Hi my name is John Fritz and I have lived in North Carolina since the 1960's. I am married and along with my wonderful wife of 25 years we have 3 beautiful children. You can add one more member to that family which is Josephine our 1960 Buick Electra 225 convertible which has been loved by family and friends as well as everyone she has met. She kept us safe,provided many a luxury cruise and lulled the kids into much needed naps while being serenaded by many a 1950's or 60's classic song.
The start of what created the desire to find Josephine was not as warm and fuzzy a story though.One evening I came up to our 1890 farmhouse from the barn and I was totally worn down. I had several project vehicles I had worked on and enjoyed but that evening they had me on the ropes and the previous thoughts and suggestions of just one nice car was looking more and more like a good idea.
I had always had been around Buicks and loved them with a passion. With a young family and the desire for something special I went into my History of Buicks book.Without trying I opened my Buick book right to the 1959-1960 full size Buicks.I recalled a custom 59 or 60 Invicta I loved looking at in my older brothers 1960's Hot Rod magazine.
Although not customized like the one of my boyhood Hot Rod dreams the familiar and timeless styling rushed over me like seeing an old friend.
As I looked at these masterpieces of styling I muttered under my breath that if I could ever get one of those I would sell everything else. In the back of my mind I knew it was a safe promise as I didn't have two nickels to rub together as my money was scattered across "the herd" of other cars and I again had never even seen a 59 or 60 in person in my whole life.
In 24 hours in a turn of events I can only call a small miracle Josephine was secured and a few hours later sitting in our driveway.
At work the next morning after seeing them in my book I could not shake the passion to at least TRY and find one so at lunch I made a wanted ad to fax to the local paper. "Yeh, good luck pal" I thought but I had to try, "Wanted full size 1959 or 1960 Buick father son project". I was proofing the ad when a phone call came in at work. It was one of my boyhood friends David, calling to say "Hey man,glad I got you, are you interested in another big ole boat like your 67 Wildcat?" I told him how frustrated I was with tall my cars and gave him a stern "No way". We small talked and were closing to hang up while I was still looking at my ad(I didn't mention it to him or anyone else) when David said "You SURE you don't at least want me to read you this car ad?". He did go to the trouble to call so I submitted. "Okay it says, 1960 Buick Electra 225 convertible,highly optioned with many rare options". Well, you could have heard a pin drop as I sat there at my desk with my jaw dropped open,looking wild eyed at my wanted ad and the only sound being my friends rustling of the newspaper and his final "Well?!! You there? What ya think?" when I told him I was literally holding the wanted ad he just said "You have GOT to call!" he gave me the number and we hung up.
I called the number to make sure it was even still available, and made an appointment to see it. It was only 15 minutes from our house!
I went straight there after work and as the sun was setting I found myself standing before a huge lump of a car hogtied in tarps and bungee cords. Not a great start but the lady was very nice and encouraged me to unwrap the Buick. As I pulled the tarp clear of the 225" long body (what the 225 stands for in Electra 225! ) I stood staring in awe of its beautiful lines. Reverse rockets body lines in the doors,B-52 Bomber engine pod inspired headlight design, rocket exhaust port looking taillights and those gorgeous Delta fins and it was the same factory Sable black color as the one in that old Hot Rod magazine. It was love at first sight. I was jerked back into reality by the ringing of the ladies portable phone as yet another interested party called.
My other close friend Joe (who Josephine is named after) had already agreed to lend me the money to buy her so I left a deposit and got a receipt and went home and TRIED to sleep ha ha.
ON the way to get her the next day I called a flat bed enroute after leaving work (45 minutes away) about 5 miles from the sellers house a slow tow truck pulled out in front of me (seemed like he was going 20mph ha ha).Couldn't lose him and every turn I needed to make he took first. Against more odds it turned out it was MY truck I had called enroute ha ha
The lady came out and I gave her the balance I owed them. She said they moved often with her husbands job and they had several cars to transport so she was glad they had one lesst.She chuckled and said that her husband had begrudgingly agreed to offer the Buick for sale but priced it high thinking it would be safe and they would sell her Chevy instead.So much for that plan ha ha
I assured her for her husband that it would have a wonderful home and then whisked our baby off to her new home.
In under a month I sold my herd of projects, paid Joe back, and she was officially all ours.
There was a huge learning curve on Josephine, torque tube driveshaft,X frame,401 Nailhead,Two speed transmission with reverse all the way to the right, Autotronic headlight eye that had me convinced she was haunted first time I drove her at night and a few other newbie learning curves. The biggest and funniest one at the same time was finally figuring out that 1960 was the last year for a foot starter under the gas pedal.Once discovered and fluids changed and double checked, 401 cid nailhead with 445ft. lb.s of torque running smooth and she effortlessly smoked the old whitewall tires while checking the brakes in drive! Style and POWER?!!! I was even deeper in love ha ha.
I didn't know it at the time but Josephine was built with all but one of every option available in 1960 in addition to the substantial standard features for Buicks flagship 225's that year.The options included air conditioning,rear seat speaker (under the upper seat grill) Wonderbar seeking radio (both foot or bar actuated) Autotronic headlight system, leather power drivers bucket seat, bucket seat storage console,positive traction rear end,and convertible of course. I have heard of one other full resto 225 that sold North of 125k but even it was a couple options short of Josephine. She is truly a very rare girl that we have been blessed to own.
As rare as she was though she just became one of the family, we didn't need all the hoard of options working so once the top was replaced and working and she was running smooth and strong we drove our 80k original mile beauty every chance we got. The drop off lane at elementary school was always fun with the kids screaming "Look LOOK it is the Bat Mobile!" and the Principal trotting along side us saying "Stop! That is MY car!" ha ha We have never owned a car that generated the emotions that Josephine did. Just before we stopped driving her one of our sons and daughter took her to our first car show. Despite our trunk being filled with all "what if" supplies known to man and many flaws unknown to full restoration cars she took UNANIMOUS Best of Show,Best American Made, and Best 1950's-1969. The kids and I had waxed and detailed on her all during the show and we were numb just with excitement. We will always be thankful to the Buick stylists who created such a rolling work of art and the good friends who made it possible..