The Electra, along with the LeSabre, was redesigned for 1961 with drastically shrunken fins.
Buick discontinued the Electra nameplate at the end of the 1961 model year, leaving only the Electra 225 starting in 1962. Buick also dropped the Riviera name as a body style designation after the 1962 model year, shifting the Riviera name to Buick’s new personal luxury coupe introduced in 1963.
Automatic transmissions were always standard. The 1959 to 1963 models had Twin Turbine Dynaflow 2-speed automatics (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.
GM downsized all C-body cars in 1977, including the Electra. It lost over 12 inches 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.
The big-block 455 was gone forever. The base engine was now the Buick 350 with a 4-barrel carburetor. The Oldsmobile 403 was optional from 1977 to 1979. Oldsmobile’s 350 diesel was added to the option list beginning in 1980.
A different grille was the only cosmetic change for 1978, but 1979 brought a redesigned, flat front end. It didn’t last, and the 1980 Electra went back to its earlier 1977 roots, but with a new grille featuring vertical slats. 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 252 in V6, and an optional Oldsmobile 307 in V8). The 350 in Oldsmobile-produced diesel was still available. For the first time since 1959, Electras didn’t have four ventiports in 1981. 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. This was the last year of the rear wheel drive C-body, as the Cadillac Fleetwood was now on the D platform. The next rear wheel drive Buick of this proportion would be the 1992-1996 Roadmaster, sharing the same platform as the Chevrolet Caprice and Impala SS.
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. A standard four-door hardtop and a two-door convertible were available, along with a stripped chassis of which 144 were built in 1959 and 1960
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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 starting in 1967 (reviving a nameplate that graced Buick’s ultra-luxury flagship in the late 1930s and again in 1958) 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, as well as rear fender skirts.
The 1959 to 1966 Electras were powered by Buick’s 401 in 6.6L V8 with an available 425 in version of the same engine from 1964 to 1966. The 1967 model had the new Buick 430 in 7.0L V8, and a 455 in 7.5L version of the same engine replaced it in 1970.
In 1985, a redesigned front-wheel drive Electra debuted with the new C platform. Sales began in April 1984, alongside the previous rear-wheel-drive model, which had ceased production that month. It was initially powered by either 3.0 or 3.8 liter Buick V6 engines mated to a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission with a .70:1 overdrive gear. The trim levels for the Electra included Limited, Park Avenue, performance-oriented T-Type, and later, Park Avenue Ultra. One of the distinctly unusual features of this car was that unlike most other passenger cars, its hood was hinged to open towards the front, opposite of the conventional setup. In 1985, the Park Avenue badge became an official trim designation within the Electra series. It denoted, as it had in the past, the most luxuriously equipped and fully featured Electra available.
Although the overall design remained unchanged from 1985 to 1990, the Electra did undergo some noticeable changes. The first significant change came in 1987 when the Electra lineup lost the four-lamp «quad» headlights used in 1985-86 models in favor of composite one-piece headlights. In 1988 the Electra Park Avenue received what would later go on to become GM’s flagship engine, the 3800 V-6. The original 3.8L V-6 was still offered in some Electra models through the 1988 model year and was designated by the VIN code 3, while Electras with the 3800 V-6 were designated by the VIN code C. In 1989 and 1990, GM added a new trim level to the Electra’s existing Limited, Park Avenue, and T-Type variants; the Park Avenue Ultra. The Ultra was essentially an upgrade to the Electra Park Avenue line and featured standard leather trim interior, a padded vinyl top, and a variety of otherwise minor changes. The Park Avenue Ultra did not gain much notoriety, however, until the following generation of Park Avenue, where the «Ultra» badge offered significantly more features.
The long running Electra name was dropped from Buick’s lineup at the end of the 1990 model year. Starting in 1991, «Park Avenue» became a distinct model instead of a trim designation as it had been in the past.
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 to make room for the Park Avenue.