The 1968 Buick Electra 225 was Flint’s finest
It’s been more than five decades since 1968, but it seems like a world away. Really. Although it doesn’t seem too far back for some of our readers (relatively speaking), but consider that in ’68 there were any number of fine, giant American luxury cars. Pickups and Jeeps were largely for tradesmen, adventurers, and off-roaders. Nary a crossover with CVT transmission and wobbly handling sullied a much less potholed Interstate system. And you really would rather have a Buick.
Buick had a fine lineup in the Year of Our Lord 1968. Plain-yet-competent Specials, stolid, solid LeSabres, flashy Wildcats, and the primo personal-lux Riviera. And then the vaunted Electra 225, affectionately dubbed “Deuce and a Quarter” by its fans.
The Electra had been totally redesigned in 1967, so ’68s had only minor revisions, most notably new side marker lights, thanks to new regulations. The expected revised grille, taillamps, and upholstery choices also were in evidence.
As had been the case for years, Electras rode the same corporate C-body as the Cadillac Calais/de Ville and Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. Electras had an overall length of 224.9 inches and a 126-inch wheelbase, and pillared four-door sedans like today’s featured car weighed in at 4253 pounds. In the Electra 225 lineup, there was also a $4221 four-door hardtop and $4330 two-door hardtop. The pillared sedan retailed at an even $4200; 12,723 were made.
But there was an even fancier version, the Electra 225 Custom. It had the same four-door sedan, four-door hardtop, and two-door hardtop body styles, but also added the lone Electra convertible, which sold for $4541. Only 7976 were produced. Most popular Electra of the year was the 225 Custom four-door hardtop, with 50,846 sold. Buick itself had a fine year, with calendar year sales of 652,049; they came in fifth in U.S. new car sales.
And if even the Electra 225 Custom was not fancy enough, you could add the Limited interior trim package, available only on Custom two- and four-door hardtops. It added plusher seats, thicker carpeting, and “Limited” plaques on the sail panels. It can be seen in the large picture on the left, courtesy of the 1968 Buick deluxe showroom brochure.
As you’d expect, Electra 225s had plenty of standard features as befitting a 1968 model luxury car. Such equipment included the four-barrel, 430-cubic-inch Buick V-8 with 360 horsepower, Super Turbine automatic transmission, dual master cylinder brake system, power steering, power brakes, electric clock, trunk light, dual horns, deluxe wheel covers, and an inside day/night rear view mirror.
Notable options included power windows, AM/FM stereo, tilt wheel, cruise control, cornering lamps, automatic climate control, radial whitewall tires (bias ply shoes were still standard), and an 8-track stereo tape player.
I spotted this most excellent example at the Buick Nationals in 2017. That year it was held at the Sheraton Brookfield Milwaukee Hotel, and there were more Buicks than you could shake a stick at. But I had an excellent time and well remember this ’68 pillared Electra 225, painted in Code G Ivory Gold Mist. It was especially striking with the white interior and black vinyl roof. Just the thing to pull up to at the Moonlight Bay supper club to meet friends and have a couple gin and tonics.
I wandered around in a Brougham-induced haze, frantically snapping pictures. I took well over 800 photos that day, and it was only tired legs and very hot weather that finally did me in. I unwound with a drink and a prime rib sandwich at the nearby Fleming’s Steakhouse, then headed back to Illinois. I think the original owner of this Electra would have approved.