Junkyard Find: 1977 Buick Electra Limited

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1977 buick electra limited

Back in 2011 we admired a discarded example of the last of the true Buick Electra land yachts: a 1976 Electra Park Avenue Limited four-door hardtop found in a Northern California wrecking yard. What happened in 1977? General Motors, suffering from plummeting sales of thirsty big Buicks in the wake of events beyond its control, shrank the Electra, ditching the pillarless hardtop in the process.

Here’s one of those downsized Electras — a Limited, spotted in a Denver self-service yard.

Even though the ’77 Electra was nearly a foot shorter and correspondingly lighter than its predecessor, The General didn’t skimp on the gingerbread. On the outside, a swanky padded vinyl roof with heraldic-crest badging showed the neighbors that Electra owners had almost as much class as Sedan DeVille buyers.

Inside, large swaths of Whorehouse Red button-tufted velour made the Electra Limited’s interior feel like Hugh Hefner’s guest bathroom.

Now I am wishing I had purchased these exquisitely mid-1970s-GM fake-wood “coffin handle” door pulls for my next junkyard-parts boombox project.

The base engine in the 1977 Electra was a Buick 350 cubic-inch V8 making 155 horsepower. This car has the optional Oldsmobile 403, same as the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am of Smokey and the Bandit fame (the cars used in the film had beefed-up Pontiac 400s swapped in, because the stock 403 wasn’t capable of sufficiently gnarly burnouts), rated at 185 horses.

In the oddly cadenced words of the highly Buickian Glenn Ford, “For 75 years, the attribute that most people have been willing to give to the name Buick… is luxury. That’s been true from the very beginning, on through the touring cars and what was fondly called… the doctor’s cars.”

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  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Nov 29, 2017

    My cousin still has a 1982 Electra Limited in dark green with the original 307 Olds with 320K miles on it. The 200R4 was rebuilt once and the engine was treated to a timing chain and gears and new valve cover gaskets a few years back but it otherwise has never been opened up. Driving the car you would never know it had that many miles. He changes the oil at 3000 miles on the dot and fully services that car each year. That is his around town car. His road trip car is a 2000 Park Avenue in pearl white that is closing in on 200K! Again it has the original drivetrain and the only thing replaced on the engine was the upper and lower intake gaskets. He loves both cars

  • 74DodgeD300 74DodgeD300 on Jan 08, 2018

    My dad had one of these cars. I can remember riding in the back seat, barely able to look over the dash from the rear seats, it always felt like the front end was higher going down the highway. We never put on the seat belts. My siblings and I would always argue over who's turn it was to ride lying down on the rear deck :) oohh the days.

  • Parkave231 Collector's Edition hood ornament or GTFO.
  • Dave M. Once again Mustang remains solely on the throne. But obviously the day of the ponycar has long passed....
  • Art Vandelay The car so nice they killed it…twice
  • Ryan The hybrid EX model lists at about CAD$39,000 in Canada, including delivery charges. No Premium package is available for it here.
  • Golden2husky A great driver's car let down by down right dangerous visibility - in any version. Had the Camaro had a qulity interior and acceptable visibility we'd have one in our driveway as my wife loves the way they look and drive.