Today, you might find it a little weird to see some carmakers add a badge on the boot in reference to the performance (we’re looking at you, Audi...) but there was a time when things were far more bizarre than that. Back in the swinging Sixties, Buick named its cars... after their size. We kid you not.
The 1960 Electra gained the ‘225’ moniker because, er, that was how long it was in inches. This sort of thing continued in the Seventies, for instance with the Oldsmobile ‘442’ — which stood for four-barrel carburettor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts, of course.
Anyway, Buick needed to halt an alarming dip in sales; in 1955 it had shifted 750,000 models, but by 1959 that number was down to just 200,000. Buyers were heading to the dealer lots of Ford and Chrysler for a host of reasons but mainly because General Motors’ styling just wasn’t as exciting in comparison. A bold move was called for and during the next decade, new models, new engines and a brand-new design direction put the brand back on the map.
In came names such as the LeSabre, Invicta and the Electra — the last of these becoming the most luxurious and potent in the line-up. The 225 of 1960 was drastically restyled and unmistakably ‘jet-age’ what with the headlights set in simulated twin-jet nacelles while canted ‘delta’ fins (this would be their last appearance) brought up the rear.
It rode on a K-member frame and was longer, lower and wider than ever before. Indeed, it was a sharp contrast to the chrome-heavy, flamboyant predecessor of 1958 but nonetheless, it exhibited highly stylised lines. Two body styles were offered (four-door hard-top and two-door convertible) and were loaded with every goodie you could imagine; a full leather interior, air conditioning, electric windows, padded dash, power steering (a power-operated roof for the drop-top) were just some of the special features.
Power came from a 401 cubic-inch (6.6-litre) ‘Wildcat’ V8 mated to a ‘Turbine Drive’ automatic transmission, which made a very healthy 325 horsepower (it was used until 1966 and then came the 430 cubic-inch V8), and in its advertising campaigns it was called ‘Buick’s all-time best’.
Today, a well-maintained all-original convertible Electra 225 can fetch around Dh180,000.