Saturday, September 03, 2022

Automotif CCCXXXIX...

Here's a super-straight 1978 Buick Electra 225, from the last era of rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame GM C-bodies (the Electra, Oldsmobile 98, and Cadillac DeVille.) For the '85 model year the Electra nameplate was moved to a much smaller front-drive unit-body platform, along with its Olds and Caddy stablemates.

If I had to define the dark ages of cars in America, it'd be '77-'84. The impact of smog controls and CAFE regulations was being felt across the board, and the only way to comply was to lower compression ratios, go to crazy-tall final drive ratios, stick catalytic potatoes in the tailpipe, and pray.

The 455 disappeared from the Electra's engine lineup with the '77 downsizing, leaving customers the choice of a 4-bbl Buick 350 V8 rated at 170bhp, or an optional Oldsmobile-sourced 403cid 4-bbl motor wheezing out 185. The more potent of the two motors might crack the 10-second 0-60 barrier if you flipped the air cleaner lid over for better breathing (the only performance mod you could do to mom & dad's car that they wouldn't find out about) and brake-torqued it until it almost threw the accessory belt. You might even get a chirp from one of the back tires that way.