WHEN THE BUICK ELECTRA WAS COOL 

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Electra was a storied name in the Buick lineup during its initial production run from 1959 until 1990.

The Electra name is due to return in 2025 as an electric model, a move that will make many car guys yearn for the good old days with the formerly gas-powered Electra brand.

Jim Sutherland

The Electra handle will likely be a good fit for yet another electric car, but MyStarCollectorCar wants to showcase the glorious era when Electras were gas powered and only had a small battery to run the starter, along with creature comfort items such as power windows and seats in the luxury land yacht.

Electra may seem like a highly appropriate moniker for the future electric versions, even though the name originated with a human being named Electra Waggoner Biggs, a sister-in-law of former General Motors President Harlow Curtice.

The debut of the 1959 Buick Electra marked the end of the line for the famous first-gen Buick Roadmaster, along with the Special and pricey Limited models, when the Electra became a flagship for the upscale GM marque. The buy-in cost for Electra models was elevated even further with its 225 editions that were only a short step away from the rarified atmosphere of Cadillac models.

1959 also marked a radical departure in style for the Buick models, including the newly introduced Electra, because GM wanted more of a space age design for the cars and chose to offset the tailfins to a more horizontal position. Additionally, the ’59 Buick had a striking front end with offset headlights that were slanted toward the center of the grille.

Any resemblance between the chrome-addicted, massive tail-finned and parallel headlights on a 1958 Buick and the 1959 versions was purely coincidental because General Motors wanted a complete divorce from the vertical rear fin movement that was very popular in Detroit during the late Fifties. Essentially, the Buick brand on the cars was the only tangible link between the two model years.

The Buick Electra’s unusual body design continued through the 1960 model year until it underwent a major style change in 1961 when it lost any semblance of tailfins and re-positioned its four headlights in a parallel horizontal row.

The radical departure from the 1959-60 Electra models blew up the last bridge between the Fifties and Sixties in terms of overall style.

1962 marked the end of the line for Electra as a standalone name because the Electra 225 was the only available model for the high-end Buick that year.

The car was given a mild facelift that was more aligned with the early 1960s in terms of style and subtly smoothed out the Buick’s lines.

The Buick Electra 225’s next major style change occurred in 1964 when it was given a body style that linked it directly to GM’s famous Cadillac models. Buick’s large-and-in-charge movement continued for the next 12 years in a big-sized car market that began to shrivel due to high gas prices and an aging customer base for land barges.

The Electra era continued with a smaller platform from 1977 until 1985 when the full-sized Buick shrunk in the wash even more, before the Electra name disappeared from the lineup in 1990.

The reintroduction of the electric Electra in 2025 will most assuredly not replace the storied history of Buick’s gas jobs from the past, but it does run the risk of tarnishing its good name with many car guys.    

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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