1971-1976 Buick full size


The ultimate GM full size belongs in Buick sheet to the best-looking creations, starting with a length of 560 cm, evolving at the end of the model run to a record 593 cm for the Electra.  These GM models were the last with the regular body styles of sedan, hardtop, convertible and wagon (revived by Buick in full size form for 1970 after the deletion of the intermediate 3-seat SportWagon with longer wheelbase).  The Wildcat was replaced by the less sporty Centurion without floor shift option, itself merged into the LeSabre series, a year after the release of the Century line.  The LeSabres would no longer reach the 200,000-mark attained for 1970. 

The Centurion Formal Coupe with its small back window adopted the regular window glass of the LeSabre in its last year 1973.  Due to the required stronger front and rear bumpers for 1974, the LeSabre would reach the length of 225 inches, which 15 years earlier was a reason for the ‘225’ tag added to the Electra.  In the same year, the LeSabre’s character crease was upped at the rear quarter panel, while the roof of the LeSabre coupe became more formal with a large opera window.  By 1975, the Electra 2-door would lose its traditional hardtop roof, it was the last year for the full size (LeSabre) convertible, and the 4-door hardtops received a window in the C-pillar.  The LeSabre sedan was given a revised roof and larger rear side windows.  Radial tires became standard equipment.  A hood ornament became standard equipment, and was optional in the base LeSabre.  The Electra received rectangular headlights, followed by the LeSabre and Estate Wagon a year later.

Under the skin:

All Buicks now rode on regular fuel.  The 3-speed manual transmission was only available in the first year.  Power front disc brakes and variable-ratio power steering were standard from the start.  In December 1973, an airbag became optional on the Electra, but not for too long.  Catalytic converters came by 1975.  By 1976 a 6-cylinder engine returned, which was abandoned 45 years earlier in the regular sized Buicks, but a manual transmission would not return for the full-sized cars.  Claiming 21 mpg on the highway (equal to two Honda Civics) vs now 18 mpg for the 350 V8 could attract only about 10,000 buyers (4% of the senior car range).  This would have been the only full-size car in the industry with a V6 engine, before downsizing (Chevrolet had abandoned their 6-cylinder-in-line engines for their full size models by 1974).  In 1975 only, the Canadians could opt for a 400 cid Pontiac engine, in between the 350 and 455.





American Cars 1962-1977