Buick Electra: Reader ride
Ryan Gilliland's 1962 Buick Electra 225 Low-Rider...
Ryan Gilliland's 1962 Buick Electra 225 Low-Rider
I’ve been surrounded by car culture since I was a kid, when my dad dragged me along to speedway, drag racing and hot rod shows in Auckland, New Zealand, where I grew up. I used to drag race turbo Mitsubishis in NZ and I wasn’t into low-rider culture, but my heart was always into customs and hot rods. It’s easier to get those kinds of cars on the road in NZ.
I arrived in Australia in 2008 and my mates were into customs. A friend brought a two-door Falcon coupe in from Texas and did a mild custom job on it. That’s what started me off. I found the Buick online and fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It was just so wild! It had just landed here and there was nothing else like it around; I had to have it.
The car was originally owned by a tattoo artist in California called Mike Jupp, whose brother has a shop in Chicago called One Shot Kustoms. Mike drove the car to Chicago three times to gradually turn it from a stock Electra into a low-rider.
I’ve only done some mechanical and electrical work on it and it needs more. It looks like a completed car but there’s still a lot of work to do under the bonnet. It’s got the stock 401ci ‘Nailhead’ V8 with a two-speed Dynaflow, and apart from the paint, interior and suspension it’s still basically stock. They actually did a bit of a slap-dash job in the U.S., which was kind of the charm for me. It’s one thing to buy a complete car and just drive it around, but I wanted to put some of my personality into a car. I think it’s still got a lot of potential left to unlock.
I had a lot of trouble getting it registered and I still get stopped by the police a lot, often just to look at the car. It probably couldn’t be registered today as VicRoads changed the rego rules in early 2012. It’s an amazing car to drive and a completely different world to cars I have owned before, including Austin Healeys. I love cruising around in it and I plan to keep it to pass on to my son.
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