to squeeze a smaller car into a spot on the road that it shouldn't be squeezed into. i.e. cutting somebody off. There is also some aftermarket stuff available for those cars ala the SS Impalas if he'd like to make it his own. Popular Mechanics I think it was, put a set of Buick road wheels on a Roadmaster wagon and it looked good. I think the wheels were from the 70s.

I hope he comes to enjoy the car.

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I agree a larger car is the best choice but I gave all of my kids a car with out a back seat. Solves lots of other problems. Son had a Fiero, daughter had a Reatta a and now my grand daughter will have a Reatta. Too many teen kids in a car cause problems.

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Guest my3buicks
I concur, it sounds like a great find . . . but usually not what a young male might think they need. Until, of course, they get out on a quiet country road and unleash that LT1's power. You can point out, carefully, that it's the same (except for some items, like rear disc brakes, wheels/tires) car as the Impala SS, but in more luxurious form.

Good luck!

NTX5467

I do not believe the 93's had the LT1, that came in 94

They are great driving cars, alot for a young person to handle, and I would believe if you look into it, maybe safer crash choices, but still safe. Winter driving will be iffy in comparison to lets say a same year LeSabre. Maintenance/repairs on these can get expensive, I have a friend with two of them, and some of the parts and repairs they have needed have been substantial and expensive.

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I purchased the car for $1,000, Her asking price, so i couldn't pass it up. My wife may even drive it a bit as she said she gets tired shifting gears in her Jeeep Patriot. I drove it home last evening and my only disappointment was the lack of drivers side legroom. I am 6' 4" and the dash seems to "hang down" pretty far.

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These can be a great driving car, and at his age he does NOT need the LT-1 driveline. It is likely the 5.0L (305ci) which is more than enough to motivate the big beautiful Roadmaster.

Regrettably I missed out 2 years ago on a 1996 Roadmaster, also garage-kept here in New Orleans with only 37,xxx miles for $3,750. It is now a taxicab making Airport runs (and smells like a camel when I last saw it). We do enjoy our two 1995 & 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams which are certainly very similar to the Roadmaster.

We hope our kids will have the skill and the good fortune to avoid traffic accidents, but when it happens they are always better off with more physical mass surrounding them. I'll take the Roadie over any lesser car for the sake of survival, as well as the pure pleasure of driving comfort. With proper tires and shocks it will also handle quite well - I still prefer a FULL-FRAME REAR-WHEEL-DRIVE vehicle for many applications (see my signature).

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Edited by Marty Roth
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As a young guy who got 1994 lesabre as a first car I can say that you should probably dirve the car yourself and find something else for your son. I don't know your son personally but I know for a fact that I got in plenty of trouble with a fwd lesabre with just the v6. If I had a rwd v8 I would have probably lost my license more than just the one time I did. I know kids are gonna have fun no matter what but a car of that size with v8 power and rwd is asking for many a rear tire replacement on a regular basis. Lots of friends will also fit in this car which is illegal at least in Ohio. I got cought more than once for that but I had the car that everybody fit in and the extra gas money was always so tempting. Also a car of that size( mainly the wideness of that car) will make parking lot manuvering more complicated which is something your kid will do every day at school, anything that happens to the car will effect its nice 1 owner 100,000 mile niceness. JUst my .02 Coming from a 20 year old.

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The 5.0L V-8, if that's what it has, will be good enough for normal driving. In some respects, I suspect the "width" of the car might be a little deceiving when compared to a prior-gen Caprice-type car . . . which was linear on the side contours, front to rear, compared to the rounded bodies which GM seemed in love with later on. I don't recall those cars being larger, laterally, inside than the square-body Caprices, so I suspect a good bit of the major architecture of the body is pretty much the same size as the older Caprices, just the outer sheet metal was changed. Similarly, I don't think the Roadmaster is wider than the 2000 LeSabre or Park Avenue.

One thing I noticed, early on, about that generation of Roadmaster was that the front doors didn't seem to open as wide as the earlier Caprices, yet the hinge part numbers were the same. As if the sheet metal dimensions caused this? I didn't notice this same thing on the Impalas and Cadillacs, though. I looked at that situation several times and kind of came to the conclusion that it was the sheet metal contours on the Buick which seemed to make it look that way, to me, at least. The LeSabres and PAs seemed to have "normal" door swing-out distances, though.

Looks like there will be TWO who'll learn to deal with driving the Roadmaster! Perhaps the Jeep might be the son's new vehicle?

In ANY event, "no more passengers than there are seat belt locations"! NO matter -- period!

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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You could always hide a small block of wood under the rug where the gas pedal. Just get the right size that will allow a legal top speed but will stifle any fast acceleration.

My grandfather did this many years back for himself when he got a car that went too fast for his liking.

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I am the BCA tech adviser for 1991 to 1996 Roadmasters. They are an old man's car. If cars were not so much a social symbol it would be a logical choice, durable, safe, reliable, and just the ideal for the anachronistic 50-55 year old. I'm pretty sure that was the guy they designed it for. I was about 45 when they first came out and still remember the black one on the turntable at the auto show "sequins in my eyes", I swore it was a black 1956 turning there.

My daughter's first car was a 1965 Electra in 1998, she hated the stigma attached to it. When she graduated from college I gave her a 1994 Roadmaster. It did not fit into life in Boston.

Youth is a sensitive time. Values are different. Selling the car and putting together a fund to buy something he picks out with guidance would be a good route to go. I have always been partial to a small pickup as a first car. That Buick can carry six fertile and creative young minds at one time, only two in a truck!

The '93 is a 5.7 TBI engine.

I still remember being 16 years old and my father taking me to see the "perfect" car, a 1961 Ford Country Squire, Stick-six, brown. Oh, God, do fathers get in wrong. Ask my daughter.

Bernie

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Sorry Bernie, I respect your thoughts, but,

I have to disagree with the idea of a small pickup as a first car for a young driver. The weight distribution leaves too little rear traction in the event of an emergency situation, and all-too-frequently results in a skid, and the vehicle swapping ends - and the youthful driver is more likely to get him/herself into that situation than one who is more experienced. The other factor is the idea of getting rear-ended in a small pickup, where the driver and passenger's head go into (or through) the rear window - I've seen this too! Greater mass still protects the occupants.

Additionally, the more nimble size of a small pickup tend to imbue the youthful driver with extreme bravado, thinking that they can squeeze through tighter spaces. Too many drivers today never are taught to leave a safe distance when changing lanes, or when passing. Just last evening on our way to our AACA Chapter meeting, while doing the speed limit in the center lane of I-610 eastbound, a teen in a small import pickup cut in on me so close that I thought I might hace to repaint my front bumper. She wasn't trying to get to an exit, or even passing a left-laner on the right -- just cruising on down the road at about 15-20 mph over the limit with the sound system blasting. This was not an isolated incident. Sometimes it just comes down to attitude, I guess.

My preference is to put enough steel, and enough airbags around them until they gain the degree of wisdom and skill which seems only to come with time. My grandson has driven the '54 caddy on tour, the '41 Caddy on local activities, and the '37 Roadmaster enough to develop a degree of respect for their power, as well as some of their limitations - but he is still a kid. He wants a pickup, but it will be some time before that happens if I have any control in the plan. Chalk it up to parenting/grandparenting?

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Here is an example of the concept being lost in details. Forget the truck idea. Take out the rear seat and put bucket seats in any young person's car. The concept is to eliminate the number of two pound brains in a single car. A large car carrying two is the ticket. This is THE style for a 16 year old:

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When I was 16 or 17 I actually had a 1955 Pontiac that had been customized in a similar way. It was a dark blue four door with the rear doors welded shut and the roof moved forward. Sold it and I think I bought a pick up and started a little side business, oops! A young person, self employed, insufficient government mandated protection I'm heading for trouble.......

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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