1971 Buick Estate
4dr Station Wagon, 2-Seat
8-cyl. 455cid/315hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Buick’s full-sized Electra 225 benefitted from a total redesign in 1971, with fashionable “fuselage” styling. The car utilized Buick’s 455-cid, 315-hp V-8, and rode on a massive 127-inch wheelbase. The car’s length grew by more than two inches from the previous year to 227.9, and weight was correspondingly heavier by 340 pounds. Prices started at $5,454 for the two-door hardtop and $5,567 for the four-door hardtop, which placed the Buick closer to Cadillac territory than ever before. A Custom trim was available on the Electra, and it added wood grain trim and upgraded upholstery. Plush Limited interiors were also available, with bench front seats.
The 1972 Electra 225 outsold the 1971 model year by more than a third, to the tune of 172,000 units. The engine that year remained the same, though power ratings were now reported in net rather than gross. The result was a 225-hp V-8, with an optional 250-hp variant available. For 1973, the cars obtained 5-mph front bumper and a new grille, and sold well. The following year, the Electra received a significant facelift including new rear bumpers. Engine power dipped to 210hp. Sales for 1974 fell by nearly half due to the Arab oil embargo.
Catalytic converters were introduced in 1975, which improved engine performance despite a loss of power, now down to 205 hp. The model year also saw a new Park Avenue package added to the options list on four-door Limited models. For 1976, the final year for the biggest of the biggest-ever Buicks, the cars were largely carried over in anticipation of the all-new downsized cars for 1977. Buyer preference had shifted from large cars to efficient cars, and sales were predictably slow.
Driving and riding in a Buick Electra is a treat, as the cars are comfortable, spacious, and quiet. Despite production numbers tapering off during the Electra’s later years, the model is relatively abundant. Buyers tend to seek out 1971 and 1972 models due to their more powerful engines, with convertibles being the preferred body style. Provided there is no rust present, any Electra of this era should deliver a trouble-free experience, or at least should not cost too much to put right. Prices remain affordable, so these cars can be fun first-time classic cars.