1976 Buick Electra Limited 455 c.i.

Summary:

This is a graceful, smooth-running, comfortable, reliable car

Faults:

The electric window control system shorts at times, requiring the driver to reach under the dash and touch the main wire from the fuse box.

The landau roof was ruined by a protective car cover one winter by a previous owner, causing the material to crack and draw moisture. The landau roof has been replaced twice due to this moisture/corrosion issue.

Rubber body mouldings at the rear of the car failed after 10 to 15 years (according to 2nd owner), and were replaced with fiberglass upgrades in 2000.

The starter and alternators failed at around 84k miles due to lack of use before I purchased the car.

The radiator failed at 92k miles due to age.

The fuel tank failed at 103k miles due to age.

At 100k miles, the car's engine received new seals and the valves were ground. Two mechanics raved at how little wear the engine showed and how well the compression was with so many years and miles.

General Comments:

With many years for General Motors to perfect the full-size Buicks, there were only minor things that could have been made better for 1976 Electras. Although these had large, 455 cubic inch engines, exhaust emission reducers were thrown onto the design in the early '70s, which cut the horsepower back by about a third of its original design. When it came to passing other cars on the highway, these still had plenty of respectable get-up-and-go, jumping from 45 miles per hour to over 80 in less than three car lengths. While these were never meant to be race cars, they could get onto or off highways or pass with grace and ease.

General steering and driving is much easier than most imagine. Turning into most perpendicular parking places in the 1976 Electra can usually be done in one attempt, even though the car is over 19 feet long. Parallel parking is relatively easy, as the driver can see the front and rear corners of the car from the driver's seat, and the power steering works well. The optional passenger-side mirror made it easy to see curbs.

Riding and driving a 1976 Buick Electra makes for enjoyable and comfortable trips. It is like sitting in one's favorite chair or sofa while traveling. After a 90-minute trip, passengers would not struggle to exit nor would they have to stretch and yawn when exiting. The interiors were detailed with interesting simulated wood trim and chrome edging. The upholstery held up well to wear and normal sunlight. The 4-speaker stereo system has a decent sound, even over after 30 years.

There were some short-cuts used with the Fisher Body design that could have been done better. The rubber body moldings in the rear (below taillights and licence plate, between fenders and rear bumper) did not hold up well. Door pins were not strong enough, causing the doors to sag and not close well. Armrests on the 60/40 front seats rattled from inside. The electric clocks were notorious for not lasting more than a couple of years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd June, 2008

26th Jun 2008, 18:03

The car was designed over 30 years ago when gas cost about 80 cents per gallon, who cares what kind of gas mileage it gets. People don't buy cars like this to use as daily drivers.

27th Jun 2008, 15:24

"25th Jun 2008, 18:06.

Notice the review makes no reference to gas mileage, hmmm..."

Notice this commenter just doesn't get it. All he knows is that this car is "big" and "old" and therefore must be no good.

1976 Buick Electra Limited 7.5 Liter 455cid gasoline

Summary:

A great old car, cheap to run and lots of fun

Faults:

Let's see, I haven't had to replace a lot of the crap that has broke on the thing, but since I have owned it;

It had a bad vacuum leak from the hose going off the pcv valve to the from of the carb. 80 cents of hose fixed that.

The car has a valve lifter rattle at idle, but it is pretty quiet and will be fine for a while.

Brakes got really mushy and so I put a new Wagner master cylinder into it. Now they work great.

Cruise control broke. The vacuum system and electronics are working, but there is a plastic clip that holds the chain to the throttle and since its plastic it dried out and cracked. I haven't figured out a way to rig the thing, but it's an easy fix.

The blower motor stopped working due to a bad ground wire and 10amp fuse. That took about an hour and a buck for more fuses.

PCV valve went bad and let some oil into the air cleaner, cost like 3 bucks for a new PCV valve.

The exhaust pipes are riddled with tiny holes, it needs a new exhaust system. I'll run dual and get rid of the catalytic converter.

It needs a new heater core, but that's only like 30 bucks plus it'll only take about 30 minutes to do since the heater core is on the engine side of the firewall.

8-track player was intermittent, so I stored it and replaced all of the stereo and stereo wiring. I am now a stereo wiring master for this car.

Now, the guy I bought it from replaced the basic old car stuff like shocks, waterpump, battery, and alternator.

General Comments:

It is 19 feet 4 inches, 4709lbs, and has a 7.5L 455cid V8 built by Buick.

It's a great car, it has never left me stranded or quit running. During the winter it started right up every day. It doesn't get real cold around here, but I've read the same from other people from around the world and they also say in negative temperatures these things start right up.

The car has quite a bit of roadnoise just because its old and tar paper isn't as effective as the new microfibre crap they put into cars. With a little work and some Dynamat, I could get the thing pretty quiet inside though.

For a rear wheel drive car, I haven't had a real bad time with snow driving. It has a 3.23 positraction rear end, which is rare and kinda cool.

This car is ultra slow. It only has 205 horsepower, it makes a good amount of torque though. It is a detuned engine, but it has potential I guess. Disregard what you read from people on this site that say they race Japanese cars and win, I estimate that this car takes about 20 seconds for a quarter mile and probably about 8 or 9 seconds to get to 60.

It does have a great ride though, and the sheer size of the car is unlike any other. The only car that is bigger than this one is the 74-76 Fleetwood Brougham and the Fleetwood 75 limousine.

The only difference between this car and it's Cadillac brother (DeVille) is that the DeVille is quieter inside because it has more sound insulation. The DeVille weighs more too. However, I think the Buick is a better car, I have owned both. That Cadillac was even slower than my Buick is! HA!

The 4 door hardtop body style is really cool, putting all four windows down is like having two giant windows.

The trunk is pretty big, I have had 3 full size spares in there and there was lots of extra room still.

The driver seat is really worn on my car and is getting less comfortable, again they are much better than the leather seats I had in the Cadillac though. The fabric is holding up on the seats though, the interior looks great.

My only real problem with this car is the lack of speed and the road noise. If you want a quieter car, get a 75-76 Electra Park Avenue. I was looking for one, but there weren't any at the time of my search.

Get an old car like this if you want reliability. I'm pretty hard on this thing. I accelerate quickly, I turn sharp, and I love burnouts.

The car looks pretty mean at nighttime with the running lights on.

Despite the high mileage it keeps running and running, the engine is quiet on the inside of the car and idles smoothly. Keep an eye on the oil pressure though. The big block Buick engine family are known for having poor oil pressure.

Everyone likes riding in it because there is so much room in the car. Gas mileage isn't that bad with it either. I don't really pay attention to it, but it has a 27 gallon tank so fill ups are expensive, but I don't do a lot of driving so a tank of gas lasts quite a while. People are always like "why you drive that old gas guzzler, how can you afford to do that?" I'm like, "Leave me alone, I don't make a car payment, I own this crap, and my insurance payment is half of what yours is, PEACE"

Running costs on old cars like this is cheap despite what people say, people don't buy cars like this because of fuel economy. If you are commuting 50 miles a day, maybe its not the best, but if you aren't, you are safe, you are comfortable, and everyone looks at you. Remember, this car has no computers, you can fix anything that goes wrong with it, and most parts are really cheap, like under 50 bucks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th April, 2005

3rd May 2005, 18:11

If you have any questions, midgee007@hotmail.com is my email feel free to ask, I don't mind.

1st May 2006, 20:25

Now its May 1st 2006, and the Buick is still as it was last year when I posted the review. All I have done to it since then is oil changes and new tires.