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My new infatuation, a '69 Electra


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  Well guys, I was in another area on a mission and saw what looked to be a '68 or '69 Electra for sale. So on the way back I made time to go in and see it, I may have made a mistake, now I think I want it. There was another one like this in my area for sale a few years ago, but it was a bit of a bondo'd Ontario car, and I thought that this might be the same car. I was wrong.

 This car is a '69 Electra 225 Limited, 2 door hardtop, and well optioned, as most of these were. Of note, it has disc brakes, AM/FM radio, posi, 60/40 6 way seats, and the other usual power items. I didn't drive it, but it started easily, and ran well, and is currently licensed, so its' not been sitting. Nice, but this is were it gets tempting. It is represented as, and looks to me to be true, as an original California car, with original paint, in very nice shape, and the vinyl roof is nice too. I looked underneath, and it is amazing, as good, or better than my '56 Roadmaster (also a California car). The interior is good, with a bit of fraying on the pass side, the drivers was redone with NOS fabric from SMS, and there supposedly ample to do the other side, back looks perfect, as they often do.

 Colour is light yellow with black roof and interior.

 So I barely have enough space for the 3 cars we already have, but man is this tempting! Those that went to a Christian Sunday School will remember learning the Lord's Prayer by heart, and the line "Lead me not into Temptation" comes to mind. Sadly, I guess I didn't spend enough time paying attention in Sunday school, I prefered to make paper airplanes instead. They at least don't take up so much space!

 Keith

 

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Always buy the best example that comes along.  Notice I did not say best example you look for and find.  All of my favorites came along like this one.  Buy it and figure out the storage later....if you do the storage first, it will be gone!  I lost out on some that I should have grabbed right away.

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I loved my 69 Limited!  But there are two things to be aware of.

 

#1 that 430 will ping on anything but airplane fuel.  $$$ to drive.

#2 The rotors for the disc brakes were unavailable although Kanter's in Jersey was indicating the rotors were coming soon about 7 years ago. $$$ for brake repair.

 

Good luck with your decision. 

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Guest my3buicks

I loved my 69 Electra, I didn't have issue with the pinging but always run hightest. I actually preferred the 430 to my 455's. It's a sharp combination and the coupes have that very formal roofline. The wire wheelcovers on it are drom an earlier year but look good.

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Thanks for all the responses, guys. I've attached a couple of other pictures that I took of it. I would think that it will have a thirst for hightest gas, which is rather costly, but what the hell! I think that the posi ratio on these is 3.45, which will aid acceleration, but not fuel economy, but my knowledge of the nuts and bolts details of these models is sketchy.

 Also, I attached a shot of the info he had in the window of it, and whoever wrote it looks like he mixed up the numbers on 430, as it says "403", but the engine looks like a 430.

To "my3Buicks" the guy selling it was saying that those wheel covers are one year only for '69, interesting, perhaps he is wrong then.

 Also, John, thanks for the tip about the brake rotors.

 Keith

 

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Let me throw a few more things at you Keith.  The stock posi  is a 2.79 rear, if I remember right.  And those power door locks may be vacuum operated.  Mine worked right up to the day I let it go.  But when I saw the spaghetti work of vacuum line for it I was always thinking that crap better not break.

 

Mine also had a power trunk and automatic climate control.  Two things went wrong.  On the firewall, just above the accelerator pedal linkage there was a white vacuum square.  This thing ha da lot of ports on it for all the vacuum operated accessories.  It delaminated.  I could not find another.  I did manage to glue it back together and put a piece of metal behind it to aid in keeping it from bending. 

 

Then the AC would only work in defrost.  I pulled the dash apart and discovered the main control which is on top of the main heater box, was a round disc that was stuck.  With no idea what I was doing, I drilled the rivet, and found all the ports inside the round switch were plugged.  My car had an exhaust leak near that broken white vacuum block and apparently the system was pulling in exhaust particulates. 

 

I cleaned the ports in the switch and put it back together with a stainless steel screw and nut.  Making sure it could still rotate I reinstalled everything and the other vents worked properly, a few times.  Then it was back to just defrost.

 

When I changed the AC unit to a standard Climate control system I found that the link from the vacuum actuator to that disc switch had broke.  But at that point I just switched over to the standard A/C unit. 

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 Thanks, John. I was told that they are there, but we'll see. My wife is just shaking her head. It's like if I ask a bunch of other car guys, Do you think I should buy another car?, course everyone says Yes!

 Keith.

 

 PS. John, I was going through a bunch of old stuff on my computer and I found the picture you sent me of me and my son at your show 3 years ago. He's shorter than me, and kind of looks like a kid, now he's about 6 feet tall.

 Keith

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That chrome strip is a door impact strip. It may have been standard on some models but most 69's I've seen have them.

ok thank you, I must put that wand or I leave it like this?

What was the chrome models without chopsticks?

Thank you

ps: you had the parts for that car?

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  PS. John, I was going through a bunch of old stuff on my computer and I found the picture you sent me of me and my son at your show 3 years ago. He's shorter than me, and kind of looks like a kid, now he's about 6 feet tall.

 Keith

 

Are you willing to post a new picture against the old one?  Would love to see that!

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The thin chrome side strips are on all of them that I've ever seen, including one that is in my garage right now, being restored. You can't get the think vinyl inserts to those strips, and it was missing on one of the chrome strips, so we just painted the center with semi-gloss black paint, and unless you rub your fingers over it to feel the difference, you really don't notice. I can post photos later. I have a lot of used, extra 430 parts, if anyone needs them.

Pete Phillips

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 I took atrip out to visit the car this morning, with my wife, and Pete, one of the vinyl inserts is missing on the car, but the rest of the chrome strips look nice. The owner wasn't there (perhaps just as well), but

I took some more photos, but they are still on my camera, will post later. The car has the climate control heat/ ac option, is this a troublesome system? I was told that currently the ac doesn't work, though it used to recently, so maybe the problem could be in the climate control, and not the refrigeration. Anything and everything is possible on a car this old, of course. Lots of little marks, etc on the paint, which backs up an original paint car.

 Keith

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John, this is kind of hi-jacking my own thread, but here's the picture of us at your show in Aug 2012, receiving the long distance award (we drove the '56 Roadmaster), and one taken 3 months ago today, on June 6 2015, at my daughter's wedding. He is on the left, and not looking too happy, as he really doesn't like his picture being taken.

Keith

 

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Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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 As promised, here are some photos I took of the Electra earlier today. The seat fabric bothers me the most, the pattern is extremely similar to the original, but the texture is much flatter, it doesn't have the same look as the other sections do. As I said before, the owner told me he purchased this from SMS, and has more to do the other side, but I don't think I'd want to use it, as its' not quite right. If the material was chosen from pictures on the net, it might look just about the same as the original does. So, that would be a dillema, if I were to buy it, which is of course my main dillema.

 Thanks to all you guys for letting me natter on about this!

 Keith

 

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Keith, great pics of the kids... Really enjoyed seeing them.  Last time I saw your children was at Flint in 2003. 

 

Anyway, that heat/ac system is the one my Limited had.   And had is the operative word.  I did change it for a standard Climate control  system, which I know worked when I took it out of a parts car, but I never had it charged.

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I just love that car sebastien!  

 

As for the radio, I am afraid you will find difficult.  It looks like the installer cut your dashboard to put that radio in. So you will need a replacement for that. Plus I believe there is a difference in size between the big bodied ( Electra, Wildcat, Lesabre) radio and the small bodied ( Special, Skylark, GS)  radio. Also AM/FM radios are hard to find and very expensive when you do find one. 

 

I have an AM radio here.  And may have one uncut dashboard left.  Pete may have more.

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 Thanks for sharing the photos of your car, Sebaistian. The one I'm looking has a similar issue with the driver's door pull handle, there is tape holding it in place. I don't know how big a deal it would to fix.

 Also, yours is so similar to one that a friend's Dad had back when these were nearly new cars. It was the first really nice car I was ever in, and even got to drive it. A big car, but it went like stink.

 

 So, John, do you mean that you have changed the auto temp control for manual heat-A/C on yours?

 

 The kids sure do grow up, my daughter remembers the Flint show, but my son was born in 2000, so he doesn't. Though we've been to others, nothing compared to Flint, but he is looking forward to 2016.

 Keith

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 So, John, do you mean that you have changed the auto temp control for manual heat-A/C on yours?

 

 Yes. That's right.  I sourced the system from a car I bought for parts, and changed it over while I had the dash pad off trying to fix that A/C system.  If you go to look at the car again just make sure you get air flow from the right spots when you are in the particular mode.  That is controlled by the temperature inside the car but should not be too hard to accommodate. 

 

Defrost is the default if nothing else works.  Run the temp down and the A/C vents should have air flow, even if the A/C is not working. If that works then chances are you have a fixable system.  My experience shows the front seal on the compressor is the first place to look for a leak.  New compressors are available and will work better with 134A refrigerant.    

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 John, thanks for the tips. As chance would have it, I have a rebuilt compressor that should fit these models, given to me be a long retired mechanic, whose specility was A/C systems. Though still going, he doesn't work on cars anymore, and he wanted to make sure that this compresor would "go to a good home". I don't think he would come out of retirement, even for me, as he doesn't have the strength to do much work, but he would know that system inside out.

 

 I'm working on my parking and storage issues, and may have a solution, though it would mean that I have one car out of town most of the time.

 

 In Toronto, there are no areas where one can rent storage very cheaply. There was one place nearby, that was built as an apartment for seniors, and here there are building regs that dictate a certain number of parking spots for every residence unit, but most of these folks weren't driving anymore, so only part of level, out of the three had cars in it. So the manager get the idea of renting out spaces on an unused lelvel to get some extra cash flow, and that went on for a couple years, and he had quite a few in use, then some upper management dudes put the end to that, and kicked everyone out that didn't live there. This was what I had in mind, as the rent was only $50. a month, so when I go asking, that's when I find out the sad end to that story.

 Keith

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hello, thank you all for your compliments! :) That makes me very happy ;) .
to the handle of the door I'm lucky that it missed me by just one screw;).
for radio I could find two occassion in america on ebay :) .I do not know if it fonctione .there are not you with a written "sonomatic" and is in AM and another with FM / AM.

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Sebastien, I too hate to buy things on ebay listed as "untested", or "I don't know if it works" kind of tags, turns me off them right away. By the time you buy it, pay for shipping, exchange, etc, to find you have a dead radio, that doesn't work for me.

 There is a guy here in Ontario that has several thousand car radios so he may have what you need, and if you want his contact info, PM me and I'll give it to you. He does not have a web presence at all, and does not sell over the internet, but he is a skilled and knowledgable gentleman.

 Keith

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Sebastien, I too hate to buy things on ebay listed as "untested", or "I don't know if it works" kind of tags, turns me off them right away. By the time you buy it, pay for shipping, exchange, etc, to find you have a dead radio, that doesn't work for me.

 There is a guy here in Ontario that has several thousand car radios so he may have what you need, and if you want his contact info, PM me and I'll give it to you. He does not have a web presence at all, and does not sell over the internet, but he is a skilled and knowledgable gentleman.

 Keith

hello, how nice thank you to you;) but I ordered two radio last week and I will receive soon.

thanks anyway ;)

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Re, old tank, 

 

All of my favorites came along like this one.

 This is how I found my '56 Roadmaster, I had pulled off of the main highway to get gas, and saw it on a car lot in a small town. The ironic thing is, that this '69 is only 15- 20 miles from where I found the '56, in 1976.

 

 So, a couple of maybe silly questions. The info sheet in the window says "403", but it did have an air cleaner top that said "430", which is what it should have. I am not familiar with the 403 engines, are they a Buick engine, and do they look like the 430/455's? What I'm really asking, is how can I check that it has the correct engine.

 I am still debating with myself about this car, but I'm thinking of going back to see it later in the week, to take it for a drive.

 

 Other than parking and storage, I've spent a ton (at least for a fairly regular guy like me) of money this year, with my daughter's wedding, and a full bathroom reno, which we really needed, so I feel that I shouldn't spend more again, but a car like this doesn't come along everyday.

 

 If I go out to see it again, I need to drive it, and I will be kind of critical, as I don't want or need another project car, I would like to buy it and keep it as much as a surivior car as possible, and just do maintainence work on it. Also, I'd hate to see some guy get it and put velor and 20" wheels on it.

 Does it sound like I'm trying to talk myself into buying it, or what?

 Keith

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A 403 is an Oldsmobile engine from the mid- to late-1970s. Some were put in Buicks of those years, which is when GM was doing that sort of engine swapping and not telling buyers about it. The 403 is a good engine, but I'll bet your seller just has a little bit of dyslexia and meant to write 430. The 403 can be identified by the (I'm 90% sure of this, maybe someone can confirm) oil filler tube that projects about six inches up from the front cover of the engine. All Oldsmobile V8s of this period can be identified by that oil filler tube. The 430 has the oil filler cap on the valve cover.

Pete

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The Old 403 has the distributor in the back of the engine. The Buick 430 distributor is in the front, the same as the motor in your wife's 68 Wildcat.  A 403 may have found it's way into a Buick starting in 1977.  It may also be in the 69 if someone swapped it, but that would mean a lot of changes.  The 403 would be painted blue, not red.

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Pete and John, thanks guys. It looked like the 430/455 engine, but I want to be sure, next time I see it. Also, my recollection is that the 403 is an Olds engine, so I appreciate the confirmation. The distrubutor location will be the main give away.

Keith

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