All in all this was a very reliable car for the time I owned it. It was undeniably a pig on gas, but it did OK on the longer trips if you kept it under 70 MPH, probably 19 MPG on a good day, as low as 11 or 12 MPG in the city. If you ask me, there is still nothing made today that is as versatile, smooth or reliable as a full size Station Wagon.
Back in the day it was actually a very stylish car too, nice metallic baby blue with woodgrain, and comfy light blue cloth interior seats. Power windows/seats/door locks all around. It had most of the luxurious creature comforts of the Electra of the same year, including the same grille. The extra added weight seemed to work pretty good in the snow, traction was never a big issue. In the last 4 years we owned it, it simply didn't get driven much, due to the soaring price of gas and a few maintenance issues.
As for how it saved the life of me and my family, one night we had some band concert to go to at my daughter's school. We normally didn't drive the Buick much, but for some reason that night it ended up getting parked in the way of our other 2 cars. I was driving down a busy 4-lane highway, speed limit 65, with stoplights scattered here and there as we get closer to town. Amid the family conversation and other distractions, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a large tractor/trailer flying toward my intersection on a cross street at a high rate of speed. I slammed on the brakes and tried to swerve to the right (as the truck was traveling to my left), but I hit hard right against his rear trailer wheels and rear trailer bumper. The impact sent my car spinning (doing at least 3 360's according to one witness) toward the far right of the cross street's stopped traffic, where we collided with a stopped car with the drivers side doors, and the car still had enough momentum to turn itself back around and plow hood first into a Jersey Barrier. It happened so fast, all I could see was crumpled hood and steam when I hit the trailer, as the radiator burst instantly.
None of the doors would open on our car, due to the fact that the frame, floorpan, and front fenders had somehow absorbed most of the impact and literally bent underside of the the whole car. The windshield was shattered, but still hanging there. I thought I was dead, I thought we were all dead. We all escaped with only seatbelt burns and minor cuts and bruises. My car was still running with several warning lights blaring at me by the time the paramedics arrived. I was so shaken I didn't even notice. It was even able to straighten itself out and drive onto the back of a flatbed under it's own power. The first responders pried the doors open, and when I was finally able to get out and see, I couldn't believe the carnage. The truck was tipped over, and oranges and crates were laying all over the place. Looking at my car gave me the chills, I felt like the 5 of us cheated death that day.
Two days later I went to the junkyard to clean out the personal belongings. When I asked for the car, the employees were certain that it was involved in a fatality. Seeing the car again with my own eyes in broad daylight was again a shock. It looked like it had gotten punched by a bulldozer at about 100 MPH. It makes me wonder if modern cars, with all the technology, air bags, and crumple zones will fare as well?