THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1959 Buick Electra 225 convertible owned by Louis P. Giacalone
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Giacalone's "deuce and a quarter" Electra 225, so named because of its 225-inch length, was Buick's top model for 1959, a year of radical design for the entire General Motors lineup. His car, with its long and sweeping fins, has the look of a rocket ship taking off - even when it's standing still. One of only 5,493 built, it has power steering, brakes, windows and seats, as well as original spinner hubcaps. "Factory options," Giacalone said, "included an automatic high beam headlight dimmer that recognized oncoming headlights and lowered the high beams, and a transistor radio in the glove compartment that could be unplugged and taken to the beach."
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT
Giacalone bought the Electra in 1996 to remember his late father's 1959 Buick LeSabre.
WHERE HE FOUND IT
Two years of searching led him to the Buick in a Westchester collection.
"The car had 95,000 miles when I bought it," Giacalone said. "Currently, it has about 106,000 miles. It's original condition, with black exterior, black top and red interior and tonneau cover. The exterior paint looks very good and I think it may have been repainted. The chrome and bright metal look great. The exterior sheet metal is in perfect condition, especially important given the long flat expanses of metal at the rear quarter." He has rebuilt the transmission and power brakes, repaired the heater coil and replaced the solenoid.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
"It is cheaper and faster to buy a car in good condition that you only have to do minor work on," he advised. "You will drive the car more than if you buy a restored car. Look for a car that has personal meaning to you."
Giacalone said his Buick is "worth 50,000 smiles." The NADA Guides give it a "high retail" value of $43,800 without options.
"Wherever I drive this car, especially with the top down and the tonneau cover on, many people wave, smile and try to guess the year and make," he said. "Because of the connection to my dad's first new Buick, I think of him often. My grandsons enjoy riding in it, and when they visit, they always want to take a ride. I expect this car to stay in our family for a couple of generations."
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