The Buick Electra and the Buick Electra 225 were full-size premium automobiles built by the Buick division of General Motors. The Electra name (in various manners) was used by Buick between 1959 and 1990.
1959 - 1970
Prior to 1959, the Buick Super, Roadmaster and Limited constituted the upper echelon of Buick's lineup. In 1959, all of Buick's models were renamed, with the Electra taking the place of the Super, and the Electra 225 taking the place of the Roadmaster and Limited models.
The Electra 225 nameplate was a nod to the vehicle's overall length of 225 in (5,715 mm), earning it the street name "deuce and a quarter."
The Electra 225 Riviera was the top-line model and it shared its 6-window hardtop roofline with the Cadillac Fleetwood. Buick had been using the "Riviera" name to indicate a premium trimmed hardtop body style beginning with the 1949 model year.
Buick discontinued the Electra nameplate in 1963, leaving only the Electra 225. Buick also dropped the Riviera name as a body style designation, shifting the Riviera name to Buick's new personal luxury coupe.
All GM passenger vehicles received a major restyling in 1965 dominated by flowing "Coke bottle" lines and fastback roof profiles on its coupe models, and the 6 window-body style was eliminated as GM moved to place more emphasis on the luxury provided by its four-door hardtop bodies. For 1965, Buick changed its marketing strategy and offering the Electra 225 in two trim levels, base and Custom. There was a new "Limited" option package on the Electra 225 Custom 4-door hardtop and later became available on two-door hardtop models as well.
Windshield wiper blades were hidden in 1968 and 1969 saw the elimination of the vent windows on the front doors.
The 1959 to 1966 Electras were powered by Buick's 401 in³ (6.6 L) V8 with an available 425 in³ version of the same engine from 1964 to 1966. The 1967 model had the new Buick 430 in³ (7.0 L) V8, and a 455 in³ (7.5 L) version of the same engine replaced it in 1970.
Automatic transmissions were always standard. The 1959 to 1963 models had Twin Turbine DynaFlow (the Triple Turbine was available as an option in 1959) and starting in 1964, they were equipped with the Super Turbine 400 / THM 400 transmissions.
1971 - 1976
All Electra 225s were hardtops in the 1971 to 1973 model years, eliminating the previous 4-door pillared sedan variant and the convertible. In 1974 Buick adopted GM's pillared coupe body and fitted it with the "Landau" option on the Electra Limited coupe. Optional driver and passenger airbags were also available in 1974, but unpopular due to their cost; a crude version of traction control called Max Trac was an option as well. In 1975, all Electra 225 coupes had fixed rear side windows and center posts. The 4-door models remained hardtops until the 1977 model. Starting in 1974, the Limited model didn't have any Electra 225 badges on it and there was a new Park Avenue option package available on the "Limited" 4-door hardtop in 1975. It featured a beautiful interior with seats designed by Flexsteel. Many Park Avenues were built with the full size center console, which eliminated the 6th passenger, in the front middle, between the driver and front passenger. There was also a Park Avenue Deluxe, which was sold only in 1975, and included every option available on the Electra. The Park Avenue continued into 1976, but the Deluxe version was no longer offered.
The 1975 Buick Electra 225 Limited was the longest 4-door hardtop car GM ever built. At 233.4 in long, it was even longer than the 1975 Cadillac Deville; its last Fleetwood 4-door hardtop had been in 1964. The model also ushered in a return of the six window configuration that Buick offered between 1959 and 1964.
All Electras were powered by Buick's 455 in³ (7.5 L) engine between 1971 and 1976. The 1971 model had a
respectable 315 hp, but that was reduced to a mere 205 hp by the 1976 model year; ever increasing government mandated emission controls were the culprit for the drop in performance. The 455 was the standard engine on the Electra, but there were some built with Buick 350s. The once mighty 455 engine disappeared after the 1976 model year, in favor of smaller, more efficient powerplants.
1977 - 1984
After the downsizing of all GM full-sized cars in 1977, the car went nearer to its original length at 225 in (5,715 mm), but the 1980 model was downsized again and lost the "225" part of its name. 1977 to 1979 Buick Electras were powered with engines from various GM divisions, including in 1978 a first-ever diesel engine. The 1981 model saw very few changes from the 1980 restyle but it got a modified grille, new powertrains (the Buick 350 V8 was dropped in favor of a standard Buick produced 4.1 L V6, and an optional Oldsmobile 307 cu. in. 5.0 L V8). A 350 in³ Oldsmobile produced diesel was also available, but was known to be troublesome. For the first time since 1959, Electras didn't have 4 Ventiports in 1981. The top-line Electra Park Avenue model continued to show 4 small depressions with stickers in the chrome
molding on its front fenders until they were completely gone in 1985.
1985 - 1990
In 1985, a redesigned front-wheel drive Electra debuted on the GM C platform, including a performance-oriented T-Type version. It was the only C Platform car to use a forward opening hood. Also in 1985, Park Avenue became an official trim designation within the Electra series, though it had appeared unofficially as early as 1975. 1987 saw the first use of integrated aerodynamic headlights, replacing the quad headlight setup in the 1985-86 models. In 1989 and 1990, in addition of the Electra Limited, T/Type and Park Avenue models, there was a new Park Avenue Ultra that featured standard leather trim interior and a padded vinyl top. The name "Ultra" was better known on the next generation Park Avenue as it more or less combined the characteristics of the sportier T/Type and the luxurious Ultra. The Electra Estate station wagon model was an entirely different car that was based upon the 1977 full-size GM station wagon body (revised in 1980). 1990 saw the last of Electra production, making way for the smaller Park Avenue and larger Roadmaster.