What’s This 1960 Buick Electra 225 Worth?

1960 Buick Electra 225

After receiving an email from Peter K asking about what his car might be worth, we realized it has been a long while since we have done a “What’s My Car Worth?” post. Seeing as we haven’t seen many of these big Buicks, we thought it seemed like a great opportunity to present it to you guys for your opinions on what it might be worth. He’s already been in contact with a certain TV show that follows the exploits of two notorious car flippers, so any advice we can give him will be greatly appreciated! We don’t mean to step on any toes, we just want to make sure this car goes to a good home and that Peter is happy with the final deal. Now to make any kind of educated evaluation, we are going to need more information, so we will let Peter describe the car and its history in his own words right after the break.

Buick Electra 225

I found this 1960 Buick Electra 225, 100% original and complete with extra parts, as a true barn find at what is now my father-in-laws barn on his farm. He was selling the farm and moving down south. He bought it as a second owner in 1965 for a little over $1000 and I still have all the original paperwork including the title, bill of sale, and registration from back then. It was last plated in 1969. He started it once a month every month up until 2007.

Buick 401cid V8

I bought it from him in 2007 with a plan to restore it or convert it to an electric vehicle. Shortly after buying it I found out I was going to be a dad. Car went into storage in my uncle’s garage where it still is. Now 2 boys later ages 4 and 6, I don’t think I will ever get to it. Anyway hope you like it. It has some surface rust on the top and hood, a couple spots around decals, but no holes or anything that can’t be fixed with a bit of sanding or sandblasting. It still wears its original paint. Any ideas what it might be worth?

1960 Buick Electra Interior

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is how I came to the idea of making it electric. My father-in-law’s (his name is on the original paperwork) grandmother and Nikola Tesla’s mother were sisters. So between the association to Nikola Tesla, the car name being Buick Electra, and my very in-depth electrical background, it seemed like a no brainer except for the 2 big restrictions, money and time. With the popularity of Tesla Motors (electric cars in general) today, it might make sense for someone to still do it.

Buick Electra 225 in the garage

Obviously Peter’s Buick is going to need work, but we are sure there is someone out there that would like to have this long wheelbase Electra. We aren’t too sure about his idea of converting it to electric though. It could be done and would certainly prove to be an interesting challenge, but would be costly. From the standpoint of selling it, he’s better off leaving it original. We would recommend he see if the motor is free and try to get it running again. A running car is a much easier to sell any day of the week!

Buick Electra 225 Rear Fin

If this Buick turns out to be a solid car and the motor can be made to run again, it might actually make for an interesting cruiser. It is rare enough that you wouldn’t see many others, but still not so rare that parts are impossible to find. And if you are a fan of fins, this one has plenty! So with the provided information, what advice would you give Peter and what do you think his car is worth right now as it sits?

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Comments

  1. Mark E

    I agree, the best advice at this point would be to get it running and, if you wanted to put more time into it, make sure any leaks and minor issues are taken care of that would affect drivability. In my mind that would increase the value quite a bit to any potential buyer.

  2. LEE MAJORS

    A hill of beans?

  3. Mike H. Mike Member

    For what it’s worth…

    A good friend of mine just parted company with his Father’s 1959 Electra 225. The car was significant locally as the first owner had been the owner of one of the largest Buick dealers in town through the 1940’s-1980’s. The seller was only the third owner (his father having been the second) and the car was in very good original condition with only an older respray.

    Selling price of this car? $5700.00. If this is to suggest that the value of a clean, drivable, rust-free and complete car is low then our friend should hope for the best but plan for the worst. I would hope that he could find a buyer at $1500, but my feeling is that he should be pleased to find a taker at anything greater than $750.

  4. Dave Wright

    These cars were never particularly popular but with today’s cruiser culture it would find some interest. What is the stuff around the carburator? Looks like some sort of foam? Could it be an attempt to solve a vapor lock problem? I could see it as a low rider………those guys are not that interested in running condition. It would wind up with a small block and hydraulics anyway. Sometimes working on these old projects is just opening a can of worms. You learn the trans is bad (they will go bad sitting) the brakes need an expensive overhaul, and the engine has low oil pressure……..you wish you had never started. I think it is a 1000-1500 dollar car.

  5. DanaPointJohn

    Ugh! Lots and lots of work that would end-up being a massive labor of love. Fun cruiser for sure, but yikes!

  6. rancho bella

    Other than parts……….worthless four door. I’ve always liked them….a rather quirky design and it is an old Buick. They were quality cars in there day.

  7. Shilo

    Cool car but wow lots of work. $1000 maybe to the right person. It will be cool when done and a rare car at the cruise in.

  8. Other Perry

    I think the above poster is right on track, 750 to 1000 tops, they aren’t popular or “collectible”. That being said, I wouldnt throw it out of bed…so to speak.

  9. andy d

    i have been around the autobody restoration business for a while now
    and i would say that, just maybe, you could realize a lot more money by just selling the chrome and stainless trim parts vs what the whole car might be worth if it ran
    interiors, dashes, knobs , door panels, and arm rests that are original are sought after
    just make groups out of what you want to sell eg> 4arm rests for sale from a 1960 buick electra ….. and dont sell just one. its 4 the whole set or nothing and (dont throw that radio out!!!!)
    wow one with tubes even ……..they dont make those anymore either
    thats probably rare most i would say were thrown away for the better modern ones

    if it ran before it should run now but youll have to turn it over by hand first
    take the plugs out and squirt some oil into the cylinders let them soak then get hold of a good mechanic to help you so that you dont wipe the cam

    i had a 351w laying around for 34 years, turned it by hand and then tried for about an hr to fire it up and it finally did start and ran just like 34 yrs ago
    good luck
    andy
    what is it worth ? well they arent making anymore 1960 buicks
    so i would guess by what i see around 2,000 dollars
    but the price goes up running$$ and then add$$ if it moves etc

    forget sandblasting unless you know what you are doing you will kill the car
    blasting is an art
    and those that are good at it get paid big bucks
    if a person doesnt know what he is doing all the panels will grow or bulge making them worthless

    do your homework
    good luck
    andy

  10. Tony

    These old 4 door cars are becoming popular as an alternative to the more expensive hardtops. These old Buicks are quirky and not too common, a lot of work, but if it runs and the floor isn’t rusted away, I’d go for $750-$1000. It would be a fun first project!

  11. Mike D

    I would agree that it is an unusual car, I don’t recall the big Buicks being this color, back in the day my neighbor had a midnight blue one, but, he traded his cars in every three years no matter what. I definitely would not lower it or put hydrolics on it . If you have deep pockets you may want to bring it back to as it came off the line. Personally, if I had the $$$, I would bring it back to stock LOOKING, but, put modern day ” additions” to make it run better, and more comfortable

  12. shawnmcgill

    I’m going along with everyone else. It’s a $1000 car. I know the guy has sentimental value attached to it, but it’s a 4-door that needs EVERYTHING, and when you’re done, you are still looking at a 4-door.

  13. Trickie Dickie Member

    Yep, the above guys have it right! I belong to an old car collectors club and have for over 40 years. Ordinary older sedans are not in demand. Now, if that were a 1960 fully restarted 100 point Roadmaster Convertible, it would easily go for $45,000 to $65,000 or more!! $750 t0 $1000 is about right for this one. Take $500 if offered.

  14. Jonnyboy

    Parting out an old car is always going to ultimately bring more money. But is that really what everyone wants to see? I’d want to see the old thing get going again. No need to do a full restoration. No mods other than for safety (such as a dual master cylinder to create a dual diagonal hydraulic brake circuit). Get the mechanicals back in order, reupholster or just blanket the seats, and preserve the paint with linseed oil. Paint is only original once, and patina is in!

    1
  15. Dave @ OldSchool

    …I’m with the Trickster… 750-1000…

    500 is too low, tho’

    you can take the good stuff off, and STILL get over 300 at the scrap yard…

    .4 dr cars of that period are not worth restoring,

  16. Duffy Member

    Worthless// It’s a 4 door.

  17. Neil

    This is slightly off-topic but are four-door cars of this era really worth so little in the States, even in nice running condition?

    The reason I ask is that I run a wedding car business here in the UK and I have been on the lookout for something different to the run-of-the-mill Silver Ghost and Daimler 420s that are our stock-in-trade. There is a huge retro movement over here at the moment and if nice 4-doors can be had at around the $6000-8000 mark, this makes it a no-brainer in terms of finances, even considering the shipping, registration charges and import taxes.

    I have looked here in the UK but you can add a ‘1’ in front of those numbers for anything nice.

    If I haven’t misjudged the comments above, could anyone recommend where I start looking (e.g. which State – rust vs. cracked dashboards/sun-bleached paint etc.) and 4-doors which, whilst currently out of favour in the USA, would be snapped up by young brides here? Early to mid-60s Caddies are the obvious choice to me but I can’t find any nice ones that are priced low enough to make it worth the investment and potential risk – they all seem to be at dealers having undergone a 5 or 6-figure restoration and the price reflects it.

    Obviously, any car we use for weddings has to look superb – a respray and minor body repairs are no issue, but replacing tired/worn interiors would be problematic in England due to lack of availability/cost of shipping bits across the pond.

    Thanks in advance!

    • The Other Doug M. (West Coast)

      Neil, you might want to try Oregon on the West Coast, and though we have rain, seldom have sun/heat issues, and no salt on the roads. Might try shopping around Portland, Oregon. Would be glad to help, as I enjoy shopping: tradin.shells@gmail.com -Doug

      • Neil

        Thanks Doug. Rather than fill up Jesse’s forum with a private chat, I’ll fire an email off to you shortly. Much appreciated!

    • Sam

      Neil,
      Maybe getting something like this Buick and having it gone over by someone in the states before you bring it home would be a good idea. Taking this car to the Wedding-Car level would be pretty affordable. PM me if you’d be interested in exploring the possibility of this type of arrangement. I did a few classic Corvettes back in the late ’90s and would be game to do it again.
      Thanks,
      Sam
      sam@kjsdrafting.com

    • Chuck

      Niel. I have a 66 Caddy Limo (no divider widow) that is an older restoration base/clear coat paint. The top, hood & deck lid need repainting. Interior is good, but dash mat is cracked. If interested contact me via email & we can discuss further. I am in Arizona & have owned the car for 20 years, but time to let it go as I am currently finishing an Edsel convertible.
      Chuck

  18. Dave Wright

    I think the group is being a little hard on 4 door cars. Many car shows are full of well done 4 door hard tops these days. In the old days 2 door hard tops were where the money was but the low rider group love cars that they can fill with people and cruse with. That being said, they do not have the value of a 2 door. I have seen some come up to 75% of the value of a compatible 2 door whitch isn’t bad. The rub is that 4 door cars cost as much to restore as the 2 doors or even convertibles that are normally at the pinnacle of cost or value in any given model. Freely admitting my prejudice, I would be looking for a southwestern car and figure on lots of interior restoration. The sheet metal on the southwestern cars is great but the heat is hard on upholstery and rubber. These days those things are more available than in the old days.

    • Neil

      Thanks Dave,

      The major snag for me with the Texas/Arizona etc. cars is that the interiors are inevitably trashed, as you say. It is much easier to sort out paint and metalwork but I’ve been browsing this site long enough to understand what kind of basket cases you can get if you pick a wrong ‘un that’s had salt sprayed onto the underneath and into every cavity for 50 years! Whilst you good folks can pick up re-manufactured interior parts and trim with very little effort these days, it could add months to any work I need to do. I’ve been down this road with my own car.

      The mechanical stuff is quite easy to get hold of. It’s those niggling bits of chrome, window winders, interior dome lights, those kind of things.

      Still – I foresee many (wasted, according to my wife!) evenings flicking through the classifieds to see what comes up, but I’m finding very FEW four-doors available. Everyone’s got the coupes or the convertibles.

      My own toy is a 1976 coupe deville, last of the big ‘uns with the 500ci. Under extreme pressure I once ran it at a wedding because the couple who came to see our hire cars saw it and wanted to use it, but the only people who can get it of the back of it with any decorum are aged under 6; not brides in big, fancy dresses! If I’m going to do this, I need 4 doors…

  19. stp

    I love the 1960 Buicks. My story of the one that got away involves a ’60 LeSabre 2 door hardtop a couple decades ago. Florida car, heater delete and minor rust. Motor cranked but didn’t start. Was a teenager and fearful of paying too much. Still regret it. I’d probably still own it today if I had bought it.

    This particular car is one you’d break even on only if it were given to you free. Though you could get lucky and find out the car needed only a tune up, a complete brake job, and a blanket over the bench seat to be a daily driver. I would pay up to $750 for it. If I were the seller though, I’d ask $1800 and listen to offers.

  20. Jim-Bob

    I’d say it depends on just how far gone it is. If it’s a solid car with a running engine, good trim, windows, lenses and little to no rust then I will go out on a limb and say $2500. It just has too much style (antistyle?) to go for less than that. As far as making it electric, about the only viable way to do that would probably be using a wrecked Tesla Model S as a donor vehicle. It’s not a light car and so it needs a system befitting it’s heft. I would probably measure both cars and see if the Tesla has similar dimensions in terms of wheelbase and track. If it did, I’d Sawzall the bottom of the Buick and top of the Tesla and mate the two.

    If it were mine, it would get some sort of modern V6 with around 300 hp and direct injection. That way it would be more fuel efficient than when new and have better acceleration too. Then again, I might just leave it stock if the engine is serviceable. It’s a cool cruiser, but I wouldn’t use it every day. Thus the money saved on fuel would never be enough to recoup the initial investment in efficiency.

    I do wonder though if a middle of the road solution couldn’t work? Perhaps converting it from the original Dynaflow transmission to a TH 200-4R and running the engine from a TBI off a Chevy truck and Megasquirt EMS would offer a great increase in efficiency for a minimal expenditure. The TBI would fit under a stock air cleaner but would offer much better atomization for improved oil life and reduced ring wear, not to mention better fuel economy. Add a electronic ignition conversion kit from a company like Pertronix to complete the package and you may even see 14-15 mpg in the city! Barring the EFI, even a switch to a Quadrajet would surely offer better economy than the original carb.

    • Jay

      AGREED!!! I learned to drive on my dad’s ’60 Invicta Custom Riviera… great car… fast, comfortable, and solid as a rock. This one is worth at least $2500… especailly since it is a 6 window 4 door Riviera…. most were less elegant flat tops but these stood out for their wonderful style an elegance. The 401 nailhead is bulletproof and is soo smooth and powerful.
      “When Better Automobiles Are Built, BUICK will build them!” So true in the 60s!!!

  21. Bradford Hamilton

    There are plenty of these around in mint condition for sale. Super expensive to restore because of the Turbine Drive tranny. This is a good parts car. I don’t see any accessorories execpt for the power antenna which is worth a couple of hundred dollars. Does it have a 6 way power seat? That would be worth about $500. The ribbed trim along the bottom is worth big bucks. The rest of the car, maybe $750.

  22. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Like any modern vehicle, price depends on the desirability of the car and the options on it. This one has a medium/low desirability being a 4 door, appears to have average options, PS/PB no A/C or electric windows. Plus’s would be minimal rust, won’t see many others like it, and you could load 4 friends and all their gear for a week long road trip.
    Price point? Ask for $2K, take anything over $1200 would be mine as a seller.

  23. Brian10x

    I thought it had no rust holes? You can clearly see a huge rust hole in the battery tray, and who knows what rust lurks beneath that as well.

  24. Pete

    Much easy money there…..ship it to me, and I sell it for at least $ 6000.- overhere. (Netherlands)

  25. stp

    The Buick nailhead is a unique species that deserves preservation in its natural habitat.

    Many of the original powertrains are interesting in their own right and inherent to the car’s personality. I have this frustration with other popular restomods — SBCs replacing the Hurricane 6 in Willy’s trucks, for example. I understand the benefits of a modern powertrain, but it makes me question the depth of the owner’s interest in old cars in the first place. Please, save the restomods for examples that have already lost their originality.

  26. Dave Wright

    I agree in concept with STP but am less concerned about these less than desire able models. Most of these were built by the thousands and what we consider rare and uneque really isn’t. Off course, many are destine for the recycler but if the prices rise, it is amazing to see how many come out of hiding. I have a similar delama with a with a boat project I am considering. It was built in 1938 and still has the orignal Diesel engine that is an absaloute work of art, it runs well and is functional but………it has 300 points that have to be hand oiled every 2 hrs and is dirrect reversing so has to be stopped and restarted backwards to reverse. I am thinking it belongs in a museum or engenering school where it can be seen and appreciated. It will be seen and appreciated by very few hidden in the bottom of the old yacht. So, I am leaning towards a repower. I always feel funny about a small block Chev in an old Ford hot rod……..seems they could have used a Ford……..but in the example of the Over head cam jeep hurricane, it is a curious interesting engine…….a few of which should be saved as objects of study for students of engines and design.

  27. AMCFAN

    A friend rescued a 1960 LeSabre from a scrap yard last summer for $650. Car was not in bad shape at all. Unique car with its space age style. Had a glovebox of paperwork including dealer documents and plenty of maintenance reciepts through the years. Amazing under the carpet was factory GM documents that I am assuming would equate to a build sheet. With a can of gas the Nailhead fired right up. Why someone gave up on it I don’t know.
    As for value on the above garage find. I would spend a little time and sweep out the seat foam/mouse nest and droppings and show the car some attention before trying to sell.If you could get it to run even better. It would give the car the best chance of finding a buyer. Good luck

  28. C.W.Muse

    2k tops

  29. Chuck (55chevy)

    Try the Antique Aotomobile Club of America, they have a lot of Buick collectors & sub fforums http://forums.aaca.org/ A 1960 4dr ht from Seattle sold on there for $3,500, it had the wrap around rear window, I never realized they made two versions of the 4dr ht.

  30. Shamus

    If it was in Aus i’d be happy to pay 5k for it

  31. ConservativesDefeated

    Somebody call Neil Young!

  32. Mitchell Murphy

    I learned a long time ago that just because something is rare doesn’t make it desirable . A car is worth what some one is willing to give for it. The automotive market goes up and down and ever one know the market is “Soft” right now. I love the GM cars of this era, and Buick is just under Cadillac on the GM ladder. I like the color also. When getting any car, you get it mechanically right always before cosmetics. I would get it running (No electric) first, clean and drive it around and present the cat what it is -an original 1960 Electric 225. This way people can see exactly what is presented. A friend of mine runs AUTO BARN CLASSIC CARS in Charlotte NC (5 miles from the Speedway), give Tom a call and let them sell it for you, they ship all over the world and have sold 5 for me, they do get results. There number is (800) 650-1055. I hope that I have been some help. Car Guys helping car guys- Have a blessed Day!- Mitch

  33. Charles

    I agree with the majority of previous posters. $750.00 to $1500.00 is about right for this car. That’s If the undercarriage and floor pans are all solid. I would like to see this car go to the right person who will bring her back to her former glory. Restored to original specs but not over restored. If the car is truly solid, a frame off restore would not be necessary to enjoy the car. My family owned a new 59 Invicta wagon and a later a used 59 Invicta four door flat top. The 401 Nail Head and Dynaflow trans are pretty sweet and trouble free when set up correctly. Those cars will roll all day long at highway speeds with minimal to zero problems. My folks towed a boat and Shasta TT with the wagon (not at the same time). The car had the torque of a modern SUV. I remember it tackling the Rocky Mountains several times with the camper in tow. No problems at all. My folks drove both cars well over 200K and they were still going strong.

  34. BK

    I have purchased barn fresh cars before. The most I have paid so far for a drag out of the barn/pole building was $400.
    Usually just to get them running and driving with a reasonable amount of dependability will cost between $1000 and $2000. Less if you do all of the work yourself. More if you have a shop do all of the work. Brakes, brake lines, fuel lines, Gas tank rust out, exhaust, Day of scrubbing and cleaning, tires, rebuild carb, tune up, radiator, flush coolant, battery. That usually gets you going down the road.
    If it is clean and solid, I would start high, but don’t be disappointed when you can only get around $1000.
    Running and driving I would start at $10,000. The level of interest will determine how low you need to go.
    I like the car, too bad you don’t have time for it.
    Good Luck.

  35. Charles

    Two years ago I purchased a one owner 1982 Pontiac Trans AM WS7 T-Top car with 24K actual miles on it. The PO had kept the car in running condition, but had not updated any of the rubber parts. The car was stored in a climate controled barn and is like new in appearance. He provided all reciepts for all purchase, service, and repairs for the car’s entire existance, which is way cool! The car started and drove. Everything worked. Still the OE brakes were soft and the 32 year-old tires hard. The radiator hoses were soft and swollen. I trailered the car home. For two years I trailered the car to events and shows to compete. The car has the most original 82 TA you will ever see with the factory marks still in place from the assembly line. She has multiple first place wins! Deamed a reference car by Pontiac Historians, the 64 dollar question is how far to go to maintain the orginality of this time capsule, versus replacing old rubber stuff that was failing preventing the car from doing what it was intended to do, and that is to be driven. I have already crossed this path with another low mileage TA, so getting her road ready was part of the plan. She will probably only see a couple of hundred miles each year. I was diagnosed with cancer this year and am undergoing treatment. I have a good prognosis. I also took this car to the shop and had all of this deferred maintance completed. So far we have spent 4200.00 but we have a running driving fun old car. The costs og recommissioning an old car ain’t cheap, and this one drove to the shop.

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