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New Member, Old Roadmaster


TX54
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Howdy All,

 

I've recently fulfilled a decade-long dream of owning a classic Roadmaster. Been lurking on the forums and have had a ball. Looking to continue the trend!

 

Meet my '54 72R. She arrived from Minnesota the other day. If any of you were previous owners, thanks for taking car of her!

 

-JT

 

72R1.jpg

72R2.jpg

72R3.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Ken! I have been having fun with this car. One interesting thing - the passenger side window would pull amps when the switch was activated but the window would not roll down. With the recent North Texas cold-spell, I had a hunch, cranked the car, and lo and behold, the window rolled down. I suppose several heat-cold cycles "stuck" the window in the guides. I took some silicone lubricant and generously applied to the felts + rails, and the window now functions as it should.

 

The next items for attention are:

 

1) Replacement of front shocks - I have

2) Service of rear shocks - the seals are bad where the lever arm goes into the dampener housing

3) Get speedometer repaired

4) Free up the thermostat control. It works, but tighter than I'd like

5) Repair defroster dampener cable (middle lever)

6) Identify exhaust leak - sounds like around driver side exhaust manifold

 

Two questions for Y'all:

 

1) In '54, I thought the Roadmaster cars were equipped with power brakes. Mine does not have. Was this a holdover due to the '53 power brake mishap?

2) The full name of the car is a Roadmaster Riviera Sedan, Model 72R. I thought the Riviera cars had the fully exposed rear wheel openings. What makes this car a Riviera (other than the designation)?

 

Thanks and have a wonderful evening,

 

JTF

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/6/2022 at 3:19 PM, TX54 said:

1) In '54, I thought the Roadmaster cars were equipped with power brakes. Mine does not have. Was this a holdover due to the '53 power brake mishap?

2) The full name of the car is a Roadmaster Riviera Sedan, Model 72R. I thought the Riviera cars had the fully exposed rear wheel openings. What makes this car a Riviera (other than the designation)?

1) A Roadmaster should def have power brakes.  Can we see a pic of the master cylinder?

2) I don't believe there is an R designation on the 4 door post sedans.  May I ask where you got that info?

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On 2/18/2022 at 2:48 PM, usnavystgc said:

1) A Roadmaster should def have power brakes.  Can we see a pic of the master cylinder?

2) I don't believe there is an R designation on the 4 door post sedans.  May I ask where you got that info?

Good morning Phil. Please see attached pictures. The first shows the R designation after the 72. The later are of the master cylinder.72R.JPG.145ea3cdcf03073788c4bda876a39885.JPG

bb1.JPG

bb2.JPG

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I am surprised that @MrEarl hasn't weighed in on this thread and those questions.  But like @usnavystgcindicated, by 1956 the full sized 4 dr sedans ( with full B Pillor  posts)didn't have a Riviera (R) designation. Only the hardtops (without B Pillor posts) were marketed as Rivera's.  I believe it was consistent with the smaller body lines as well but I don't know that for certain. I also believe prior to 1954 the full sized 4 dr "post" sedans were marketed as Rivera's.  And I thought it may have been because of the extended boby to incorporate those rear quarter windows. Again, can't say that is a definite fact, just my opinion and belief. 

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I looked in my copy of 70 Years of Buick and George Dammann lists the 1954 Roadmaster pillared 4-door sedan as Model 72R.  It does seem odd that all of the other "Rivieras" were pillarless coupes...

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On 2/20/2022 at 6:24 AM, TX54 said:

The later are of the master cylinder.

Well, that def looks like the same master cylinder that's been there its whole life so, gosh, a Roadie w/o power brakes.  It doesn't make a whole lot of sense but, I have to believe it cuz I'm looking at it.  I figured there would be evidence of someone replacing the original master cylinder but, I don't see any of that so, it looks like you def have a Roadie that came w/o power brakes.

 

In looking at the Hometown Buick website, it does say that power brakes were optional on the 72R.

Edited by usnavystgc (see edit history)
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On 2/20/2022 at 10:16 AM, JohnD1956 said:

I am surprised that @MrEarl hasn't weighed in on this thread and those questions. 

Thanks for tagging me on this JD, hadn't checked in in awhile. I use to know the story behind the early sedans being designated as R and Riviera but my memory isn't serving me as well these days. I seem to recall "maybe" that it was more of a trim package reference rather than based simply on the absence of a post and being a "hardtop convertible". @Pete Phillips can probably tell more on this...

The absence of power brakes on this Roadmaster very likely means it was an early production Roadmaster when in the fall of '53, Buick was being sued over several accidents involving brake failures of their Kelsey Hayes brake system. Some interesting reading is here in this one case of Comstock v. General Motors Corp.

https://casetext.com/case/comstock-v-general-motors-corp   It is my understanding that Buick suspended the power brake option on 1954 units until a fix was implemented on new jobs or perhaps it was until some of the lawsuits were settled.  It was also covered in later years by Ralph Nader in his book "Unsafe at any any speeds"

 

As the 1954 Buicks power brake system was somewhat improved and "maybe" safer, it is still bit of a troublesome "touchy" power system with several bulletins describing  problems and fixes. The power brake vac unit and pump, while not that complicated are very costly to have rebuilt/restored.   So actually TX54, I would count my blessings on having a non power brake system. The '54 Supers, having approximately the same weight but typically non power brake equipped stops just fine, so no worries for you. 

 

I will try and look up your body number in the next day or so and tell you what week/month your Roadmaster was built.

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3 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

Can we see some pics of the interior?  If I remember this car right, it had some nice plastic seat covers.  Did the sellers let you know where they got them from?  I would really like to get some of them.

Hello Phil - this car did not have plastic seat covers when I bought, but here are some pictures of the interior.

bbint1.JPG

bbint2.JPG

bbint3.JPG

bbint4.JPG

bbint5.JPG

bbint6.JPG

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Thanks @MrEarl! I appreciate the response and the effort spent to look up the car. Yes-I have found the car to stop fairly easy without too much pedal pressure needed. 

 

From memory, and looking this up from on Hometown Buick, take a look at the '50 72 and '50 72R. The difference in the sedans is in the Sweepspear's presence on the Riviera model. Perhaps Buick carried this forward on the Roadmaster line until the 4-door hardtops appeared.Explanation.JPG.dbf1351bdb3241a21e9df8ed745ca65a.JPG

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