Seyth Miersma recently had his own tale of conquering Snowpocalyse 2011 in the Mazda 2 long-termer around Ann Arbor. Since I work outside the Winding Road home office a few hours north, I’m privy to a more rural setting for my daily commuting, but that can bring with it a whole new set of problems when it comes to big snow. The 1994 Buick Roadmaster is still in my grasp; it has proven to be a staple of all-weather reliability and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to relay my own blizzard story as experienced behind the wheel of the Beast. It also gives me a chance to drop a few not-so-sneaky hints as to the new Flip This Car machine, which also happens to be a white sedan but is decidedly better suited for rallycross. Whoops, there’s a hint already.
A bit of time has passed since the Beast’s rallycross adventure. Truth is, winter has set in through these mid-Michigan parts, and the cold combined with the hustle and bustle of the holidays simply hasn’t left much time for neat-o things to do with the Roadmaster. And then last week the “other” car was sidelined by a disagreement between myself, a deer, and Sir Issac Newton. Yeah, the Beast is a daily driver just like the 1989 SHO was, but I leaned long ago to never fly solo when dabbling with older fixer-uppers. Well, while the insurance company decides what to do with car number one, the old Roadmaster is now well and truly the single vehicle in this household. If you’re curious how that makes me feel, let me sum it up in two words: Just fine.
Entering the small dirt oval at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds, I was the subject of some attention. Situated among a host of Japanese runabouts and numerous other cars that could fit in the trunk of the Beast, I had no hope of being inconspicuous. In retrospect, signing this car up for a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Rallycross event likely wasn’t the best use of the Buick’s ability, but from the moment I spied this car sitting on gigantic truck tires, I knew it was destined for an off-road adventure. That adventure materialized on Saturday December 4, as the Beast and I made a 200 mile round trip to compete in Round 10 of the Detroit Region SCCA Rallycross—the season ender—in Marshall, Michigan. If you’ve already spied the destroyed orange cone in the photo gallery, you’ve likely deduced that things didn’t go so well. In that assessment, you would be correct.
When it comes to collector cars, the last year of a particular model run is usually the one people want, and the sixth-generation Impala SS is no different. 1996 is the only year for the floor-shifted automatic, as well as a standard gauge cluster and tachometer which replaced the digital units from 1994 and 1995.
Lest you think the Winding Road team is all about turbos and corner-carving, here’s a shout out to the muscle loving, bigger-is-better crowd and their definitive late-model flagship, the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS. Lord Vader, your car is now a Keeper.