- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2005

After the original owner of a 1965 Buick Electra 225 convertible died, his siblings gathered to divvy up his possessions.

It soon became apparent that nobody wanted his old black Buick. Nobody except his sister-in-law, who urged her husband to take the car. A few days later they drove the car back home to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

A few years later the big 425-cubic-inch V-8 needed attention after 100,000 miles and was sent off to be rebuilt in Baltimore.

Soon thereafter a neighbor bought the car. Although the rebuilt engine was healthy, the automatic transmission refused to shift out of first gear. That’s when the owner, a willing seller, found Nick Anderson, a willing buyer, and the Buick has its fourth owner.

Mr. Anderson had his disabled Electra 225 (so named because it is 225 inches long — 18 feet, 9 inches) put on a trailer and towed to a transmission shop in Arlington.

A few days later Mr. Anderson, who was expecting bad news, was told that all his Super Turbine transmission needed was a thorough flushing and fresh transmission fluid.

Several months later age caught up with the hydraulic pistons that operate the convertible top. “They froze with the top in the down position,” he says, “and the electric motor burned out when I tried to raise the top.”

While the hydraulic pistons and electric motor were being repaired Mr. Anderson had a new white top installed to match the seats. The carpeting and side panels are black.

About the only other problem Mr. Anderson has encountered occurred when he turned into his driveway at the conclusion of an hourlong drive and the left rear wheel was smoking behind the 4-foot-long fender skirt. A wheel bearing with no grease was the culprit. That problem was soon eliminated.

With the new top on the Buick, Mr. Anderson saw that the black body looked somewhat shabby. “It looked like it had been sand-blasted with find sand,” he says. It probably had endured the equivalent of a sand-blasting during the early years when it was in the Western desert. The elegant 4,325-pound car underwent a stripping of old paint along with chrome and stainless steel before being sprayed with black paint.

Now it appeared as spiffy as when it was new. Buick produced only 8,505 such models, each one selling with a base price of $4,440, about a dollar a pound.

The original AM radio and speakers were replaced with an up-to-date stereo sound system. “Now,” Mr. Anderson says, “I can put the top down and listen to music at full-tilt boogie.”

In the winter the windows come up and the heater is cranked up.

The upper limit of the speedometer is 120 mph. “Over 80 it starts to float,” he reports. Below that speed, however, “the handling is a pleasant surprise. It doesn’t wallow all over the road,” Mr. Anderson comments while seated behind the deluxe steering wheel.

Luxury items on the car that made it the top-of-the-line Buick on a 126-inch wheelbase include a tinted windshield, four-way power seat, power steering, power brakes, power windows and a glass rear window.

The spacious Buick left the factory equipped with four seat belts.

With the Buick’s cavernous trunk, Mr. Anderson remarks, it could double as a station wagon in hauling ability.

Just below the lip of that enormous trunk is about the widest taillight in automotive history. The wall-to-wall taillight extends the width of the car.

Each time he takes his Buick out for a cruise, Mr. Anderson says, he is likely to encounter either young people who can’t believe their eyes or that such huge cars ever existed or a more mature crowd who do remember and want their picture taken with a car that reminds them of the good old days.

Mr. Anderson is happy to accommodate both groups and is even happier to get in the Buick, drive home and park it in his own very large garage.

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