Buick Electra

In the late 1950s an economic recession increased the popularity of smaller more efficient cars. As a result Buick total sales volume fell to almost one third in the last four years. A radical solution was needed to stop the harsh decline.

In 1959 General Motors was sensing the market opportunity to introduce another vision of personal vehicles. All five divisions made significant changes in their models and Buick was no exception.

Large bumpers and surplus decorations became a history item, since all engineers were given green light to make a clean start in their design/work assignments.

Completion of a new line of vehicles is a process which normally takes three or more years, but employees pursued their professional interest and finished all tasks in less than two years. Buick also created a new slogan for 1959 signaling their models as the perfect car for the American consumer.

In practice, models Special, Super, Roadmaster and Limited were replaced with LeSabre, Invicta, Electra and Electra 225. Modern styling with sleek rooflines, slender bumpers, highly chromed square grille and slanted headlights were some of the features of Buick Electra. In an effort to reduce costs, Buick used a standardized set of bodyshells keeping their own suspension, powertrain and exterior metal options.

Aside from basic Buick Electra, another more specific model named Electra 225 was presented as the flagship. Electra 225 name originated from the car's overall length of over 225 in, which helped to gain a nickname deuce and a quarter. The standard engine Buick Electra was the 401 cu in Wildcat V8 with four barrel carburetor. This was the only one available, capable of generating 325 horsepower.

A two speed Dynaflow automatic transmission with power steering and power brakes were standard equipment as well. Standard Electra options included horizontal Red line speedometer, two speed electric windshield wipers, trip mileage indicator, cigar lighter, parking brake, dual horns, Twin Turbine automatic transmission, Foamtex seat cushions, electric clock, trunk light, full wheel covers and dual exhaust.

Interior design was dominated with leather for Electra 225, while the common Electra used nylon Mojave cloth or broadcloth combinations with Cordaveen trim. Interior finish was available in thirteen color combinations and fabric textures. To increase the overall impression, classy names were attributed to various combinations such as Mozhayev, Sarah, Belfur, etc.

Electra 225 nameplate was used on three different models: four door hardtop, four door Riviera hardtop and two door convertible. Electra 225 Riviera was the top model, which was obvious since it roofline exclusively with Cadillac. Buick produced 285,089 in 1959, from which around 5,490 were Electra 225 sold at $4,300. The car was rather expensive in comparison to other Buick models.

According to some estimates only around 200 first generation Electra models survived in operation condition to this day, even fewer cars was able to keep the original factory equipment. Older samples of Buick vehicles are known for their value in collector community. In 2010, an average 1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible was estimated near $90,000 depending on the condition.

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