Stephen King Movie Car: 1973 Buick Electra 225

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When people plunk down the money to purchase a collectible car, they usually do so for one of two reasons: as an investment or for enjoyment.  Throwing money down the drain is never a good idea, but sometimes cars that do not make great investments often end up being the most enjoyable to own.  Take for example this 1973 Buick Electra 225 for sale on craigslist just outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  While it is a large, seventies four-door with brown paint, a brown vinyl interior, and a white vinyl top, this Buick has the potential to be an enjoyable cruiser that the whole family can ride along in.  It may also end up a co-star in an upcoming Stephen King movie.  Is the $8,499 asking price a bit high though?  Thanks to Pat L. for this enormous tip!

First, you must know what the Buick brand represented in 1973.  GM marketing was still operating as early GM CEO Alfred Sloan intended.  Sloan was able to set the company’s divisions up in a way that they were at different tiers of the market financially and would not normally compete with one another for sales.  The customer started with a Chevrolet, then moved up to a Pontiac.  From there, it was an Oldsmobile, then a Buick.  Once the customer had “arrived” in life, a Cadillac was their final brand.  Each division was sort of a mini fiefdom, but all reported to Sloan.  Each had its personality and products but would often share resources to increase efficiency.

One of the most beloved divisions was Buick.  Not everybody reached the wealth to justify a new Cadillac, and a lot of customers still had the Puritanical blood in them that made them shy away from ostentatious displays of wealth.  Buick had set up its image as a purveyor of solid, powerful, reliable luxury cars that weren’t too flashy.  Occasionally, they would surprise everyone with a car like the 1953 Skylark or the 1963 Riviera.  However, respectable, easy-to-live-with luxury cars were the brand’s bread and butter until the company decided to tamper with Sloan’s genius marketing arrangement in the 1980s.

So in 1973, the average Buick buyer was a person with above-average means that wanted a vehicle that would be both comfortable and reliable.  A four-door like the Electra 225 seen here would certainly fit the bill.  Restyled in 1971, these bodies, shared with Cadillac and Oldsmobile, were longer, heavier, and more spacious than ever.  Customers were offered a choice of 350 or 455-cubic-inch Buick V-8s, two or four doors, but only one transmission: the TH-400 three-speed automatic.  1973 also marked the addition of five MPH bumpers for safety and an EGR valve was fitted to the engine to assist in reducing emissions.

The seller of this Buick strictly subscribes to the craigslist tradition of putting a basic, bare-bones description of the car in a free ad with almost limitless room for descriptions.  We are told it is a 455 cubic inch V-8 equipped car with no rust except for a few spots on the hood.  Given that the car is located outside of Boston, that would seem to point to this car spending a huge portion of its life in a cozy garage.  Furthermore, the seller describes this as a fully loaded car with air conditioning, power everything, and it is listed as having just 62,300 miles on the odometer.  We are also left with the curious clue that the car is in a Stephen King movie that is yet to come out.  Some details as to what type of exposure the car has in the movie would be helpful.  However, we get what we get.

Overall, this looks like a great car for someone who wants a vehicle to cruise around in with the whole family in tow.  The car is certainly presentable, and the vinyl interior will surely survive any onslaught that children can devise.  These are big, smooth, safe cars (for their time) that may not be big on flashiness.  They are, however, a great gateway into the hobby for a family and a solid second car if the need arises.

Have you ever owned or driven a Buick of this vintage?  What was the experience like?

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  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Though just a couple of years older, my first college commuter car was my then-recently deceased grandfather’s 1970 LeSabre HT sedan, similar colors except dark brown top, with a 350-4.

    That car was subtle, comfortable and smooth. Not quick, but that wasn’t exactly a necessity back then. Had it for a couple of semesters, then in the depths of a gas crisis sold it and bought a Honda 175 twin, and then a 3YO Monza 2+2, which CERTAINLY neither were quick but were cheaper to run for the next bunch of years.

    Like 3
  2. Brian Pinkey

    My first love’s father had one of these in dark green. I got to drive it and her, home ona a 60 mile, old 2 lane Oklahoma highway. She was snuggling me on that plush split bench seat, nightime cozy. Suddenly a curve, look doing 85 mph!!!! Hammered the brakes and got normal, thank the Lord, and fine GM designers. Wish I hadmarried that woman! Tabanka.

    Like 9
  3. Zach

    Great write up Jeff!

    Like 4
  4. Stevieg

    I had a couple ’72 Electra coupes. Handling is not their strong point, neither is fuel economy. But they are awesome on the highway! And they look great being awesome on the highway!
    I think this is a very fair price, if as nice in person as represented in the ad.

    Like 6
  5. Chris Cornetto

    When a Duce and Quarter was a duce and a quarter. Growing up in the city these were everywhere. By the late 80s the metal eating monster had consumed most. Some gave their 455s to the Skylark crew other just disappeared into oblivion. I actually liked these and their Grandville cousins. I drove bunches of them and preferred them over the sedan Deville. As a convertible guy none stayed with me but a 72 Lesabre rag with the 455. Nice car here not sure I would plop 9k on one. This like many are just nice old cars and most car people will tire of this rapidly. It is not a economical daily ride unless you are in close proximity to whatever. Hard parts, I.E. trim sheet metal are almost non existent so any mishap could become a death sentence. I know all cars are crazy priced right now but some are just not worth it. These were traveling abroad for a brief time a decade or so back, not sure if that market stills has an appetite for these. Ice vehicles of any type are becoming taboo in Europe and other spots around the globe.

    Like 1
    • Clarky

      72 Buick convertibles were called Centurions. I had 2 of the both with 455 in them. Had a group of buddies bet me I couldn’t do a burnout a block log. I won the bet.

      Like 1
      • Stevieg

        The Centurian was available as a convertible, a 2 door hardtop coupe and a 4 door hardtop sedan.
        The LeSabre was available as a convertible, as was the Skylark in 1972.

        Like 2
  6. Fred W

    I sometimes worry about driving around in an old car with no airbags, head restraints, etc. sharing the road with distracted drivers in my ’62 Studebaker, Hawk, not exactly a behemoth. A car this size from the 70’s is another story. The sheer mass of them would cause most modern SUV’s to self destruct on impact, and they have some modern safety features.

    Like 5
    • grant

      Modern vehicles are designed to crumple and deform to absorb the energy of the crash and protect you. Sure that old Buick is going to bounce right off, but the guy in the destroyed SUV is going to get out and help the EMTs scrape you out of that Buick…

      Like 7
  7. Big C

    Nope. I’m still not paying “up” for a 4 door, anything.

    Like 5
  8. rosseaux

    I always wondered what made a Buick Person vs. an Oldsmobile Person since, in my estimation, both represented the same kind of restrained luxury.

    My father’s side were Buick people since the 1910s, but with the extra dose of puritanical flair so they were a strictly low-option bunch. They rejoiced when the midsized models debuted (though both of my grandmother’s Skylarks smelled like mushrooms thanks to chronic leaks). I always thought of Buick as a little “matronly” compared to Olds.

    Like 1
    • Jonathan A Green

      Olds was always the “engineer’s car”. Back in the day, Olds had the latest technology. Hell, even the Quad 4. They were always handsome cars, very trim. If you were into that sort of thing, and had a little money, Olds was for you.

      Buick was always the doctor’s or lawyers car. It was luxury, but not not a Cadillac.

      There’s also Lansing v. Flint. If you grew up in Lansing, or went to Michigan State, you were an Olds person. If you grew up in Flint, you were a Buick person.

      My dad graduated MSU in 1965, and his first nice car was an F85 Olds…

      Like 5
    • Bill Owens BillOMember

      My mother was a Chevrolet person for years. Her last Chevrolet was a 1972 Caprice. In fall 1973, my dad bought a 1973 Buick Lesabre Custom, his first Buick. He died in October 1974. My mom’s Caprice at the time had more than 50,000 miles, so she gave it to my sister and mom took my dad’s Lesabre, with less than 10,000 miles. She was not pleased with the service at the Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealer in town. The dealer she always bought her Chevrolets from also sold Oldsmobile. So in fall 1978 when she was ready for a new car, she chose a 1978 Olds 98. She had one more Oldsmobile before she died. Sometimes it can be the dealer experience.

      Like 5
  9. Stevieg

    The supposed hierarchy is Chevy, then Pontiac, then Oldsmobile followed by Buick with Cadillac rounding out the top.
    I agree with you…Oldsmobile & Buick were pretty much interchangeable. I actually thought the ’68-’72 Cutlass Supreme was more elegant than the same year Skylarks myself, but I can see the full size models from that era being more in line with this supposed hierarchy.
    I guess that is why GM eliminated Olds, they were basically competing against themselves.

    Like 2
    • Paul

      I always wondered why the ditched Olds to keep Buick. The sale records at the time indicated they around 3 Oldsmobiles for every Buick they sold.

      Like 0
      • ACZ

        At the time Olds was discontinued, that was not the case. Olds sales were in the mud in the early to mid 90s and continued downhill.

        Like 1
      • Michael Pecoraro

        I currently have a 1975 Buick Lesabre triple white convertible with red interior. Every where I go I get thumbs up and questions . The car only has the 350 4 barrel. But it cruises like a dream and handles perfectly and will run smoothly at 85 all day long with out much effort. I have 20k in it and get offers on it all the time only 75k on the odometer. Love it

        Like 2
  10. Steffen

    The vinyl-roof is toast and most likely also the sheetmetal below. There seems to be a huge rusthole in the rear edge of the hood and the paint is mostly done, too.
    Interior is better, but I believe that for a pretty much used 4-door the price is way too high.
    I had a 73 Electra Coupe some years ago- a great driving car with a huge presence on todays streets (especially here in Germany). I miss the car and would buy another 73, but this one is not on my list.

    Like 0
  11. Denise Holcomb

    My first car was a 1971 Buick Le Sabre. It had belonged to my grandfather. It was beat up a bit from Jersey drivers. I drove it through high school. I could fit 8 fo my friends in that thing.

    Like 1
  12. CCFisher

    In the 1950s, there were substantial differences between Buick and Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile used only the corporate B-body. Buick also used the B-body, but its top models shared the C-body with Cadillac. Drivetrain and chassis designs were also quite different. Buick used torque tube drive with coil springs, Oldsmobile used Hotchkiss drive with leaf springs. Buick used Dynaflow, Oldsmobile used Hydra-Matic, and so on. By 1973, though, those differences were gone, and being a “Buick guy” or an “Olds guy” came down to styling and which dealership was closer.

    All Electras came with the 455, btw.

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      The transmissions were different in 1953 when the Hydramatic Plant burned down and Oldsmobile made some cars with DynaFlows.

      Like 2
  13. Joseph Balogh III

    I had one almost identical except for the color. Bought it in 1978, drove from California to New Jersey, shipped it to Athens, Greece, and freaked out the people with this massive car. Drove it for 2 years until the engine died. Sold it at a scrap yard where a local bought it, inserted a Mercedes diesel drive train and converted it into a luxury hearse! Loved that car.

    Like 1
  14. ACZ

    Have they ever made a movie out of Stephen King’s “From a Buick 8”.
    That was a great book.

    Like 1
    • Paulcug

      I’ve been waiting for that movie myself after reading the book.

      Like 1
  15. John

    Our 1st Buick was a 1973 225. Dark midnight Blue, matching interior, but not the vinyl leather. Also had a 1976 Century, 1975 Skylark, 1981 Riviera, 1990 Park Ave, 1995 LeSabre and finally a 2004 Century!

    Like 2
  16. Timothy Rudzinski, Sr.

    Back in 1976, I bought a 1971 Electra two door hardtop. Cinnamon with a black vinyl roof. I loved the car! Land yachts were always my favorite cars. The 455 V8 for that year had the compression down to 8.5 to 1 and she only produced eighty five MPH floored. Regardless, I was very happy with her as these full size GM cars were well built, reliable and quiet riding.

    Like 2

    I had a number of Buicks and they were all great cars. Got my uncles LeSable which would frost over the AC vents. Then a ’67 Riviera which was a dream. Then a ’73 Electra Limited which was every bit as luxurious as the Cadillacs I eventually moved to as I could get better deals after the Buicks got such demand. The weak point on those ’73 Electras was that all of their hoods rusted thru not long after new. That’s why I got rid of mine. It was a manufacturing problem and no one wanted to mess with them.

    Like 0
  18. Tony C

    I remember in the mid-’80s, when my stepfather’s dad died, he said he was handing his dad’s Buick to me. He and my mother said it was a big ’73 Buick, which gave me the image of an Electra. It wasn’t. It was Buick’s Nova, the Apollo, with only A/C as its main option. A few years later, after wrecking that car (not intended, I got used to it in a sort of upscale Axel-Foley way), my grandmother found another Buick for me, a ’79…which gave me the image of a small car, not my top choice. But that one WAS an Electra, the last -225 Buick marketed, a 2-door sedan (with the very nice sloped treatment to the back of the greenhouse) with “Limited” trim (which brings back to mind an old snide remark of the day: “Limited to what?”). That car had valve trouble with its engine from the onset, but it was very nice. I considered it even prettier than the Lincolns of that year, and I’ve always favored Lincolns above all else. Alas, that car would eventually go to automotive Valhalla, mainly because of bad influences in my life at the time. The Electras always have a soft spot with me, above just about any other non-Lincoln make/model I may also like.

    That said, I have to dispute the ranking of GMs in the article, unless the author has history records I don’t have to prove the point. The way I remember, Buick was the division above Pontiac, and Olds was above Buick…then came LaSalle (until 1940), then Cadillac.

    Like 0
  19. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    Have you ever owned or driven a Buick of this vintage?…….

    1962 Electra 225 convertible
    1973 Regal 2 Dr
    1973 Apollo
    1970 Riviera
    1971 Riviera
    1972 Riviera

    Love my Buicks. I owned and drove all of the above. The ’72 Riviera was in the late ’90s and could steer it with one finger. Had “freeze your face off” a/c and the 455-4.
    When I bought the 1970 Riviera in the early 2000s, it had an Edlbrock carb on it, plus posi rear and pretty much a “go” package. But no, it wasn’t a GS.
    All my Buicks were great and powerful drivers. I really miss them.

    Also had a 1972 Oldsmobile 98 Regency which I was told by the dealer was used in the movie “Carlitro’s Way” with AL Pachino.
    AL Pachino sat his a$$ in the passenger seat of my Oldsmobile. Unfortunately, all scenes with it ended up on the editing room floor.

    Like 4
    • Wayne BMan Lewis

      As an Old School Brothaman, I agree with Angel Cadillac Diva, There’s something pimpin about driving a Late 60’s- Early 70’s Buick… Cadillac is disguise..Props to the 60’s-70’s GM BMD

      Like 2
      • Stevieg

        Hell yeah!!!

        Like 2
  20. Corvair Jim

    My similar vintage big Buick was a burgundy vinyl over white ’76 LeSabre Custom 4-door hardtop. Believe it or not, it was a former police unmarked. They had confiscated it in a major drug bust. (As I heard the story, they found several kilos of cocaine under the spare tire). The former owner had really worked it over, giving it a hotted-up 455 with headers and dual exhaust without catalytic converters. Let me tell you, that big ol’ barge was FAST! As has been said about many other cars in the past, it could pass just about anything but a gas station.

    My father worked for the municipality that had the car. Time came that too many criminals knew it on sight, so it was time to replace it. My dad put in the word that I was looking for a family car for my young family (I was 19 and married and with a baby). I got that 5 year old Buick for $600. It only had 75,000 miles on the clock. I wondered at the time how many folks saw this late teenager get out of a big, late model Buick and just assume that it was my dad’s car.

    It served us well for several years, with the family growing from three to five. Then a definite problem cropped up: one of the kids had a tendency to get car sick on any drive over about 10 miles, which definitely NOT a good thing when the car has velour upholstery! That’s an aroma that lingers. I worked detailing cars back then, and I used every trick I knew to get rid of the smell. I eventually traded it straight up for a ’73 Chevelle Laguna station wagon with much lower miles and a warmed-over 4-barrel 350, but that’s a story for another day.

    Like 2
  21. Abbs

    My grandmother had an 80 Electra which was light blue until she was eighty years old and got one of those LaSabre cutlasses my brother mostly drove. Her car had comfortable cloth seats and a real a track tape player and the thing rode so smooth and was a very reliable and fun car for mom and my brother to drive when she wasn’t driving it around her town or coming out to visit us.

    Like 1
    • Stevieg

      What is a LaSabre Cutlass?
      One is a Buick, one is an Oldsmobile. Just wondering.

      Like 2
      • Big C

        It was marketed next to the Caprice Bonneville. Very rare beasts.

        Like 1

    I had a ’74 tricked out Electra coupe. I bought it in 1978 with a little over 50K miles. Within six months, my dad and I had replaced virtually every working part other than the engine and transmission. Two years later, the transmission croaked. But I did love driving it. Smooth as silk.

    This body shape also reminds me of the ’73 DeVille I had. It was another car seriously afflicted by the malaise of the era. I doubt if I will ever want to own another car from the ’70s.

    Like 0
  23. Doug

    Had a 76 Electra Limited with all the trimmings. Black on black on black with gorgeous fabric and a 455 smog control relieved engine. Low miles and a real head turner. Smooth and comfy! I could lay my 10 speed bike FLAT inside the trunk. I regretted selling it since I signed the title over to another Buick owner about 31 years ago.

    Like 1

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