Saturday 28 January 2017
The Buick Electra is a full-size luxury car that was built by Buick from 1959 to 1990. Harlow H. Curtice, former president of the Buick division and later president of General Motors, named the car after his sister-in-law, Electra Waggoner Biggs.
During its more than 30-year run, Electra was offered in varying body styles including coupe, convertible, sedan, and station wagon. The Electra was replaced by the Buick Park Avenue in 1991.
GM downsized all C-body cars in 1977, including the Electra. It lost over 11 inches (279 mm) in length and quite a bit of weight too. The car was totally redesigned, but still offered base 225 and Limited trims, plus a top-line Park Avenue option package, which became available on the coupe. The console option in the Park Avenue was gone, never to return to the rear wheel drive Electra. The downsized model brought increased sales, with 161,627 Electras produced in 1977. Hardtops were no longer produced; all models now had thick "B" pillars.
The big-block 455 was gone forever. The base engine was now the Buick 350 with a 4-barrel carburetor until 1979. The Oldsmobile 403 was optional from 1977 to 1979. Oldsmobile's 350 diesel was added to the option list beginning in 1980, along with an Oldsmobile-sourced 307. The Buick 350 was now optional, with the base engine being the Buick 4.1 L V6 for improved fuel economy. In 1981, the then-optional Buick 350 was dropped. That same year, the Electra gained the new THM200-4R automatic transmission, which featured a lock-up torque converter and a 0.67:1 overdrive ratio. With the new transmission, the Electra could be equipped with a numerically higher rear axle ratio for better performance, while offering improved fuel economy with the overdrive range.
Park Avenue, previously an appearance option package, became an official trim level on the Electra in 1978. Cosmetically, a different grille and redesigned tail lights were the only notable cosmetic changes that year but 1979 brought a redesigned, flat front end and a subtly different taillight treatment featuring a Buick crest and bisecting horizontal silver line. It didn't last as the 1980 Electra went back to its earlier 1977 roots but with a new grille featuring vertical slats. Also in 1980, Buick completely dropped the "225" moniker leaving just Limited and Park Avenue trims.
For the first time since 1959, Electras didn't have four VentiPorts in 1981. The 1981 model saw very few changes from the 1980 restyle but it got a modified grille and new powertrains. The top-line Electra Park Avenue model continued to show 4 small depressions with stickers in the chrome moulding on its front fenders until they were completely gone in 1985. Production of the rear-wheel drive Electra ceased in April 1984. Technically this was the last year of the rear wheel drive C-body, as it was renamed the D-body and would continue on under the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, and later the 1987–92 Cadillac Brougham and finally the 1993–96 Cadillac Fleetwood. The next large rear wheel drive Buick sedan would be the 1992–96 Roadmaster, sharing the same B-body as the Chevrolet Caprice and GM's last full-size rear wheel drive station wagons.
The Buick Estate Wagon was also downsized for 1977. It had been a separate model in its own right since 1970, alternatively sharing chassis and styling with both the Electra and LeSabre. In stark contrast to 1975–76 when it shared Electra's 127.0-inch (3,230 mm) wheelbase and used LeSabre's front end styling, the new Estate Wagon shared LeSabre's B-body and used Electra's front-end styling. After the rear wheel drive Electra was discontinued, the Estate Wagon continued to be produced with the rear wheel drive Electra's front end fascia until 1990 when it was replaced by the Buick Roadmaster Estate.
- engine: V8
- capacity: 5000 cc
- horsepower: 180 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 180 km/h