BY VERN PARKER
Though it wasn’t what he was looking for, the 1965 Buick Electra 225 that attracted Josh Brown actually offered everything he wanted in a classic car. When Brown launched a search for a car from the mid-1960s, he set is sight on the Ford Thunderbird.
Involved in the hunt were Brown’s wife and son. They looked at numerous cars before narrowing the search to a 1965 Thunderbird and the 1965 Buick Electra 225. Brown was serious about the Thunderbird, but conceded it needed a lot of bodywork to be made whole. On the other hand, the Buick was in rarely found rust- and dent-free condition. The family decided to take a diplomatic vote by secret ballot. The Buick won by a 2-to-1 margin.
Brown discovered his 4,272-pound Buick had cost $4,252 when new. Since acquiring the Electra 225, affectionately known among Buick aficionados as a deuce-and-a-quarter, Brown has tended to its needs.
The 401-cubic-inch V-8 develops 325 horsepower, which can propel the heavy car with amazing speed. A fuel consumption rate of 10 mpg on the highway explains why General Motors installed a 25-gallon fuel tank on the 18-foot-long car. The importance of fuel consumption of the V-8 is indicated by the placement of the gas gauge: directly in front of the driver.
This top-of-the-line model came from the factory equipped with power seats, power brakes, power steering, power windows, tilt steering wheel, and AM/FM stereo radio. Although the large side windows are power-operated, hand cranks open the small wing vent windows. Knobs on the chrome-covered dashboard operate two fresh-air vents at ankle level beneath the dashboard. “That’s the air conditioner,” Brown comments. He says the vents keep the interior comfortable for the occupants, even on hot days.
A set of 8.75×15-inch BFGoodrich white sidewall tires support the Buick on a 126-inch wheelbase. The chiseled lines of the Electra seem to dictate wall-to-wall taillights. Buick designers created the illusion of a single car-wide taillight; however, in reality the center section is a reflector on a door that conceals the gas cap. A pair of backup lights — one on either side of the indentation for the license plate — is mounted in the massive rear bumper. Adding visually to the length of the Buick are the rear fender skirts, each one almost 5 feet long. On the side of the front fenders are the mandatory Buick design cues: four stylized rectangular portholes. Cornering lights are at the lower leading edges of the front fenders.
The windshield is so wide that, in order to clear a sufficient area, the long wipers overlap each other when at rest. The 120-mph speedometer is visible through the two-spoke steering wheel. Thoughtful convenience features are plentiful throughout the Buick. All four doors are equipped with a vertical chrome-plated handgrip to make closing each door easier. The driver doesn’t have to open the window to adjust the outside mirror thanks to a manual remote control inside.
Both front and rear seats feature pull-down armrests. Also, the three ashtrays are equipped with cigarette lighters — just a sign of the times. While passengers could kick off their shoes and let the plush carpeting tickle their toes, the driver had to contend with the 1965 version of cruise control. It was simply a dial that could be set at any designated speed. When the driver exceeded that speed, an alarm would sound.
A total of 7,197 Buicks similar to Brown’s were manufactured. In 1965 the cars didn’t attract much attention because there were many similar-sized cars. But not many have survived. “It’s unique,” Brown explains. “That’s what attracted me.”
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