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Buick Riviera

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Riviera
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A luxury coupe produced by Buick from 1963-1999.

The 1963-1965 Riviera was designed by Bill Mitchell and Ned Nickles.  It was proposed as the Cadillac La Salle II, but Cadillac declined production.  It was offered to Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Buick, and Buick won the car.

Awards and acknowledgements include:
The 1963-1965 is among "The 25 Most Beautiful Cars of All Time" by Automobile, September 2006

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Buick Riviera page on 20 December 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Buick Riviera is a personal luxury car produced by Buick from 1963 to 1999. GM's first entry into that prestige niche, the Riviera was highly praised by automotive journalists upon its high-profile debut. While early models stayed close to the original form, eight subsequent generations varied substantially over the Riviera's thirty-year lifespan. In all, 1,127,261 were produced.

The Riviera name had been used by Buick since the early 1950s for various prestige versions of existing models, right through a large top-of-the-line six-window 1962 Electra 225 hardtop. The crisply styled, ground-up design that debuted 1963 was Buick's first unique Riviera model, and pioneered the GM E platform. The Riviera name was resurrected for concept cars displayed at auto shows in 2007 and 2013 in hopes of reintroducing the marque, but no plans to do so are currently in place.

Unlike its subsequent GM E platform stablemates, the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado, the Riviera was initially a standard front engine/rear-wheel drive platform, only becoming front wheel drive starting in 1979 as part of a sweeping move in that direction by the American automobile industry.

Origins: The Riviera name

The name Riviera, Latin for coastline, was chosen to evoke the allure and affluence of the French Riviera. It first entered the Buick line in 1949, as the designation for the new two-door pillarless hardtop, described in advertising as "stunningly smart". The Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe (along with the Cadillac Coupe de Ville and Oldsmobile 98 Holiday coupe) constituted the first mass production use of this body style, which was to become extremely popular over the next 30 years. Buick added a two-door Riviera hardtop to the Super the following year, the Special in 1951 and the Century upon its return, after a 12-year absence, in 1954.

From 1951 to 1953 the Riviera designation was given to the existing long wheelbase versions of the four-door Buick Roadmaster and Super sedans. The 1951–53 Buick Roadmaster and Super four-door Riviera sedans feature more standard features, more plush interior trim and, most significantly, a wheelbase (and overall length) that is 4 inches (102 mm) longer than a regular Buick Roadmaster or Super four-door sedan. The 1951–52 Buick Super four-door Riviera sedan is still 0.75 inches (19 mm) shorter in wheelbase and length than the regular Buick Roadmaster and 4.75 inches (121 mm) shorter than the Roadmaster four-door Riviera sedan. In 1953, with the move from the Fireball straight-eight to the more compact Nailhead V8 engine, the Roadmaster and Super four-door Riviera sedans became the same length.

In the middle of the 1955 model year, Buick and Oldsmobile introduced the world's first mass-produced four-door hardtops, with Buick offering it only on the Century and Special models, and the Riviera designation was also applied to these body styles. Four-door Riviera hardtops were added to the Roadmaster and Super lines at the beginning of the following model year. However, since it was a body style designation and not a model, the Riviera name does not usually appear on the car.

In 1959, Buick became much more selective in applying the Riviera name. From then until 1962 it only was used to denote a premium trimmed six-window hardtop style which it initially shared exclusively with Cadillac (the Oldsmobile 98 would receive it in 1961) and was available only on the Electra 225. The last usage of the term Riviera to describe a luxury trim level was 1963, as the formal designation of the #4829 Electra 225 Riviera four-door hardtop, the same year the E-body model two-door hardtop coupe Riviera made its debut.

First generation (1963–1965)

The production Riviera was introduced on October 4, 1962, as a 1963 model, Its distinctive bodyshell was unique to the marque, unusual for a GM product. It rode a cruciform frame similar to the standard Buick frame, but shorter and narrower, with a 2.0 in (51 mm) narrower track. Its wheelbase of 117 in (3,000 mm) and overall length of 208 in (5,300 mm) were 6.0 inches (150 mm) and 7.7 in (200 mm) shorter, respectively, than a Buick LeSabre, but slightly longer than a contemporary Thunderbird. At 3,998 lb (1,813 kg), it was about 390 pounds (180 kg) lighter than either. It shared the standard Buick V8 engines, with a displacement of either 401 cu in (6.57 L) or 425 cu in (6.96 l), and the unique continuously variable design twin turbine automatic transmission. Power brakes were standard, using Buick's massive "Al-Fin" (aluminum finned) drums of 12 in (300 mm) diameter. Power steering was standard equipment, with an overall steering ratio of 20.5:1, giving 3.5 turns lock-to-lock.

Second generation (1966–1970)

The Riviera was redesigned for the 1966 model year. It retained its cruciform X-frame, powertrain, and brakes, but its curvaceous new body was longer, wider, and 200 pounds (91 kg) heavier. Vent windows, a feature GM had introduced with a flourish in the 1930s, were absent. Headlamps remained concealed, but now pivoted behind the grille when not in use. The car's added bulk slowed acceleration with the unchanged 425 engine was. The Gran Sport package remained available as an option. Rear seat belts and AM/FM radio were optional.

The new front wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronado shared the Rivera platform, and, a year later, the also front wheel drive Cadillac Eldorado.

Third generation (1971–1973)

The Riviera was radically redesigned for the 1971 model year with flowing and dramatic "boat-tail" styling. Designed under Bill Mitchell's direction, it was penned by Jerry Hirshberg, future head of design for Nissan, mating the two-piece vee-butted fastback rear window, inspired by the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split window coupe, to the Riviera's platform.

The design was originally intended for the smaller GM A platform, and the use of the Riviera's body—expanded for 1971 by 3 in (76 mm) in wheelbase and more than 120 lb (54 kg) heavier—produced controversial looks. (Collectible Automobile ran an article about 1971–76 full-sized Buicks in which one sketch design for their 2-door coupes which was rejected resembled the 1971–73 Riviera).

This generation introduced a much more visual representation of the "sweepspear", with a more faithful representation to the version that appeared on 1950s Buicks in both the side molding and beltline.

Fourth generation (1974–1976)

Although carrying over the same platform, mechanicals, and some body panels seen on the "Third Generation" Riviera, Buick replaced its distinctive 'boat tail' roofline with a more conventional-looking "Colonnade" treatment. This turned the car from a hardtop coupe into a pillared coupe, as it featured wide B pillars and fixed quarter opera windows. A landau half-vinyl roof option was available. The car did retain its forward-jutting grille, albeit in slightly modified form. Thus modified, the car looked far less distinctive than its predecessors, and even its platform mates, the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado. The tamer-looking Riviera was no lighter, and its standard 455 V8 lost more power, dropping to 230 hp (172 kW) and 245 hp (183 kW) for standard and Stage One models, respectively. Max Trac was dropped from the option list after 1974 due to lack of buyer interest. The revised styling did nothing for sales, which plummeted to 20,129 in 1974. This generation introduced as a novelty what later became a federal mandate in a modified form, two high-mounted taillights above the trunk and below the rear window, which was shared on its platform twin the Toronado.

For 1975, the Riviera received an updated front fascia, which lost its forward-jutting theme through the redesign of the fiberglass front end cap. Quad rectangular headlights were mounted horizontally. The new vertical-bar grille echoed the "stand-up" theme that many GM cars of the day incorporated. Parking lights wrapped around the fender sides. The Stage One performance package was dropped for 1975, though the Gran Sport handling package would continue to be offered. The standard engine's output dipped to 205 hp (153 kW). Sales for 1975 were 17,306.

Minor changes greeted 1976 models, the most notable of which was a new crosshatch grille insert. The Gran Sport handling package was replaced by an 'S/R' package that had similar sporting pretensions. Sales rallied slightly to 20,082 for 1976.

Fifth generation (1977–1978)

Buick downsized the Riviera for 1977 onto the new smaller GM B platform. While the other E-bodies were front wheel drive since 1966 (1967 for Cadillac's Eldorado), the Buick E platform used a B-body undercarriage (along with the cruciform frame of pre-1965 GMs for the 1966–70 generation). All B-bodies (including C and D platform GM RWDs) were downsized for the 1977 model year which prompted the short-lived 1977/78 generation.

It was, in most respects, a Buick LeSabre coupe with unique styling (with quarter windows mimicking the 1975–78 Cadillac Eldorado). Unlike its LeSabre counterpart, the front fascia is vertical as opposed to slanted. It was reduced to a wheelbase of 115.9 in (2,940 mm), down 6.1 in (150 mm), and an overall length of 218.2 in (5,540 mm), down 4.8 in (120 mm). Weight dropped some 660 pounds (300 kg). The 455 was gone, replaced by a 350 cu in (5.7 L) Buick V8 engine with 155 hp (116 kW) or Oldsmobile-built 403 cu in (6.60 L) with 185 hp (138 kW). California models had a 170 hp (127 kW) Oldsmobile 350.

Sixth generation (1979–1985)

1979 saw the debut of the first front wheel drive Riviera. Built on a trimmer, 114 in (2,900 mm) wheelbase, it once again shared its mechanical design and platform with the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado. The Olds 403 and Buick 350 were dropped, but the Olds 350 remained, as did a new turbocharged Buick V6 of 231 cu in (3.8 L) displacement with 185 hp (138 kW). The Riviera became Motor Trend's Car of the Year. Sales more than doubled, to 52,181 for 1979 and 48,621 for the very similar 1980 models.

1981 saw the Turbo renamed T-Type and the demise of the 350 engine in favor of the Oldsmobile-built 307 cu in (5.0 L) with 140 hp (104 kW) (phased in during the 1980 MY). The standard engine was now Buick's 125 hp (93 kW) 252 cu in (4.1 L) V6, and a new option was an Oldsmobile diesel engine with a mere 105 hp (78 kW) offered through 1985. 1982 also saw the first-ever Riviera convertible, although relatively few were built, owing to very high prices-US$23,944. The Riviera convertible was available in only two color choices-white or red firemist with the only interior color of red leather. A turbocharged Riviera convertible was chosen to be the pace car at the 1983 Indianapolis 500, although most convertible Rivieras had the V8 engine, which saw an increase in rated SAE net horse power to 150 for both convertibles and coupes fitted with it from 1982 through the 1985 model year.

Overall sales made the 1980s Riviera a great success, reaching 65,305 for the 1985 model year.

Seventh generation (1986–1993)

The E-body coupes were converted to unibody construction and further downsized for 1986, to a 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase shared with the Buick Regal. The V6 was now the only engine, rated initially at 142 hp (106 kW) SAE and 200 lb⋅ft (270 N⋅m) of torque. It used the Turbo-Hydramatic 440-T4 automatic with a 2.84:1 final drive ratio. This generation was noted for advanced electronic instrumentation displayed on a dash-mounted 9-inch (230 mm) CRT. The CRT controlled the vehicle's climate control system and stereo, and also supplied advanced instrumentation such as a trip computer and maintenance reminder feature. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard. With a choice of three suspension packages available, up to the performance oriented FE3 setting, handling was notably improved. The Riviera placed fourth for Motor Trend's 1986 Car of the Year contest.

Eighth generation (1995–1999)

After a hiatus in 1994, the Riviera returned in 1995 with radical styling that departed from the previous generations' traditional image. A 205 hp (153 kW) naturally aspirated 3800 V6 was standard, with a supercharged version rated at 225 hp (168 kW) and 275 lb⋅ft (373 N⋅m) available as an option. Rivieras were now built in Lake Orion, Michigan, riding the same Cadillac-derived G platform as the 4-door Oldsmobile Aurora. The very first of 41,422 Rivieras made in 1995 rolled off the assembly line on May 23, 1994.

In 1996, supercharged versions saw an increase in power to 240 hp (179 kW) and 280 lb·ft (380 N·m), as well as the 4T60E-HD transmission. 18,036 Rivieras were manufactured in 1996.

1997 saw suspension revisions, removing excess weight. An upgraded 4T65E-HD transmission featuring a larger 258 mm (10.2 in) torque converter and heavy-duty gearbox were added. 18,827 were made in 1997.

For 1998, the 240 hp (180 kW) supercharged V6 became standard. GM's OnStar service was added as an option, along with minor interior design changes. 10,953 units were produced for 1998.

With sales of all coupes declining in the North American market, GM decided to discontinue the Riviera. 1999 was the car's last model year with production of 1,956 cars ceasing on November 25, 1998. The final 200 cars had special silver paint and trim, and were denoted "Silver Arrow" models, a designation which hearkened back to several Silver Arrow show cars that had been built off Riviera bodies by Bill Mitchell.

Eighth-generation Rivieras received the most powerful V-6 Buick engine since the Grand Nationals of the 1980s. The supercharged OHV V6 gave impressive torque and acceleration, pushing the car from 0 to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in under 7 seconds, and turning the ​1⁄4 mile in 15.5 seconds. Supercharged Rivieras achieved a fuel efficiency figure of 18/27 (city/highway mpg).


Images

1994 Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance at Stanford Poster - 1994 Buick Riviera 1994 Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance
Artist: Ken Eberts
Car: Buick Riverias (1994 in foreground)
Event: Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance
Image courtesy CarArt.us
View 1994 Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance at Stanford Poster - 1994 Buick Riviera - 70KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Thunder Road Cruise Night:  April 14, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,942KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Thunder Road Cruise Night:  April 14, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,206KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Thunder Road Cruise Night:  April 14, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,472KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Thunder Road Cruise Night:  April 14, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,186KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Thunder Road Cruise Night:  April 14, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,528KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Gary Lang Auto Group Car Show
July 18, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 4,343KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Gary Lang Auto Group Car Show
July 18, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,438KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Gary Lang Auto Group Car Show
July 18, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 4,149KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Gary Lang Auto Group Car Show
July 18, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,745KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Gary Lang Auto Group Car Show
July 18, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 976KB
1964 Buick Riviera 1964
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Gary Lang Auto Group Car Show
July 18, 2010
View photo of 1964 Buick Riviera - 3,082KB
Custom 1964 Buick Riviera Custom 1964
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 10, 2011
View photo of Custom 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,440KB
Custom 1964 Buick Riviera Custom 1964
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 10, 2011
View photo of Custom 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,276KB
Custom 1964 Buick Riviera Custom 1964
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 10, 2011
View photo of Custom 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,110KB
Custom 1964 Buick Riviera Custom 1964
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 10, 2011
View photo of Custom 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,333KB
Custom 1964 Buick Riviera Custom 1964
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 10, 2011
View photo of Custom 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,480KB
Custom 1964 Buick Riviera Custom 1964
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 10, 2011
View photo of Custom 1964 Buick Riviera - 2,612KB
1965 Buick Riviera Custom Mildly Customized 1965
Photo by "Morven"
Taken May 17, 2003
View photo of Custom 1965 Buick Riviera - 44KB
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 288KB
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 568KB
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 477KB
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 319KB
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 449KB
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 627KB
1966 Buick Riviera 1966
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1966 Buick Riviera - 412KB
1967 Buick Riviera 1967
Photo by Danny Larsen on Unsplash
View photo of 1967 Buick Riviera - 4.4MB
Buick Riviera Model Car Built by Steve Lohr
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
July 2011 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of Buick Riviera Model - 1,997KB
Buick Riviera Model Car Built by Steve Lohr
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
July 2011 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo ofBuick Riviera Model - 3,688KB
Buick Riviera Model Car Built by Steve Lohr
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
July 2011 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of Buick Riviera Model - 2,414KB
Buick Riviera Model Car Built by Steve Lohr
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
July 2011 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of Buick Riviera Model - 1,944KB
1971 Buick Riviera Model Car 1971
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
2006 Milwaukee NNL
April 22, 2006
View photo of 1971 Buick Riviera Model - 707KB
1971 Buick Riviera Model Car 1971
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
2006 Milwaukee NNL
April 22, 2006
View photo of 1971 Buick Riviera Model - 731KB
1983 Buick Riviera Convertible 1983 Convertible
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1983 Buick Riviera Convertible - 3.6MB
1983 Buick Riviera Convertible 1983 Convertible
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1983 Buick Riviera Convertible - 3.4MB
1983 Buick Riviera Convertible 1983 Convertible
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1983 Buick Riviera Convertible - 3.4MB
1983 Buick Riviera Convertible 1983 Convertible
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1983 Buick Riviera Convertible - 3.6MB
Buick Riviera Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
September 30, 2007
View photo of Buick Riviera - 1,630KB
Buick Riviera Photo by "IFCAR"
View photo of Buick Riviera - 87KB
1999 Buick Riviera 1999
Photo by Stephen Foskett
View photo of 1999 Buick Riviera - 46KB
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
Buick Riviera Photo by "IFCAR"
View photo of Buick Riviera - 98KB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
19 December 1973NHTSA Recall 73V250000
1974 Buick Century, 1974 Buick Electra, 1974 Buick Estate, 1974 Buick LeSabre, 1974 Buick Regal, 1974 Buick Riviera, 1974 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1974 Chevrolet Camaro, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate, 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1974 Chevrolet El Camino, 1974 Chevrolet Impala, 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1974 GMC Sprint, 1974 Oldsmobile 88, 1974 Oldsmobile 98, 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1974 Pontiac Bonneville, 1974 Pontiac Catalina, 1974 Pontiac Firebird, 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1974 Pontiac Grand Safari, 1974 Pontiac Grand Ville, 1974 Pontiac Le Mans
Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Arm
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
6 October 1976NHTSA Recall 76V160000
1966 Buick Electra, 1966 Buick Riviera, 1966 Buick Skylark, 1966 Buick Wildcat, 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1965-1966 Chevrolet, 1966 Chevrolet El Camino
Fuel System, Gasoline:Carburetor System
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Model Kit - Lindberg 73059Midnight Hopper '66 Buick Riviera LowriderHomie Hoppers, 1:25 scale
Die Cast - Hot Wheels J34281971 Buick RivieraHi-Rakers, small scale, oversized wheels, purple w/yellow graphics, Short Package




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