Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fort Knox

I was rolling along Hancock Street in Bed Stuy a month or 2 ago when I saw this:
This is a 1970 Buick Electra 225 in some semblance of gold. When this car rolled off the assembly line it could've been painted any of 3 different factory gold hues (Desert, Cornet, or Harvest), but none of them look like this.
*Incidentally this is quite the block for visual satisfaction. Check out this image from the last time I was passing by those garage doors in the back:
WHY? Anyway, back to the Buick . . .
This is a great year for the Electra; it is the last hurrah for this body before a massive facelift was introduced in 1971. At the same time it is the first year the mighty 455 V8 replaced the aging 401 Nailhead engine. With things like emissions control equipment and catalytic converters still years away this beast, while heavy, could move around very quickly.
The swooping accent crease going from the front wheel to the rear bumper is a Buick hallmark. Without it this would be more of a heavy brick in appearance. Can I get a shout-out for how much junk is in this Electras trunk? Could it hold 5 bodies? Maybe 8? No problem.
Well what we have here is pride of ownership people, and no I'm not mocking anybody. These original Buick wheels came from the factory with those inner sections painted black. The owner seems to believe that brown would go better with the gold, and so be it.
*Also, if you look through those rectangular vent holes in the wheels you can see metal lines. These are the finned aluminum drum brakes that were used from at least the '50s through this, their final year. Hot rodders love them as they polish up beautifully for use in old-school customs where the front wheels are exposed. I had a '65 Electra and they stopped the car much better than expected.
Even in gold this looks like the consummate hitmans car.
The sinister look of the wide taillight bars nicely understated.
The trunk lock has been replaced with a reinforced unit after someone got overly curious. From this angle you can see the reverse lights placed vertically on the rear edge of the quarter panels.
I took these shots at the beginning of Spring so here's a nice flowering tree.
The reverse lights once again with a view of the side marker light. General Motors made brand-specific rear quarter lights in this era, with the Pontiac Firebird having one the shape of the Firebird logo, and the Oldsmobile having a light-up rocket. Here we see a Buick crest within the circle.
The gentleman in the background with the hat on is the owner and he was nice enough to let me scramble around taking pics of his ride. At first he yelled something out like "You like it?" or something, to which I started asking him specific questions like "Is that a '69? Does it have the 401 Nailhead in it?". He warmed right up and left me to check it out.
It's a bit pitted but the Buick-specific mirror is cool. This car was positioned just below Cadillac in the hierarchy of GM so little details and touches abound.
In fact from this angle you can see the similarities to Cadillac. The 1970 Coupe DeVille is almost the same car with the main cosmetic difference being that swooping side line on the Buick, and the grill/taillight designs.
We'll leave this beauty with a look at that mighty split grill, seen in '70 for the last time since it was introduced in '67. I loved my Buick from this era as it perfectly combined cushy luxury with brute power. The fact that this golden beast is still representing 45 years after it was built is a testament to the original build quality. Hats off Goldie!

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