1977 Buick Electra Park Avenue: Triple Black Beauty

Another week, another vintage domestic land yacht. I spotted this one last week on Marketplace, for the very reasonable ask of five grand.

I’m sure it’s no secret I love these 1977-79 GM C-bodies, from Brougham d’Elegance to Ninety-Eight LS to this Electra Park Avenue. It seems like 90% of these, no matter the make or model, had the optional wire wheel covers, but I really love the standard wheel discs on this one.

And that interior! When luxury was luxury. No Burgerkingring lateral G’s, no skidpad numbers on par with a Corvette, just cosseting luxury, plush seats and a smooth ride. Back then Buick wasn’t trying to make a Lexus. Heck, there was no Lexus, not then. And other than the home-market only Toyota Century (admittedly a cool set of wheels), which was beaucoup bucks, the flossiest thing in Toyota U.S. showrooms was the Cressida sedan and woody wagon, with its Mini-Me Cordoba schnozz.

And Buick City was still going full tilt in Flint, cranking out luxocruisers like this one in a wide variety of colors, trim levels, options and body styles-though as of 1977 two- and four-door pillarless hardtops were no more.

Sure, there’s no infotainment, and no Electro-Motive motivation, just a tough and reliable gas-sucking V8. But you’d ride in style!

The Park Avenue was the top Buick sedan, above the base Electra 225 and mid-tier Electra Limited. Technically the Park Avenue was a fancy trim package for the Limited, explaining this car’s Park Avenue sail panel emblems and Limited emblems on the quarter panels. This one even has the optional AM/FM stereo with CB! Not one to press into daily driver service though, especially with how well preserved this survivor is, but a great Sunday cruiser, for those so inclined…

34 Replies to “1977 Buick Electra Park Avenue: Triple Black Beauty”

  1. LynnG

    Tom, great find, compare and contrast this 1977 Park Avenue to the 1976 Buick Electra 225/LaSabre and it quite a difference…. Cutting almost 2 feet off the lengh of a full size car was quite a change. I just wish they had went with frameless windows but there was the wind noise issue with those that was addressed by adding full frames.
    Only issue with this well preserved exampe is the cancer under the omni present, on these cars, vinyl top. In your first picture I really can not tell if the cancer is wide spread or some areas of the top are just thick with vinyl shine someone applied.

    Reply
    • dejal

      The side view of the car under the title looks like 2 triangles of vinyl aft of the rear door. But for 5K, it’s a nice looking car. For this kind of money you aren’t buying perfection, at best, you are getting very well preserved. This looks very well preserved.

      Reply
  2. John C.

    Still with us Jack Jones back in the day sang for the other guys New Yorker. I bet he would be be willing to strike up the band after a ride down Fifth Avenue in those seats. My favorite tune of his is “Wives should always be lovers too” Run to his arms the minute he comes home to you. I am warning you.–

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=wives+should+always+be+lovers+too+lyrics&&view=detail&mid=86825D29CD1356D3B38E86825D29CD1356D3B38E&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dwives%2Bshould%2Balways%2Bbe%2Blovers%2Btoo%2Blyrics%26FORM%3DHDRSC3

    Imagine our crazy world where this nameplate died in China on a cop car from Australia.

    Reply
  3. Carmine

    Nicely optioned, lamp monitors, climate control, cornering lamps, the big Buick Road Wheels would be the icing on the cake.

    Looks like a 403 under the hood, making this a genuine Oldsmobuick.

    Reply
  4. dejal

    Yeah, if this one became a daily driver, it would basically dissolve into junk in a few years. The only reason it looks so nice is because it’s something to look at and not really drive like it was made to do.

    Reply
    • Gary

      They wouldn’t dissolve if you had ol’ Rusty Jones.

      The one my parents had lasted 14 years in Chicago winters and when they traded it in, the body was rust free and the ran well… which is A LOT more than I can say about the 1988 Taurus that eventually replaced it.

      Reply
  5. Disinterested-Observer

    Speaking of Electra… I have to admonish Jack, he has been giving everyone a bum steer with his hardtails and jumping and breaking legs and shit. The other day my neighbors asked me to give their bikes a once over since they hadn’t ridden in a while. I had not paid much attention other than to note they had some kind of cruiser, beach bike looking things. So the kid brings over one of the bikes and it is a step-through Electra Townie (not electric, that’s just the name). I pump up the tires, tighten the brakes and straighten out the handlebars. I take it for a shakedown and Ho-lee Shit. I have been biking wrong my whole life. This thing is enormous but light, it’s got slicks but they are two inches, and the seat is huge. It is like if Harley Earl made a bike. I don’t know if the guys who came up with it took the name from Buick but it rides like a classic Buick. Easy 5/7 would ride again. I would buy one if I had the space to put it with all my other shit bikes that suck.

    Reply
  6. John C.

    It is a testimate to the influence that Tom has had in this site, when he brings us an oversized, over engined, over chromed and built over here by an over coddled and overpaid workforce car like this Buick, the car is not immediately torn into. The younger folks all car fans,,of the generation that Honda had it right on the middle end, BMW had it right on the high end, and used models from the above could serve the low. No need for cars like this Buick except maybe for our aging grandparents. A host here went so far as a series of articles on why Buick should die, and his point was not that Buick replaced cars like this with Opels.

    We are now deep into middle age ourselves where we contemplate where we’ve come and how we are measuring up to our parents. We used to assume that we were way smarter than our parents. How do you jive that to shuning comfortable, dignified cars like this with not even our youthful dream cars but Korean CUVs, built clearly for the international female who doesn’t need us, the government pays her and for sex a poor brown fellow can better fill her.

    Honda is flailing now like GM in the 90s, and BMW turned to China. Some of us cope by trying to talk up the Koreans. Kidding ourselves. We have failed. Imagine going to a secure well paid job, sitting on a loose pillow velour seat, with a loyal loving wife waiting for you in a handsome, well built home with three or four kids that look like you only better. Well I guess the video games are better and there is more access to Ethiopian style food. A few game theory guys got ahead telling guys they could trick women that they were refugees and thus worthy. That works better when you look like Roosh.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth

      First off let me say that I love these cars and if I didn’t have my ’86 Grand Marquis I’d have bought this one.

      That being said, my father owned a 1977 LeSabre as a company car. After a year and 25k miles it burned oil, had visible rust, and you could see the interior door pulls collapsing.

      A lot of people left American cars for snobbish and stupid reasons. A lot of OTHER people just got burned on bad ones.

      Furthermore I had the displeasure of being in the RenCen a decade ago talking to GM senior people. Their palpable contempt for their rural white customers exceeded the worst Lauren Canyon attitude. They really thought their “marks” would buy half-assed cars forever.

      It’s illuminating to compare a CT6, Continental, and G90 back to back. The CT6 has the right chassis but no NA V8 and a trash interior in a car that is 90% of the right size. The Continental has a lovely interior and great engine on a Fusion that is 90% of the right size. The G90 has the engine, the size, the driveline, the interior, and the build quality. All in one. How the hell can a country go from Hyundai Pony to this in the same time Cadillac went from DTS to XTS? Oh, I know: they give a shit.

      Reply
      • John C.

        Couple of points. What 1977 model, from anywhere in the world, could have survived 3 years of uncaring fleet use in one year in a rough weather environment with no wear? There are none. That car did not burn your father’s company, it served, and I am sure was on the road for many more miles. To think that was an excuse to trash a car industry would only make sense to those that wanted it trashed. Those people must be some kind of anarchists. Surely when they were came after the domestics, the automotive press like say Brock Yates would defend, the politicians of the most affected areas, like say Sander Levin would defend. No, no they instead lead the charge against. Why ?? They were Democratic machine politicians who get their instructions not from the voter and a ghetto of journalism hacks just waiting for that call from Hunter S Thompson that was never going to come.

        When the 90s came it was obvious what was being done. Any cars aimed at traditional Americans were labeled dinosaurs. Remember when that giant of your industry Rich Ceppos, tested a Town Car and had it photo’d in a dinosaur park. How Clever. Or that big boned handsome patriot from Flint followed around Roger Smith to make him look foolish. When does your industry face the reckoning for what it as done.

        It won’t. Instead you spit at the caretakers at Ren Cen without the thought that these people were hand picked by Obama’s “good Czar” from Wall Street Steve Rattner. I am not surprised that someone picked by Rattner hates me,

        Then you concoct an imaginary comparison test, an old staple of your industry, of German style luxury sedans, including no Germans. Then state the G90 is the best. Still with that mindset that there is only one right way. A fan of American cars might wonder why instead, intelligent journalists aren’t networking with whatever engineering staff the big three still has, to make a new but traditional Park Avenue, or Cutlass, or even Falcon or Valiant. I guess that would be too creative.

        Reply
        • stingray65

          Roger Smith was foolish, and it didn’t take any selective editing by Moore to prove it. The problem with GM is the top leadership of the company all came from the finance side since Ed Cole retired, which can partly be blamed on the US government for putting GM on their anti-trust watch for being too successful, which investing in better engineering or quality control would offer little profit potential since higher share was basically off the table as a corporate goal, and thus the only path for GM to increase profits was to cut costs and the only way most beancounters know how to cut costs is by cutting quality.

          The downsized GM full size cars were excellent cars in 1977 (although the Buick edition was the ugliest styled), but they really weren’t offering any leading edge technology and GM beancounters built them with little real improvement and several bouts of cost cutting for almost 20 years, while competition from Japan and Europe improved by leaps and bounds. I get pissed off every time I think about how badly the once great GM was run into the ground be bad government policies, idiot management, and corrupt unions, but John you are crazy to romanticize Detroit’s malaise era as something that any rational person would want to return to.

          Reply
          • John C.

            Shouldn’t you wait to decide on Roger Smith’s treatment until after you have seen how Rich Ceppos or Sander Levin or Steve Rattner, or Hundai CEO Eon Tae Ha, or even Michael Moore himself come across after the same treatment. I know, the wait would be forever.

          • stingray65

            John, I’m sure Moore is an idiot, and Rattner is a political hack whose job was to protect union interests and the green narrative of the Obama administration, and I don’t think either would be good candidates to run GM, but that doesn’t change the fact that Roger Smith was a disaster.

        • CJinSD

          “Any cars aimed at traditional Americans were labeled dinosaurs.”

          What is a traditional American and what cars were aimed at them that were labeled dinosaurs? Until the early ’70s, traditional Americans bought cars that provided the best value in features, performance(allowing for our relative energy prices), and often technology. Maybe they weren’t assembled like cars by Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, but they tended to last a relatively long time and were the envy of the world in accommodation and acceleration.

          Car and Driver wasn’t bashing American cars in the ’60s, either. I have a comparison test where they picked the first Cougar over the Jaguar they said inspired it. David E. Davis Jr. fell in love with the BMW 2002. He also charged Car and Driver’s subscribers for the privilege of reading his Pontiac advertising copy, year after year. Brock Yates? He loved Mopars, said the Fury Wagon with a 383 4-barrel and a set of after-market shocks was better than an Aston Martin DB5 at everything, including lapping a raceway back to back. He also seemed to get access to various Race Hemi equipped B-bodies a model year before the Street Hemi became available to the public, and he made sure the public was waiting eagerly.

          Davis and Yates didn’t change in the ’70s. American cars did. They were reheated ’60s cars with diminished performance to suit increasing regulation. Until the late ’60s, American cars were cutting edge in many ways; because they were evolving in performance, styling, and features. There were the Jet-Age cars of the ’50s, the Rocket-Age cars of the ’60s, and then whatever inspired all the fuselage cars of the late ’60s. Engines became more powerful and transmissions more efficient. Flaky vacuum operated accessories were replaced with electric ones. Ignition systems improved. Brakes systems were sometimes considered. Intermediates and compacts proliferated, often paired with well-rounded performance. Anyway, traditional Americans bought cars with superior performance and fashionable styling from about 1951 to about 1973.

          I suspect that your ‘traditional American’ targeting car is an idea formed in the Brougham/PLC era, which was probably quite a disappointing time for guys who coveted 1956 Chrysler 300Bs, 1961 Lincoln Continentals, or 1964 Buick Rivieras. The superficiality of those fake convertible, fake wire wheel, fake radiator shell reskins of aging platforms probably had no more appeal to typical traditional American car buyers after they’d been on the market for ten years than a ten year old ball gown has to a debutant.

          Reply
          • John C.

            Then how come when those back stabbing fools you hold in such high regard were through with us we had Korean CUVs and Corollas instead of 64 Rivieras or Chrysler 300b. Oh yea, Roger Smith was a fool. Michael Moore told him so and that was good enough for CJ.

          • CJinSD

            Maybe you just failed to recognize the 1986 Ford Taurus as a great American car design, unfortunately built by Ford. Was it influenced by the Audi 100/5000? Sure. So what? The 1955 Chevy was influenced by Pininfarina, and all the better for it. Various Lancias, Volvos, and Peugeots were influenced by American cars from the thirties into the sixties too. The Corvair influenced everything from BMWs to Sunbeam Imps. That’s because Detroit used to aim higher than applying one set of styling adornments to everything they made.

            Chrysler’s LX cars were also great designs. Like the Taurus, they had fundamental engineering and quality issues. Did magazines kill them? Nope. The people who designed and built them did.

            Whenever you’re working yourself into a frenzy over CUVs, keep in mind that they were inspired by the success of the XJ Cherokee and the Ford Explorer. The second best selling Ford was the Explorer for years before anyone thought the RAV4 and CRV were more than niche products. If anyone is responsible for the composition of our car market, it is the social engineers in Washington DC. If there is one thing that will keep me from ever buying another Detroit vehicle, it is that they are now willing partners in our fascist command economy.

          • John C.

            The fwd GM A body was better than the Taurus and not just because the Taurus looked like an Audi/potato. The looks by the way were the only thing the press liked.

            The CUVs were inspired by the foreign cars they were based on, not American trucks.. If you want to tell me that a 1st gen RAV4 was better then the Celica All Trac it was based on. Fine, but isn’t that an argument better made between two Japanese men trying to glean what American women want?

            Ah yes the Intrepid, great design Renault, killed the all American Dynasty/NYer, built for dinosaurs and hated despite being smaller and modern just not foreign. Who killed it, not the many that bought it. Those press people that so love American cars, just not the ones that were built in their time of influence.

  7. Gary

    My mother drove a 77 LeSabre Sport Coupe through a large part of my childhood. She hauled my older brother and I in it and we all have nothing but fond memories of it. Today, my friends have all bought cross overs to haul their one child around, some of them even opting for 3 row piles because they really need that space. Sure.

    Love the silver gauges. My folks ended up trading in the 77 LeSabre for an 89 Grand Marquis in 1991. Besides both being big, rwd, v8 powered boats, they both had rad silver faced gauges on the dash. Years back I bought a Hamilton Khaki with a silver dial just because it reminded me of those cars, specifically the Mercury.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      The silver Buick gauges were the only style element of the big Buicks that I liked, but I hated the huge fuel gauge that not only was a constant reminder about the mediocre fuel economy, but also suggested the buyer cheaped out by not ordering the gauge package which I don’t think was even available on the Buick. The upright grill with swept back headlights were also very awkward, and the big chrome bumpers were by far the worst integrated impact bumpers of all the big GM division cars.

      Reply
      • Carmine

        Yup, no gauge package on this gen big Buick, with the exception of a “fuel economy” vacuum light set up in the fuel gauge face with amber and green lights that lit depending on how hard you were hitting the pedal.

        The other exception is the turbocharged LeSabre Sport Coupe, which had a 3 color vacuum light that went green-yellow-orange under boost, though for the last year of the turbo LeSabre, 1980(of course….because GM) they actually did ad a gauge package to the big fuel gauge.

        The only cars that had a gauge option on the 77 and up B/C cars was Pontiac and Oldsmobile, Chevrolet had a temp gauge and fuel economy gauge option too.

        The silver faced gauges were a “Buick Thing” from 1974 until around 1981-82.

        Reply
  8. gtem

    Wow what a beauty. Name a modern car with more street presence, and all this for $5k. Looks like the listing is already gone, not surprised.

    Reply
  9. Andy

    Hey Guys! I purchased this beauty for $4,500.00. The owner passed away, and his children did not want it. The owner was a long time executive with Southern Bell/Bell South/At&T, and the company bought it for him. It was always garaged, and has 81,000mi. Folks have told me the Triple Blank combination is kinda rare, as well as having the opera/coach lights behind the back doors. It runs like a top, and I’ve cleaned her up nicely. Getting the headliner replaced next month, because that’s all she needs.

    Reply

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