Nelson is a Detroiter who owns his own business creating rad custom clothing, mostly suits. He wants a ride that’s as stylish as he is. He fondly recalls his dad’s old Buick, and he’s ready for an Electra 225 of his own.
(Welcome to Help Me Find This Car! In this new feature, Jalopnik helps readers find a great example of their dream car. We’ll introduce the car that one of you is looking for...then the Jalopnik community can reply in the comments with the best examples of the special car available for sale. All entries will be followed by a post with the best examples you’ve submitted!)
Budget: $7,000 to $10,000
Daily Driver: No
Wants: A third-gen coupe or convertible in a lighter exterior color.
Doesn’t want: A third-gen sedan, or any earlier or later generation.
Now that Nelson’s custom clothing business is taking off, he’s decided it’s time to finally buy his dream car, a third-generation Buick Electra 225. His love for the Buick goes back to memories of his late father’s Deuce and a Quarter, a sport coupe Electra 225 Limited painted Cameo Cream.
Nelson was too young to get a solid impression of the Electra, and he doesn’t have any photos. All he has are his family’s recollections and the excitement he felt as a kid when he would see one rolling around Detroit. His dad talked about the car all the time but, like any good son, Nelson didn’t understand it until much later in life.
“As I started getting older, some of the little things he told me, they started to come back to me,” Nelson said. “From tying your tie, to shining your shoes, to knowing where to go to get a proper hat.” And Nelson traces more than his love for the Electra to his dad. He also has him to thank for his interest in fashion and clothing.
Nelson’s love of style has him set on the third-generation Electra, produced from 1965-70. Because even though the general concept of the 225 is long lines and elegant presence, the third gen gives off the look and Motown vibe Nelson wants. He said of its design, “…when you hit 1965, now we’re getting Marvin Gaye vibes.”
So he wants a third-gen with two doors, be it a coupe or a convertible, and in a lighter paint color that’s in decent shape. He doesn’t want a showroom car. Not only because it would be prohibitively expensive, but also because a fully restored car is in some sense done being tailored. If you imagine a car is like a suit, then a completely restored Electra would almost be custom fitted for another driver.
Nelson said, “Honestly, I would not want, like, a perfect one. I wanna put some of my love into it. I wouldn’t mind a car with a story.”
Though with his attention to detail, he’d prefer an Electra whose interior looks good or at least serviceable enough. And he doesn’t want a rusty car. Any registration woes would also put him off.
He said he’d like “…a nice driver, so not something that you would be scared to pull out onto the road.” Nelson would love to cruise with one of the Buick big blocks from that generation of Electra, such as the 430 or 455, but as long as it’s in working condition, the smaller “nailhead” V8 will do.
And while he lives in Detroit, Nelson is open to traveling for the right car. The distance doesn’t matter; the car does. I asked him where he’s driving to first if he finds his car. He told me the first place he’s going is to his mom’s place.
“She would probably shed a tear,” he said, “I look like my dad, my style is similar to his, and I would probably go pick her up and take her out.” His answer showed me what the Buick would mean to him, that it would mean keeping his father’s memory alive.
It would mean keeping Detroit culture alive and well, the culture his father loved and passed down to him. Now, Nelson hopes to pass it down with an heirloom like this car. He’s got the style down. All he needs now is a Deuce and a Quarter.