- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

"It's everything I wanted except what I was looking for," Josh Brown tries to explain about his 1965 Buick Electra 225.

About four years ago Mr. Brown determined that he actually needed a personal luxury car from the mid-1960s. Setting his sights on a Ford Thunderbird of that era, the search was on.

Involved in the hunt was Mr. Brown's wife, Alquietta, and their young son Joshua. The threesome looked at numerous cars before narrowing the search to a 1965 Thunderbird and a 1965 Buick Electra 225.

Mr. Brown was seriously linked to the Thunderbird, but conceded that it needed a lot of body work to be made whole.

On the other hand the Buick was in rarely found rust- and dent-free condition. The three family members huddled in that spring of 1998 and decided to take a diplomatic vote by secret ballot. The Buick won by a 2-to-1 margin.

They bought the big Buick from a broker who had purchased the car from its original owner in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Brown soon discovered his newly acquired 4,272-pound Buick carried a base price when new of $4,252, or about a dollar per pound.

Since acquiring the Electra 225, affectionately known among Buick aficionados as a deuce-and-a-quarter, Mr. Brown has tended to its needs.

The 401-cubic-inch V-8 develops 325 horsepower, which can propel the heavy car with amazing speed.

With a fuel consumption rate of 10 mpg on the highway, Mr. Brown surmises that is why General Motors installed a 25-gallon fuel tank on the 18-foot-long car. The importance the folks at Buick placed on fuel consumption of the mighty 325-horsepower V-8 is indicated by where they placed the gas gauge directly in front of the driver.

This top-of-the-line model came from the factory equipped with:

• Power seats.

• Power brakes.

• Power steering.

• Power windows.

• Tilt steering wheel.

• AM/FM stereo radio.

Although the large side windows are power operated, the small wing vent windows are opened by turning hand cranks.

Air conditioning was not common on cars in 1965, even on some of the high-dollar models.

A pair of knobs on the chrome-covered dashboard operate two fresh-air vents at ankle level beneath the dashboard." That's the air conditioner," Mr. Brown comments.

He says that even on hot days that, as long as the car is moving, the interior is comfortable for the occupants.

A set of 8.75x15-inch B.F. Goodrich white sidewall tires support the Buick on a 126-inch wheelbase.

The chiseled lines of the deuce-and-a-quarter Electra seem to dictate wall-to-wall taillights. Buick designers created the illusion of a single car-wide taillight; however, in reality the center section is a reflector on a door that conceals the gas cap.

A pair of backup lights are mounted in the massive rear bumper, one on either side of the indentation for the license plate.

Moving away from the rear of the car and turning the corner to the sharply creased rear fender, the chrome-plated legend spells out E-L-E-C-T-R-A 2-2-5.

Atop the left rear fender is the antenna. Adding visually to the length of the Buick are the rear fender skirts, each one almost 5 feet in length.

On the side of the front fenders are the mandatory Buick design cues, four stylized rectangular portholes. At the lower leading edge of the front fenders are cornering lights.

Whether inside or outside the car, W-I-D-E seems to be the operative description. The windshield is so wide that, in order to clear a sufficient amount, the long wipers overlap each other when at rest.

Peering through the two-spoke steering wheel, the 120 mph speedometer is visible. The odometer is now about to record 88,000 miles, which averages out over the car's 36-year life as less than 2,500 miles annually. That mileage figure helps explain the extraordinary original unrestored condition of the Buick.

Thoughtful convenient features are plentiful throughout the Buick. All four doors are equipped with a vertical chrome-plated hand grip to make closing each door easier." Those door grips are darling," Mr. Brown affirms.

The driver doesn't have to open the window to adjust the outside mirror because there is a manual remote control inside. Almost everything was up to date in 1965.

Both front and rear seats feature pull-down armrests. Also, all of the three ashtrays are equipped with cigarette lighters just a sign of the times.

While passengers could kick off their shoes and let the plush carpeting tickle their toes, the driver had to contend with the 1965 version of cruise control. It was simply a dial that could be set at any designated speed. When the driver exceeded that speed, an alarm would sound.

A total of 7,197 Buicks similar to Mr. Brown's were manufactured. Back in 1965 the cars didn't attract that much attention since the streets were full of cars of a similar size. Not many have survived.

"It's unique," Mr. Brown explains. "That's what attracted me."

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