The Roadmaster was Buick’s flagship sedan from 1936 to 1958 (and again from 1991 to 1996).
The origins of the Roadmaster name date to 1936 when Buick added names to its entire model lineup. The 1936 Buick sales catalog said, the Roadmaster "literally named itself the first time a test model leveled out on the open highway."
The Roadmaster line quickly became the most significant representation of the Buick brand, bringing forward impressive design, styling and luxury features. Buick became known as the brand that provided premium luxury and style at an affordable price. Several styling features introduced on the Roadmaster became Buick-wide styling cues. These include VentiPorts and the Sweepspear.
The Roadmaster received its first major postwar restyling in 1949. The biggest change was a much larger two-piece, curved glass windshield that the sales brochure described as like an “observation car.” It was also in 1949 that Buick introduced "VentiPorts." Four were displayed on each of the Roadmaster's front fenders, with three on the fenders of all other Buicks. The sales brochure noted that VentiPorts helped ventilate the engine compartment. The idea for VentiPorts grew out of a modification Buick styling chief Ned Nickles had added to his own 1948 Roadmaster. Four amber lights were installed on each side of the car’s hood which were wired to the distributor. The lights flashed on and off as each piston fired which was supposed to simulate the flames from the exhaust stack of a fighter airplane. Combined with the bombsight mascot, VentiPorts put the driver at the controls of an imaginary fighter airplane. Buick chief Harlow Curtice was so impressed with this styling feature that he ordered that non-lighting VentiPorts be installed on all 1949 Buicks, with the number of VentiPorts (three or four) corresponding to the relative displacement of the straight-eight engine installed. VentiPorts were a distinctive part a Buick-wide styling cues that over time appeared on almost every Buick model.
Another styling cue from the 1940s was the Sweepspear, a curved trim line running almost the length of the car. Introduced as an option on the 1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera hardtop coupe, the original Sweepspear was a chrome-plated steel rub strip which began level over the front wheel, gently curved down across the front fender and door, dove nearly to the rocker panel just ahead of the rear wheel, then flared up and over the rear wheel before leveling off again into a straight run back to the tail-light.
The "Riviera trim", as it was initially called, was made available on the Roadmaster convertible very late in the '49 model year. It proved so popular that by the 1951 model year it was made a standard feature on all Buicks. During the two-tone color craze of the 1950s, it separated two different color areas.
The all-new 2017 Buick LaCrosse introduces the new face of Buick, influenced by the dramatic cues of the award-winning Avenir concept unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and inspired by a Buick concept from the mid-20th century.
The LaCrosse features a new grille design with a large opening distinguished by the return of a three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, accented by wing-shaped elements set against darkened waterfall grille bars inspired by the 1954 Wildcat II concept. The Buick tri-shield is rooted in the ancestral coat of arms of the automaker’s founder, David Dunbar Buick.“The new LaCrosse is drop-dead gorgeous and signals the next phase of Buick’s international momentum,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick. “Its quietness, comfort and connectivity were developed to set new standards in the segment, supported by technologies not offered on competitors such as the Lexus ES.”
Longer, lower and wider than the current model, the 2017 LaCrosse is built on a stronger yet lighter structure. It is about 300 pounds lighter than the current LaCrosse – largely due to the use of press-hardened, high-strength steels – which contribute to greater efficiency and more responsive handling.
The new LaCrosse’s lower weight is also due in part to new lower mass sound-absorbing materials including a lightweight dissipative dash mat in place of heavier noise-blocking pads that result in a new threshold for Buick’s signature QuietTuning.
The balance of the efficiency equation comes from a technologically advanced, second-generation 3.6L V-6 engine paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard Stop/Start technology improves efficiency in stop-and-go driving.
True to its heritage, the 2017 LaCrosse is Buick’s new flagship sedan.