1980 Buick Electra First Detroit Land Yacht to Get Standard V6 Engine

When the Iranian Revolution of 1979 caused skyrocketing oil prices and miles-long lines at gas station, even the mighty Buick Electra (downsized from its previous 4,700-pound majesty to a mere 3,600 pounds after 1976) needed to become a bit less thirsty. GM’s engineers bored out the 3.8-liter Buick V6 to get a full 4.1 liters of displacement, and Buick made this engine standard equipment in the 1980 Electra. Here’s a magazine advertisement for that car, touting this then-radical development.

The 4.1 engine made 125 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque, which made for leisurely-but-tolerable acceleration. Electra buyers willing to spend an extra $335 (about $1,120 today) could get a 155-horse, 5.7-liter Buick V8; for $930 ($3,110 today), the spectacularly unreliable Oldsmobile Diesel 350 could be had. If you lived in California, that state’s strict emission-control regulations outlawed the 4.1.

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