24th Jan 2004, 23:11
My best friend owns a 1973 Electra, and almost everything you said is 100% true! He never has problems with starting in the rain. I think you can solve that with a shield around the distributor fashioned from a Hefty leaf bag and some twist ties.
Those cars a Big, Bad, and simply Awesome. Good luck, and never give it up!
11th May 2004, 14:58
I am the proud owner of a two-door 1972 Buick Electra. I pay $50 a month to keep her in storage and never intend to get rid of her; someday, the dream is to restore her.
Bought her secondhand from an elderly gentleman in Sacramento, California back in 1993, the first car I'd bought as an adult. She was in perfect condition, original hubcaps and rear wheel-well covers, all the chrome still nice and shiny, with a metallic blue paint job with white vinyl top. Being young, naive, and stupid, I went and painted her black with neon green racing stripes. Ruined the classic paint, but have to admit she did look pretty mean with the new job. Never maintained her terribly well, but it was an incredibly forgiving car.
The '72 Electras truly are unique cars, almost an archetype of an ideal for a certain fleeting time in American automotive history. They are for a select type of driver, definitely not the meek. Having a '72 Electra strapped to you is a curious combination of handling a sportscar and a tank simultaneously. The four-barreled 455 cubic-inch engine is just sickeningly powerful and loud. It is also thirsty, and loves its gas like a sailor loves his rum (I reckoned I got around 7-8 mpg on a good day).
The car is a slab, but handles like a slab on rails, if you know how to treat it. Slow turns are completed in a zen-like manner, not so much thinking as feeling your way around the corner. High speed turns are a matter of establishing a quiet trust bond between you and the Buick, where you each agree to do your best to see each other to a successful turning conclusion. Very high speed turns, except for very shallow ones, are well nigh impossible.
The 1972 Buick Electra is a tank, make no mistake about it. It's low to the ground, real long, wide, and weighs as much as a small planet. At higher speeds, you require an obscenely long roll to stop - it can get dicey on the freeway, so do not tailgate others in this car by any means. On the other hand, when commandeering a '72 Electra you are likely to win any vehicular argument you have the misfortune to enter. Nothing short of a direct hit from a tactical nuclear weapon will have any serious deleterious effects on this car.
Mine gave me faithful service from 1993-1998, being driven constantly and mercilessly through every part of California. She delivered Chinese food in the Hollywood Hills and pizza in Sacramento. In California's central valley, the temperature will regulary hang around 110 degrees for weeks at a time in August and September; my Buick let me overheat her on a daily basis, and that cast iron enging just held its shape and kept on keeping on. Furthermore, my '72 Electra has been rear-ended not once, but on two separate occasions, by an 18-wheeler truck. The first one dented the left rear quarterpanel; the second increased this dent. That is all the damage done. When I retired her in '98, it was reality had set it and I just couldn't afford to drive it anymore. It was not because she was broken.
For the sheer love of driving beastly machines, you can do no better than a 1972 Buick Electra. For getting around day to day, it does not top the list. Handling this car in city traffic requires an intimate physical connection to the car, where as the driver you are aware at a subliminal level of the exact position of every part of your car along an x-y-z coordinate system in geometric space. If you do not possess this - what fighter pilots call a "kinesthetic sense" and what the French would call a "je nes se quois" - then lawsuits will likely be brought to bear against you by various pedestrians, property owners, and local civic groups and parents' organizations. Driving in San Francisco was nearly impossible and parking there definitely impossible. However, for tearing down long, straight country roads that you know by heart, with no one else on them and no smokey for miles around, this is the car to drive. If you find one, buy it. Love it, protect it, and keep it safe. Cars like this will never be made again; they come from a time when gas flowed from the ground like water, when engines were made huge and ridiculously powerful just because, well, why not? They are pieces of a better, vanished time.
25th Dec 2004, 10:33
I had a 72 Electra 225 for several years. (Two door all black!) It was truly one of the great cars built in Flint. It's size, huge engine and luxurious, but tasteful appointments bespeak a cruiser of the first class. We often forget that these great sixties and seventies cars were designed in the midwest where roads are straight and wide. I well remember opening up that car driving from Detroit to the Straits of Macinac in Michigan and just sitting back to enjoy the passing countryside at quite a considerable velocity. There's no experience quite like it. Gas mileage was poor, of course, but then, at that time gas prices were below 60 cents a gallon. What a wonderful memory. A great ride and a great time of life!
2nd Mar 2007, 12:23
I have owned several 1972 Electra's in the past 20 years and they have all been great running cars. The 455 engine runs great regardless if it has 30,000 or 300,000 miles.
They were the last GM cars built before the 5 mile an hour bumpers showed up in 1973, so the styling is a bit smoother.
Creature comforts vary since you had to order your options when new. I've seen some Electra's that were loaded with options, and some that didn't even have power windows.
They are typically smooth running cars, but should have routine maintenance done (plugs, points, wires etc) to keep them running well. Keep an eye on the vacuum lines since this car has many. One leak and your car will run rough.
All in all these were great cars built in an era when American cars ruled the world. Emissions, gas crisis and a deterioration in quality would plague GM cars later in the decade, but 1972 stands as one of the last great years for Buick.
5th Jun 2007, 11:06
I own two Electra's - 1972 and 1973 - both have always been in the family. Both are excellent cars and have more than enough power to do just about anything. I do not drive them for 'workhorse' usage, but rather just enjoy maintaining, restoring (when needed) and driving around town. The ride of these large cars is without question the smoothest you can find. All in all, they will never see a (New England) winter road again. I'll keep them for as long as I can.