1964 represented the capstone return to restrained elegance that was a long term calling card of Buick products. Swept up in the exuberance of the 1950’s, Buick spent a few seaons of the decade being the #3 volume producer of American Cars, edging out perennial price leader favorite Plymouth in 1955 and 1956. Those boastful totals right behind low priced domestic rivals Ford and Chevrolet were the result of some rather bodacious offerings from Flint, Michigan. Not totally exclusive “Doctor’s Cars” they had been in the past, (especially the price leader Special and hot rod Century) some of the upper crust mystique of Buick lost its luster as the high volume brought a few quality gremlins as well.
By 1960, the true, innately conservative streak that solidified Buick values for most of the brand heritage started to return. An emphasis on the relative restraint compared to upper crust rivals returned year after year throughout the early 1960’s before becoming resolutely entrenched by the middle of the decade.
It wasn’t without outside outside influence. The new for 1961 Lincoln Continental radically influenced a new conservatism in all full-sized General Motors automobiles. Side Sculpting and airy greenhouses on the minorly downsized 1961 B and C body models gave way to more slab sided styling and thicker C-pillars as early as the 1962 Model year. Wrap-around windshields went extinct on all but Corvairs for 1963. Buick, and their prized Electra series really lead the way with clean, slab sides with minimalist chrome trim. By 1963, it was hard to believe this was the same brand that sold the public the 1958 Buick Limited just 5 years before.
While the majority of the visual refinement occurred during the 1963 model year, some minor tweaks modified the appearance of the 1964 models. Tail lamps were moved from being horizontal at the decklid level to being vertical in the bladed rear fenders, not unlike cousin car the 1963 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.
For the 1964 model year, the majority of refinements occurred under the skin, more specifically underneath the front tunnel hump. Out was the last iteration of Buick’s in-house developed Dynaflow related Turbine Drive automatic. All new was soon to become a staple of General Motors cars; the all new 3 speed Turbo Hydramatic 400 found itself installed behind the venerable Nailhead V8 engine.
With 325 horsepower on tap and more flexibility at service with the extra gear ratio, the Electra 225 had little to be ashamed about in terms of performance compared to rivals within the family at Buick and Cadillac, nor outside of the brand either, namely Chrysler corporation cars. Smooth, stealth and virtually silent; Electra 225s offered one of the most premium luxury sedan experiences in the land for a lesser cost than more prestigious Cadillacs and Lincolns.
Nearly 69,000 shoppers in 1964 fell under the bewitching spell of the most beguiling big Buick. The most popular of those models was the elegant 4 door hardtop model like our subject car. Nearly 25,000 examples of the dashing and debonair way to conveniently carry yourself through the landscape found themselves in proud owners hands.
Once this rather respected and profitable template was hammered out, Buick rarely deviated from the basic formula for 45 years. Some would say Buick still follows this template with their current large models, despite them being a pair of modernized, front wheel drive biased unibodies, both sharing plenty of underpinnings with offerings from international General Motors concerns. Few brands have been lucky enough as Buick to still be able to find a purpose in the automotive landscape without changing their inherent character.
That brand character was solidified by the thought and timing put into highly elegant efforts like the 1964 Electra 225. Soon to be beloved in American Automotive lexicon as the Deuce And A Quarter; the biggest Buick enjoyed an enviable position in the world as a car uniquely beloved because of intrinsic values, and never truly derided for some of its pretty obvious excesses.
After all; it wore its length proudly in its name like some guy bragging about his penis size. Yet, that rather American tendency to humble brag about the wealth and riches in abundant sizes didn’t come across as crass when fit within such a tailored tuxedo. For reasons that are obvious, the benefits and joys of the Big Buick, delivered more often than not in a suave package that seduced a number of customers, showed that size, when presented with class doesn’t have to be crass.