1977 Buick Electra Limited: Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Robert Reed

The reference probably dates me, but back in earlier decades, Buicks were known as doctor’s cars: Nice enough that one wouldn’t feel uncomfortable at a nice dinner, wedding, or country club but not so ostentatious that passersby might think you gauche or possibly connected to criminals. Yep, a Buick was just the ticket.

Robert Reed

Of course, this was back when Buick made actual cars, not various and sundry crossovers and SUVs. I long for a 2024 Park Avenue! But never mind … Today, let’s go back to when Buick made cars—lush, large, imposing, comfortable cars, like this 1977 Electra.

Robert Reed

At the time of this writing, it was owned by my friend Robert Reed, but it was going up on the online auction block at the time. You may recall my earlier columns on his 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe and 1978 LeSabre Custom Coupe. Reed still has the LeSabre, but the Fleetwood has gone on to a happy new home.

Robert Reed

Anyway, the ’77 Electra is one of those special cars that never had a rough day in its life and was always loved—as is apparent from the pictures. I see these models less and less frequently, though I remember seeing quite a few of them well into the late ’90s and early 2000s. They were robust cars.

Robert Reed

As Reed relates: “This particular example has been a one family–owned car up until 2023. The original owners were BCA (Buick Club of America) members and this car went to quite a few shows. I believe the paint to be original as well as the top. The light blue metallic paint has a nice gloss and the car is extremely straight.

Robert Reed

“Vinyl top contrasts the paint nicely and the interior is in near flawless condition. Right rear filler panel was missing so I am including a new replacement which can be seen in the trunk picture. This Electra Limited has the very peppy and smooth-running 5.7-liter 350 Buick V-8 engine. No vibrations from this motor even when in gear with the air-conditioning on max. It was/is kept in a climate-controlled garage under a car cover and has never been a daily driver since new.”

Robert Reed

These were such nice, smooth cars. But ’77 was a big year for both Buick and GM, as all the big cars, including this Electra, were shrunken. The only land yachts that escaped the carnage were the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado, which lasted to 1978 in their previous parade-float glamour.

Robert Reed

As the ’77 deluxe brochure relates: “The 1977 Electra. An Electra with a new brace of talents that make it a car of today, the future, instead of a tribute to the past. Its new silhouette is lean, aerodynamic.” And it was, for 1977. Some today may scoff at the prose Buick published, but these were revolutionary cars at the time, a country mile away from the previous Nimitz-class Electras from 1976 and earlier.

Robert Reed

Buick made sure the prospect was aware of the new size too. “You’ll also discover a new fun-to-drive aspect to Electra. Thanks to the fact that it possesses the same supple coil-spring ride, the same smoothness in motion, that have become Electra’s special trademark…a beautiful reflection of a sophisticated day and age.”

Robert Reed

Four Electra models were available. The $6673 Electra 225 coupe, $6866 Electra 225 sedan, $7033 Electra Limited coupe, and finally, the $7226 Electra Limited sedan. There was also a Park Avenue package, but it was included in the totals for the Electra Limited sedan, as far as I could tell. It was not available on Limited two-doors.

Robert Reed

The Limited sedan, like our featured example, was far and away the most popular ’77 Electra, with 82,361 built. In comparison, the 225 sedan sold only 25,633 copies. But back then, if you were splurging for a new Buick, why not get the top model? And the Limited seats were definitely more impressive than the 225’s.

Robert Reed

In 1977, the Electra Limited had plenty of competition, even within GM. If you decided you didn’t want a Buick, you could go across the street to your friendly Oldsmobile dealer and pick up a new Ninety-Eight Regency for $7133. It had an arguably plusher interior, despite its slightly lower MSRP, with cushy floating-pillow thrones.

Robert Reed

Or if you wanted full-size luxury but didn’t want quite so much Broughamage (or quite so high a car note), the $5992 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham sedan and $5357 Chevrolet Caprice Classic sedan were fine cars in their own rights. Although they were on the ever-so-slightly smaller B-body chassis instead of the C-body, shared between the top Buick, Olds, and Cadillac models.

Robert Reed

Oh, and also, if you fancied a Caddy instead of a Buick, the ’77 Sedan de Ville had a base price of $10,020. Quite a bump up from the Electra Limited, price-wise!

Robert Reed

While LeSabres came standard with a six-cylinder engine, the Electras all came with a V-8. Standard power plant was the 5.7-liter, 350 V8, but you could order a 6.6-liter 403 if you wanted a little extra passing power. Of course, all Electras came with Turbo Hydra-matic automatic transmission, power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, wide, bright rocker-trim moldings, a handsome quartz clock, Custom steering wheel, and cut-pile carpeting.

Robert Reed

They were handsome cars, and survived through the ’79 model year with only minor comfort and appearance changes. A major facelift occurred in 1980 and carried on until 1985, when an all-new, totally different C-body Electra replaced it, with front-wheel drive and a transverse-mounted 3.8-liter V-6 engine. In many ways, it would be an even greater departure to Buick fans than the ’77 was.


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    Ahhh – the days when we still had beautiful cars to choose from. I’d buy this card for the dashboard alone!

    She really looks great with the optional Buick Rally Wheels. So many of these were optioned with the Buick Wire Hub Caps. GM for one fleeting moment got the full size cars right with the Tri Sevens and unfortunately threw it all away in the 1980’s with one debacle after another.

    This was the right sized car era. They got it right. It was not too big or small and they were good solid cars. They tran and lasted for ever and there are still a number of them on the roads even in the rust belt.

    My favorite of this platform was the 1977 Bonneville coupe in Emerald Green. You could still get it with a actual Pontiac 400 in it. Though down on power it still ran well and was a sharp car.

    The extra large clock was a well thought out touch. You wouldn’t want to miss the early bird special and end up being late for bingo. Where can I buy a set of curb feelers?

    Nice job Tom. My dad loved 98 Oldsmobiles in the 70s, similar to this Buick. Strangely, he liked 2 doors and we laugh that you could get a sheet of plywood in the trunk!! I actually totaled one of them in 1973 and with all that iron, it probably saved my life. I also had a Park Avenue in the 80’s but the 70s were so much greater.

    I was recently out at a work event, meeting most of my co-workers for the first time in person (remote work life). I was pulled up to dinner in my “German Luxury” car and constantly heard most of the night, “I want whatever your salary is to afford THAT Car.” Granted, I bought the car when it was eight years old, so depreation was my friend, but “noncar” people don’t get that.

    Instead, I thought, “I wish I could buy a Buick Park Avenue so I could have something luxurious but not put on airs about it.”

    Those days are gone. The Enclave just doesn’t cut it for me, and not for many other people from what I see running around on the roads.

    Personally I felt, and still feel, that the taillight detailing of this year left a lot to be desired. Yes, it was large, and yes, it was also safe; but it was not aesthetically pleasing. Buick started to change that with the ’78 facelift, employing a trick of the light they employed previously–lighting up the reverse-light lenses with red filtering when the outside lights were turned on– and peaked in its styling prowess with the ’79 tweaking, the best-looking full-size car of that year from any make (yes, even the Lincolns, and this comes from a die-hard Lincoln loyalist). Another detail I did not care for was the very boxy greenhouse of the 4-door models. Luckily, I used to own a 2-door model of the ’79 Electra 225 Limited–which, despite a serious valve problem in its 350 that my grandmother and I never had properly addressed, I loved. Its slanted backlight gave it far more of an aerodynamic profile than the 4-door models–it looked like a true car instead of a box on wheels. In fact, I loved it so much that I dressed it up a bit more with reproduced script nameplates from 1967 and an additional Electra shield on the trunk over the keyhole. I do wish I could have held onto that car and done the engine fixes it begged for…but “things” were happening to me in 1996, a particularly terrible year in my life.

    I remember one popular snark that sarcastic types would use to lampoon Electras: “Limited to what?” I did think it goofy that the Limited trim option had only that word emblazoned on the rear fenders and the dash. That was what prompted me to reproduce the best-looking “Electra 225” nameplate ever made (the aforementioned ’67–9 script variant) and plant them strategically on the car, so people would never again ask that snarky question. And it looked *so* good!

    As I previously noted, I’m a die-hard Lincoln loyalist. But, given the opportunity to re-acquire a 1979 2-door Electra Limited with the “X” engine (the 350 Buick engine), I’d take it. I still have the Chilton manual for that car stashed away somewhere.

    So agree with you on the ’79 taillight tweak. A dealer in Ill. or thereabouts had a ’79 Limited Cpe. with a 403 and 10,000 miles for sale last year for $12,000. Prettiest colors and the road wheels to boot. I missed it by 2 weeks.

    Jon…..I still have my two door 79 Electra with 11,000 miles. 403, posi rear end 323 gears. loaded. I ordered this car when I was a very young man.

    We though our father fell down and found a pile of money in 1977 when he came home with a new Electra 225 sedan, to now find out it was the more “rare” one. It was an awesome car, taught and survived four 16 year old drives. It never let us down and we kept for almost 20 years.

    A friend of mine his parents had one when I was a kid. They had this same shade of blue with the blue interior. It was a comfortable car.

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