We’ve spent a lot of time with the 1977-96 B and C body cars, but next to none with Buick’s 1977-84 C-Body entry, the Electra/Park Avenue. Fortunately, I have the solution: my own car.
The basic story of the 1977 downsize of GM’s B and C body cars has been told in great detail on this site. GM had concluded its largest cars had gotten too unwieldy, nimbler foreign imports were making inroads–especially in the luxury market–and, though these were already in the works when it happened, the 1973 crisis amplified that desire to downsize. The result was a new 1977 Buick Electra that was almost 1,000 lbs lighter and 10-11 inches shorter than its 1975-76 predecessors, which were 5,000 lb gunboats powered by Buick’s 455 V8, cars which rivaled the 1971-76 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and 1973-79 Lincoln Continental in length and weight, and were in fact longer than the Sedan DeVille of those years.
Although it rode on a 118.9 wheelbase, slightly shorter than Cadillac’s 121.5 in, the new Electra was actually GM’s longest sedan for 1977-79, leaving its Cadillac DeVille/Fleetwood and Oldsmobile 98 cousins about an inch in arrears. Like the other GM downsized models, despite its trimmer dimensions, and along with some improved mileage, the Electra picked up some additional interior capacity. It also sported what may be the most extreme aspects of that era’s boxy look, squared-off, boxy tail fins which may be the last real set of tail fins on an American car: the Electra’s hindquarters are actual plumage, not just blade tipped fenders a la its cousin the DeVille/Fleetwood.
My Electra was built at the General’s Linden, New Jersey plant in October of 1976, possibly only days after Gerald Ford, who had been catching up to Jimmy Carter in the presidential race, had famously declared in a debate that there was “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” which no doubt contributed to his narrow loss to Carter a few weeks later. Symbolizing the decline of manufacturing in the Northeast since that time, the Linden plant, which was bulldozed about 10 years ago, is today largely vacant rubble, a crater in the suburban industrial landscape along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. At that time, though, many Buicks started their lives there.
This particular Goddess is the 225 trim level, which by 1977 was the base model, and far and away the least popular version. Some 161,627 1977 Electras were sold, almost 75% of which were Limited Sedans and Coupes, and the number of 225s would drop off each year thereafter, until the model was dropped for 1980.
The next level up from the 225 was the Electra Limited, and then the top-of-the line, the Electra Limited Park Avenue, Goddess of Goddesses, the closest you could get to a owning a new Cadillac without actually buying one (or, as so many traditional conservative Buick buyers saw it, the proper and discreet way to purchase a GM luxury car; those “Broughams” over at Oldsmobile and Cadillac are so tacky, you know). As far as I can tell, the real differences in trim levels were in options, especially upholstery.
My 225 comes with a cloth and vinyl full bench seat, the lowliest and blandest option, right out of a middle-trim Caprice.
Pony up some extra cash, however, and you could walk on the wild side to the interesting Hefner-esque tufted tiger pattern (inviting driver not included),
or the 60/40 split bench crushed velour of the Park Avenue, which was not available on the more plebian 225 and Limited levels and was optional even on the Parkie.
You could also check off a lot of options that would normally be found on the typical Cadillac: Vigi-Lite lamp monitors, automatic climate control, tilt and telescope steering, automatic level control, you name it, the “Ultimate Buick” provided it. But other than those differences, length, width, and interior room was the same throughout the trim levels.
Engine options were plentiful for ’77, along with the standard 155 HP Buick 350 V8 in my 225, a 185HP Oldsmobile 403 V8 was also available, and the 170 HP Oldsmobile 350 V8 was standard in California and at high altitudes. These offerings would continue in 1978-79 models (both of which featured minor exterior redesigns) and were mated to the TurboHydramatic 350 3-speed automatic transmission.
For the 1980 restyle, which jettisoned the tailfins and formalized the roofline, a 4.1L Buick V6 became standard, with the Buick 350 V8 staying on one last year as an option, before the 1981-84 models which offered either the 4.1L V6, Oldsmobile 307, or Olds 350 diesel with the TurboHydramatic 200R4 overdrive transmission. Sales would drop back into the mid 120,000 range as the 1970s drew to a close, and no doubt decreased further as the early 80s wore on.
It’s my view that these were truly the last hurrah for the big V8 Buick, with Venti-Ports and sinister grilles reminiscent of late 1950s models. After all, the 1990s Roadmaster rides on the B-Body, like the lesser 1977-85 LeSabre, and had the Venti-Ports on the sail panels!
The Flint built Buick 350 in my car is a torquey, smooth engine, with a very long stroke. It has good pickup around town, cruises comfortably between 55-75 mph on the highway, and while slow by modern standards, reaches 60 mph in a little over 11 seconds. Being a pre-1981 model, it also lacks the elaborate emissions control spaghetti found in the later 307 powered cars. For me, that means that I can solve the simpler problems myself (like that $18 spark plug change), and the many that I elect to refer to the experts are not prohibitively expensive.
My 225 is, in many ways, what folks who want a big luxury car without getting a brougham would most appreciate. It’s got many of the basic features: a/c, power seats, power steering and power windows, without the tiger-lady, coach lamp disco era bric-a-brac. To the extent an eighteen and a half foot long car with tail fins and whitewall tires can be considered understated, it is.
When I bought the car, it was still the yellow color in the featured brochure picture below I thought it looked hideous, plus, I don’t have a sky blue tuxedo with matching ruffle shirt to wear while driving it, so I opted to redo it in the Dark Green paint code available that same year. At one time, my car also had a vinyl roof, but after 35 years in the North Carolina sun, it was removed, in many ways to the car’s benefit. While I think a white full vinyl roof would improve its looks, it wouldn’t go with the mocha cloth and vinyl interior, which, unfortunately, is not in tip-top shape. Though comfortable and free of stains, the Dixie sunshine and, I suspect, its inherent frailness mean it is slowly shredding away.
The Goddess was originally owned by a train conductor for the railroad, then headed south with him. I bought it from his son with 65,000 miles. I had been living in Manhattan for two years and due to several out of state licenses was being called upon to make out of town court appearances to increase firm business, but had had to rent a car every time.
I also wanted to travel more on weekends but always seemed to get stuck with the same Impala at Hertz, so I went hunting on craigslist for big, old-fashioned game. Having owned a 1987 Cadillac Brougham for 7 years, I knew from painful experience that I wanted a car with no computer, mileage be darned. Initially, I was looking for the last of the big 1975-79 Continentals, but, not finding any good ones nearby at the time, turned back to my old GM downsized standbys.
After a tuneup, new exhaust system, ignition, lots of Marvel Mystery Oil to clear up a lifter tick,it has been a pretty solid performer these last few years, accompanying me on road trips, moving my ex-girlfriend to Chicago (and back), and taking me to court appearances outside of New York City when there are no railroad connections near the courthouse. At the same time, gas mileage hasn’t been THAT bad (overall 14-16 mpg), and repairs have been pretty straightforward.
All of the power accessories still work, and the 37 year old R-12 air conditioner still pumps out chilly air on hot days. It handles well for its size, rides smoothly, and you have to love a simple climate control system with sliding levers you could operate blind. More recently, I had the shocks replaced; the Manhattan shot shows the rear end beginning to droop before the change.
We will be parting ways, however, since I will soon be putting the Goddess up for sale. Having spent the last ten years driving two 1977-96 Cadillacs and this C-Body, I am looking to try something new. Not “new”, mind you, but another big boat designed by someone else. As long as I live in Manhattan and use my cars only for out of town trips once or twice a week, I’ll never be concerned about gas mileage or the ideal daily driver, so I might as well enjoy myself, and am seriously considering an upsize: a ’75-’76 DeVille or 98, or a ’75-’79 Continental. We shall see, but in the meantime, the Goddess has certainly made for some divine driving.
Shocks don’t control ride height springs do, unless they’re coil-overs.
The shocks I replaced were air shocks in back, which had a manual feed that you could refill them with; similar to a setup I had installed on my Brougham when the level ride system quit and I didn’t feel like paying an arm and a leg for a new one. When those shocks crap out, you do lose ride height–happened on both cars.
When I replaced them with conventional rear shocks, the ride height increased. You can see it in the pictures–the Manhattan shot is taken before, all the others, after.
I did not know the 77-79 Cadillacs were a tad shorter than the largest Buicks. I knew the Cadillacs had a longer wheelbase but they were shorter too? When I saw the article was from Orrin I knew there would be a gripe or two about the 307 vacuum lines and you did not disappoint 🙂 For your next car why not a 77-79 Fleetwood with the Ved out B-pillar? That’s a way better car than those Lincolns you’re looking at.
Nice looking Buick you have there. The first downsized B/C-body I ever rode in as a kid was same as your car. I thought GM was going to take over the world, that’s how good the quietness and refinement were (both at a “wow” level) and I knew from the rags that the new smaller GM sedans handled really well. No wonder GM market share peaked at around this time.
People will debate all day on what’s better, GM vs. Ford vs. Mopar. I’m keeping my options open, as they say. I would kind of like to try a pre-downsized GM or Ford out, since as I said, gas mileage and everyday use is not a concern. Although I live in the city, they pretty much only get driven on the highway, if that makes sense.
Yes, according to every brochure, manual, and website, the 77-79 Cadillac was shorter, I believe it came in at 221.0 or 221.1 inches; the Electra is 222.1 (and the Olds 98 is 220.9). Of course, since the big Fords and the New Yorker were still around, that didn’t make the Electra the longest production car. The shorter wheelbase on the Electra translated into a bigger trunk (20.4 vs. 19.6 cu. ft on the Cadillac) and slightly less rear legroom, as far as I can tell. It also feels visually smaller.
The 1980 redesign was shorter than the Cadillac, I believe, and stayed that way.
I actually owned a 1977 Park Avenue about a decade ago for a year or so, and I don’t think I ever knew they were longer than the Cadillac! I did notice that it barely fit in the garage where I was living at the time, and seemed acres longer than my 1976 Monte Carlo. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the 1977 downsize GMs. The fins and big horizontal taillights look so elegant, and I always loved the modern architectural flair of the slanted front ends. Oh, and it had the best dash of all of them. Here’s a picture of the slightly tired one I had, in the lovely light metallic green.
I saw one in that exact shade about a year ago on Long Island. It, and a copper Coupe that I think I saw on craigslist and recently passed going the other way on the Drive, are the only ’77s I can remember seeing. I was much more familiar with the ’80-’84 as a kid…and knew it as the Park Avenue, not the Electra.
What happened with yours?
The car was original but a little too “tired” for me — I think I bought it for about $1200. The paint was original and the body was good, but the paint had faded in the California sun to where it would need a respray, which I didn’t want to deal with. It was a good, solid runner, though. I sold it on Ebay and it went to the Netherlands (or was it Sweden)? Older Buicks seem to be very popular in both countries.
Interesting. I note yours also came with a normal front fender antenna. Mine is cursed with the windshield antenna, thus has been rewired for a magnetic, removable antenna in back.
I think mine had the power antenna in the front fender — I can’t remember if it worked or not. I think maybe it did, although I’m wondering why it was up in this photo unless the engine was running.
Count me in as well among those who didn’t know that the ’77 Electra is longer than its DeVille sister. I knew that was true about the previous generation, having owned both a ’74 Electra and a ’76 Sedan deVille. In fact, the 1974-76 Electra specs out within about an inch of a 1974-76 Fleetwood Brougham. Because the wheelbase is shorter than the Caddy, the extra length on the ’74 Electra was all in the rear overhang — giving it noticeably more trunk space than the not-so-bootylicious boot of the Cadillac.
Before I took the pictures, I attempted to find a ’77-’92 Brougham to put it next to for just such a comparison shot. No dice, I passed some ’77-92s on the highway but never parked.
I’m not sure I know the reason behind it; whether it was a conscious effort by Buick or some kind of tradition.
I DO suspect that the P.A. got shortened for 1980 when GM realized that it and not the Cadillac would be America’s “longest production car” for 1980 with the discontinuance of the Lincoln and Chrysler in the previous two years. I’m sure that led to the elimination of the fins and an inch or so of length so the Cadillac could now claim to be the biggest and, in theory, finniest car on the market.
Of course, this also highlighted the fact that Fleetwood had lost its special, longer body and interior appointments and had been essentially reduced to a trim level like the Park Avenue vs. Limited on the Buick.
But that large clock on the passenger side of the dash. Even Flava Flav would have thought it was over the top.
Great car! I’m a fan of green, and I’m glad you repainted it from that horrible yellow with a factory green. I like your description of the red interior as “Hefner-esque”. We need a new term as “whore house red” seems to get overused 😉 I’ve never been a huge fan of the “loose pillow” interiors so popular during this era, but that blue Park Avenue interior is going to give me nightmares of being swallowed up in its folds.
My 1977 Buick brochure doesn’t have the seductive women in it. It has the picture of the yellow Electra with the blue tuxedo wedding though. Must be the “family-oriented” version.
I’m trying to figure that picture out, I’m assuming the groom is in the white tuxedo and the best men are in blue, where’s the bride? Or is the grooms open armed expression towards the Electra indicating that he married the Electra? Is that legal? Maybe the guy in the white tux is the father of the bride and he’s complaining about spending all this money on the wedding just after buying this snazzy new Electra? Buick did have some odd brochure shots in the 70s’, like the Halloween/monster themed LeSabre Sport Coupe shot
I’ll have to check when I get home this evening, but I do recall another picture with the bride in it (I may be wrong though). I’ll have to look when I get home.
Buick absolutely had the weirdest brochure shots. Olds had some weird ones too, but Buick seemed to pick wilder settings and themes for their brochures.
dare I say it, but that’s a pretty sexy LeSabre sport coupe.
I remember when I first discovered the LeSabre Sport Coupe, there was a family at church that had one when I was a kid, we had a LeSabre Limited coupe, they used to park close to us on Sundays, so I would always sneak a peek at their Sport Coupe, it was a 1979. same year as our, but it even had the rare bucket seats.
There is a tiny picture on the opposite page with the bride, but she’s barely noticeable. It’s from the rear-view and you can only see her through the back window.
Great story, I really like the car. The green color really suits it and it must look and feel marvelous driving up Broadway. I hope you enjoy the next one as much. This is one of the few times that I think the wire wheels really work.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Electra that lightly equipped. From the photo of the a/c controls I see that there’s no passenger side mirror or rear defogger. (the third space above the HVAC controls was for the tailgate window switch on the wagons)
Nice color choice too. Still very ’70s, but not hideously so. Let’s hope the Goddess doesn’t end up donked under new ownership!
Very nice. I think the Electra may have been the most attractive of the 1977-79 C bodies. I think this one looks very nice in dark green. I am generally not a fan of full color changes, but I really hate that yellow/tan combo.
FWIW, I think you would find a 70s Lincoln more satisfying than one of the 71-76 GM C bodies. The GM cars are not nearly as tight of a structure as you have grown used to. The Lincoln is a genuine cruiser that had the smoothest and quietest ride of anything built in those years. And I spent a fair amount of time in both.
My curiosity about them, vs. GM, is the availability of parts…not trim pieces but guts. I’ve always wanted one.
The 460 and C6 were found in lots of FoMoCo cars and trucks, so I would think that make-it-stop-and-go parts would be plentiful.
The 1975-79 Lincolns are indeed great big rolling living rooms built like tanks — which also drive like tanks. Be prepared for ponderous handling, even by land yacht standards, and single digit MPG. Also, IMO the Ford electronic ignition of the period isn’t as foolproof as GM’s HEI. I had a ’77 Town Car that stranded me a couple of times. At least when it wasn’t running, it wasn’t sucking down fuel at 9.5 MPG.
At a minimum, I’m planning to take a couple of test drives. No way I would consider getting either the prior generation GM or Ford without trying them out and seeing how they handle. If they really are too much for me, or I otherwise don’t like them, I will stick with what I have. No impulse purchases here.
It is indeed very bare bones for what is arguably GM’s second (if you don’t count Fleetwood v. DeVille) most prestigious sedan. I think the original owner stretched to the max to buy himself a big new Buick, or just had extremely conservative tastes and wanted a car like the one in the brochure.
Beautiful car, sounds like you take very good care of it, and I like the metallic green on it too. I hope it finds a new owner that appreciates it just as much.
Not to put down your car at all, but I suppose this is another example of “name debasement” at GM. The Electra 225 was originally the top-of-the-line Electra in 1959. As you said, by 1977 it was the base model.
Orrin, have you considered an earlier-generation car? I feel that 1967-1968 was perhaps the best era for American luxury cars that can still be used as daily drivers: 1967 had no emissions equipment, 1968 had only minimal emissions junk, shoulder belts were very common by 1968, collapsible steering columns were standard in 1968 (but already common in 1967). And if you check out a Mopar C-body from those years, you’ll find very high-quality interior materials.
I haven’t driven a Ford or GM product from that era, but I can attest that the ’67 Imperial is a spectacular highway cruiser–surprisingly “modern.” I recently drove from Dallas to Oklahoma City twice, once in a rented Kia Optima and once in my Imperial. The Optima was twitchy, peaky, and kind of exhausting. The Imperial wafted along at 80 mph and left me feeling just fine. It may not be a canyon-carver, but something similar might suit your needs quite well.
The real problem with pre-1968 era cars is the brakes. Many were drum only and even the front disk set-ups were not really up to modern standards. Heck, the brakes on the 1977 C bodies were marginal at best. There is also parts availability: C bodies after 1977 have very easy to obtain replacement parts, while old stuff is much more difficult.
The great thing about these cars is they are close to modern ideas of handling and stopping. The same cannot be said for something a decade older.
I wonder how hard it would be to adapt rear disc brakes to a 1977 and up big GM car, they had 4 wheel disc brakes on the BIG Eldorado from 1976-1978 and on the 1979 and up cars, plus 4 wheel disc were standard on the Fleetwood and Seville in 1978, 4 wheel discs were also optional on the last 77-78 RWD Rivieras too, so I can’t imagine that it would be too hard to adapt.
Specialty aftermarket companies such as Classic Industries, Original Parts Group, Classic Performance Parts ( CPP ), Fatman Fabrications, Chassis Engineering, Wilwood, and JFZ have just about everything you need.
I’m retrofitting front discs on my ’66 Biscayne using CPP’s 2″ drop spindles that accept stock replacement bearings, rotors, and calipers for a ’67-’70 full size GM passenger car. Factory 67-70 disc brake spindles also bolt on, but raise the nose of the car two inches higher than stock due to different suspension geometry between the 65 / 66 and 67-70 models.
All the parts are out there to do a rear brake conversion, Carmine, new in the box. There are even kits to upgrade the front brakes on any GM B or C body.
That said, the brakes of the GM B and C body cars aren’t bad in most conditions. It is only in extreme conditions like we experience in British Columbia it is much of an issue.
For any four wheel drum car, I would not drive it without a disk brake conversion
I know the stuff is out there, but I would like to do it using stock parts….If I were to do it, I would go for a stock style upgrade using Moraine rear discs, I know the “WIlwood” brakes would probably be better, but I just don’t like the looks, it screams “FOOSE/West Coast custom whatever”
My Corvair is the only 4 wheel drum car I currently have, its not bad at braking though due to its fairly light weight, you just have to be aware that you have drums. It’s not daily driven either.
I wonder if the rear disks off the 94-96 Impala would be a direct bolt on, I’ll bet they would work nicely. Plus you’d get the benefit of the nifty drum parking brake assembly and they’d look pretty damn stock assuming they’d fit under a
Carmine: the Corvair had exceptionally good braking because the rear engine loads the rear wheels/brakes more, meaning all four brakes are working with more equal force, saving the front ones from premature fading. One of the intrinsic benefits of a rear engine. Also why VW got away with not putting discs on the Beetle in the US for so long.
That too, I forgot to add that.
I love the really old ones, but I am motivated by what JPC once said: 70s cars hit the sweet spot between parts availability, modernity (e.g. HEI), safety (the 5 mph bumpers, collapsible steering column, soft dash, over the shoulder belts), and simplicity (no computer, mechanical carb, all parts visible with hood open…)
And I have not found 70s brakes to be too bad. No worse, at least, than later B-C bodies.
Oh… my… god… It’s green and honest to goodness Buick powered.
I’m in love. 🙂
+1 on the cloth and vinyl interior comments. The pillow top interiors are very comfortable. Extra attention when vacuuming are their only downfall. I would prefer the Park Avenue optional interior or leather seating surfaces. The standard Electra interior looks very Chevrolet.
A very handsome car, especially in that colour. I wonder if Buick was trying to stretch the length to 222.5 inches?! Where on Earth do you park something that large in Manhattan?
I prefer that interior to the Park Avenue’s. It always reminds me of dirty underthings, I don’t know why. That blue velour would look dirty pretty fast.
Let’s have some shots of the Buick dash with those silver gauges!
Years of practice with big cars have made me an expert at parallel parking these cars. I know the angles I need to use exactly, and the one finger steering makes it a very easy job to angle, back, turn, back, turn, forward.
Normally, I don’t park in the city. It lives either in a rented lot in Queens or in Connecticut.
I think I’d take Dixie Sun any day over Northern Rust.
Good choice on the paint color and removal of the vinyl top. The wire wheels and white walls give it a touch of class without being gaudy. These cars are much better looking dressed down. Although I like before 1973 models personally, this is really a nice car. I think the base trim is quite tasteful. If it was mine I would hang on to it, but I tend to change cars and trucks (and motorcycles) only every 25 to 30 years, so what do I know.
We will see. It’s hard because it’s been good to me. On the other hand, it was never what I really wanted. I am no fan of tiger stripe interiors but do like some more understated pillow or leather. This car is a little too taxi for me, and replacement will involve a different style redo or new seats. I would almost rather spend those funds on a car I’m into from the get go. That said I’m under no pressure to sell, so will certainly try to send it to a good home not involving a lift kit or such stupidity.
One of the best cars my family ever owned was a 1977 Buick Electra Limited (403 engine) my grandparents ordered new.
In the looks department Electra took back the show from the Oldsmobile 98 beginning with the 1977 model year through 1984.
Here’s the interior of the Park Avenue I owned a few years ago. As a kid I thought it was the most amazing interior imaginable, but as an adult I realized it was maybe too much of a good thing in real life. There was so much extra padding and cloth that it actually encroached on interior room! And things got lost in all those pillowy folds — I found a Shell gas card that had expired in the ’70s in the back seat.
I love the gas card bit, at least it wasn’t Jmmy Hoffa’s Teamster ring…….
Love the “Oh Shit!!” straps/handles though. Keep in mind this is before we HAD to wear seatbelts. I remember my babysitter (who got in a wreck every 6 weeks) hitting a car on our way to K-Mart and her daughter landed on us in the front seat. She yelled at her “WTF are you doing? I told you to hang on in the car!”.
(Jimmy was last seen in a ’74 Granville).
All that gray billowy fabric makes me think of an elephant’s hide…
(I love the old B- and C-bodies but these interiors can go a bit *too* broughamy.)
I agree that this one goes a bit too far for my taste, but I wanted to try it. I’d admired it since I was a child and a family friend had a ’78 Park with a light blue interior and powder blue exterior. This one is actually a pale green that matches the exterior of the car (see above comment where I posted photos), but it definitely has that shar pei or elephant look in any color. It must be the least tailored factory auto upholstery ever. It’s actually meant to wrinkle and fold over itself.
Those interiors reeked of foot, ass, gas, perfume, french fries, Aqua Net, Avon Wild Country, cigarette smoke and wet dog within 18 months.
I Wish That I Could Find This Exact Car Right Now.
I have seen this car cruising around Southern CT. I always find myself drooling when I see it.
These park aves came in leather too…..
I’ve sat in an 80 Park Avenue before, and if you’re not careful, you could fall in the velour folds and either be lost forever or transported to 1980 in some sort of vortex. Funny how in the brochure the 1977-1979 Park Avenue seats became the “base” seats when they doubled down on the brougham for the Park Avenue in 1980.
“I went to sleep in Mama’s old Buick, and when I woke up I was in Studio 54!”
Lincman, that’s a ’79, I’m guessing. It was definitely not an option, per the brochure, on ’77-’78. If I didn’t do my due diligence on ’79 and they had leather, mea culpa.
I believe that picture with the leather seats is an ’80, as it has the newer door panels.
I think that car was on eBay some time ago, it has been mentioned before here on CC.
Hey Orrin no apologies my response was kind of ambiguous, your article is very well written I just wanted to show some pics for people
Ya I am not sure when leather started being offered…what really confused me is some of the brochures don’t even show the plush velour as being the ‘Park Avenue’ interior- i’ll post another pic and show you what I mean tomorrow
The one there is an ’80. Pretty sure there was no leather until then…I suspect one the 225 trim model was shown the door, they figured the Parkie needed 2 options.
Wow that brings back memories. My Grandparents were farmers that lived comfortably back when you could live comfortably from running a medium-sized family-owned farm.
Granddad drove Chevy trucks and Grandma was a Buick lady, she only drove Electras and LeSabres in her later years. From what I remember, she went from a dark blue 75 LeSabre to a black 78 Electra to a dark blue 84 LeSabre and her automotive heart was broken when she got her last Buick, an 89 LeSabre (I guess it could have been an Electra, at that point I couldn’t tell the difference) that was a shortened caricature of the big V8/RWD Buicks we loved. Her 78 had a pimptastic red cloth interior that I loved riding in.
I remember seeing those cars a lot up until about 1990 or so and they all of a sudden vanished.
My Grandfather drove a series of LeSabres from the late 60’s on. His last was an ’88 and I recall him being concerned that you couldn’t get a V8. He decided to test drive one, and I think pulling off the lot and into traffic convinced him that the 3800 V6 would do just fine. 🙂
Love the ’77 to ’79 Electras–I think they lost something with the ’80 restyle. And by ’84 the LeSabre was better looking. But yours still has that early style, and those really are the last stand of the true tailfin. The green definitely suits it too.
Hopefully the next owner appreciates it as you did, and may your next ride be equally classic!
The B/C bodies all lost a lot in 1980 restyle. GM cheapened the hell out of all of them.
I hope you’ll notify us when & where she goes up for sale.
nice car, I’ve always liked the 1977-79 Buick Electra’s/Oldsmobile Ninety Eight’s a lot, I’ve thought they did a great job keeping the big car look for these cars yet they’re a lot smaller than its predecessors, I thought Buick pulled off the 1980 restyle better than the Olds did but agree they don’t have the same charm that the pre-1980 models have, I do notice your Electra lacks a passenger side mirror which was pretty rare by this era of the C-cars.
Very true, it was a rarity–but still an option at least on the 225.
Although I must say, because the windows are so big and the decklid so low, the right mirror is nice but not necessary. Even when my then-gf took over a shift on the way back from Chicago, I remember her remarking that it was a lot easier to drive than she expected. And I remember taking a client to court with me in the Buick so we could talk over the case on the way. The client’s remark was telling, too, as he exclaimed: “it seems like there’s no blind spot!”. Obviously there is, but I got very used to using the wide rearview mirror and glancing quickly over my right shoulder when merging, since my vision was basically unobstructed.
Very nice car Orrin. Glad to finally hear its story, and see pictures.
There was a very nice ’78 225 on ebay a while back, but with light green paint, matching interior and Road Wheels. It was very sharp.
Finally, this ’79 Electra 225 I saw in person at a car cruise last year. It was in the light pastel green that made the rounds on B- and C-body GMs that year. It was in mint condition.
Car show classic follow up on that ’79 is in order…they have that one year only flat front before going back to the shovel-nose for ‘8
And I guess ’77 was the only year the taillights didn’t wrap around. I like your better without the wrap around, it looks classier somehow.
Minimizes their presence and emphasizes the tailfins!
That “Tums Green” is such an odd color, I think it was 1979 only, but I’ve seen it on a couple of cars, so there must have been a few made, I personally think it’s kinda ugly, I would still take a clean car in that color, but if I was laying down my money in 1979, I would never have picked it.
This brings back memories…my first car was a Goddess of Goddesses in a Gunmetal blue that my granddad paid $5000 for. I guess it was already a decade old when my grandma passed it on to me. That car saw me through a lot of milestones…first dates, proms, graduation, first job. Still miss the old girl. I found this article because I decided that I wanted the hood ornament as a tattoo to remember it by. Thanks for the memories.
Need the emergency brake system for a 77 Buick Park Avenue. Need the whole system. Was wondering if any one knew of anything.
As a bit of an update, for the moment I’ve decided to hold onto it, letting it split duty with the ’75 Olds 98, another Linden built car. I switch them out every couple of weeks, from time to time working on or having someone else work on their minor quirks. At the moment the Buick is taking a break while it awaits some new brake pads, and the Olds has been on duty.
Always loved the 77-79 Electras & Park Aves, wanted my pops to get one but during this period he was a Lincoln man.
Could never accept those clumsy tail lights on the ’77-78s. The ’79 tail lights, even before the nice refinements for the next body style, were a 100% improvement.