Not long after Rex Solomon was born on March 14, 1966, his father, Andrew, went to the Buick dealership in Houston, Texas and ordered a new 1967 Buick Electra 225 convertible. What better gift could he have given his wife and new mother, Dana?
The specially-ordered Buick left the factory wearing a coat of white. The convertible top was blue, as were the vinyl interior and carpeting. Dec. 30, 1966 was the date the Solomon family took delivery of the Buick that stretched 18 feet, 8 inches in length between the massive bumpers.
The 4,304-pound convertible was one of 6,941 that Buick manufactured during the 1967 model year. The base price was $4,421. Of course as accessories were added to the order form the price climbed. For the largest models in 1967, Buick’s biggest V-8 engine yet provided smooth, quiet power. The 430-cubic-inch V-8 develops 360 horsepower.
The Buick became the family car with the younger Solomon remembering being chauffeured about town by his mother. Occasionally, the family would take the Buick on a road trip, the 8.85×15-inch tires on a 126-inch wheelbase providing a cushy ride.
“It’s like sitting in a comfortable chair,” the senior Solomon observes.
After a decade or so of use the car received a fresh coat of paint. In the mid-1980s another repaint was undertaken along with a new top and upholstery. Finally, the once handsome Buick became just an old car and was relegated to being parked, more or less permanently. Still, as part of the family, the car could not be totally abandoned.
In 2001, Houston was swamped by a tropical storm that flooded the underground garage where the Buick was parked. That is when the junior Solomon began the arduous task of locating replacement parts.
A donor Buick in California was purchased for its trunk lid, dashboard, rocker panels and assorted trim pieces. Rex Solomon says he had the most difficulty in finding an expansion valve for the air conditioning unit. An equally hard-to-find trim piece was the Buick emblem in the center of the grille. The original was in good, but faded, condition.
The 1967 convertible has been in good, roadworthy shape the last six months Rex says.
“Even with air conditioning it’s impossible to drive it from late June to mid-September,” he exclaims.
As enormous as it is, the younger Solomon says that with the top down, backup up is easy. A few weeks ago another motorist backed into the right front fender causing some minor damage. A new fender was found to replace the bent original. The car is scheduled to soon be stripped to bare metal for yet another new white coat.
This Buick is no garage queen. “It’s an ongoing restoration project,” the son says. The odometer recently rolled over 100,000 miles, which calculates to an annual average of about 2,200 miles. That figure isn’t quite accurate because for several years the Buick did not move at all.
On Dec. 30, 2010, exactly 44 years to the day since Andrew Solomon bought the Buick, ownership of the car was transferred to Rex Solomon. Father and son agree that the car is heavy on style but light on performance. They describe it as a grand touring car. “It’s definitely a head turner,” the son says.
Fuel economy has never been an issue. “More important than miles per gallon are smiles per mile,” the junior Solomon says. — Vern Parker, Motor Matters