Buick introduced the Riviera in late 1962, a stunning two-door sport-coupe and a personal luxury car that was sold from 1963 through 1999, excluding the 1994 model year. The Riviera was originally a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle converted to front-wheel drive for the 1979 model year. While the early versions remained faithful to their original design, the size and style of the eight later generations varied dramatically.
History of Buick Riviera
Buick Riviera First Generation (1963 - 1965)
Riviera's production debuted on October 4, 1962, as a 1963 model, with a body shell specific to the brand and uncommon for a GM product. The personal luxury car was a revolutionary concept, and the Ford Thunderbird was the pioneer at that time. A concept car called the Cadillac "LaSalle" was displayed, but it did not receive the attention it deserved. The idea was available to other GM brands in 1960, and Bill Mitchel, the styling chief, was shocked by the sight of a custom-built Rolls-Royce. Ned Nickles, the designer, added the finishing touches. The 1963 Buick Riviera Coupe featured a long body with hidden headlights behind the grille, "Coca-Cola bottleneck" quarter frames, and a massive chromed grille. Although it used a conventional Buick platform, it was shorter and thinner to keep expenses down. It was still longer than the Thunderbird, though.
Buick Riviera Second Generation (1966 - 1970)
For the 1966 model year, Buick redesigned the Riviera. The cruciform X-frame, powertrain, and brakes were intact, but the curvy new body was longer, broader, and 200 lbs (91 kg) heavier. Redesigned loop-type bumpers for 1968 vehicles enclosed the deeper crosshatch front grille and tail lamps. In 1969, grilles received a pattern of precisely spaced, slim vertical bars superimposed by two broader horizontal bars that make it stand forward at the inboard end, resulting in minor, aesthetic modifications. The company reconfigured the 1970 Riviera to incorporate design elements from Bill Mitchell's 1968 concept car "Silver Arrow II." It's worth noting that even though sales of the first generation Riviera fell to 37,366, the second generation Riviera still went on to sell 227,000 units in five years, beating the first generation.
Buick Riviera Third Generation (1971 - 1973)
Under Bill Mitchell's supervision, Buick revamped the 1971 model year. The company put a sweeping and dynamic "boat-tail" appearance with the help of Jerry Hirshberg (later head of design for Nissan). "Sweepspear" became more prominent in this generation, with a more accurate portrayal of the 1950s Buick version in both the exterior molding and beltline. However, Riviera sales fell to 33,810 in 1971, the lowest ever recorded. At 33,728, 1972 sales were almost identical to the previous year, with a difference of 82.
Buick Riviera Fourth Generation (1974 - 1976)
Buick updated the Riviera's iconic "boat tail" roofline with a much more standard "Colonnade" approach that was much more following its LeSabre and Electra siblings than its front-wheel-drive cousins. In 1975, Buick sold 17,306 units. In comparison, sales rose slightly to 20,082 in 1976. The 1974 model year marked the debut of the fourth generation Buick Riviera, which was only available as a two-door coupe. In 1976, the fourth generation Riviera was replaced by the Fifth Generation Buick Riviera, powered by a 7.5L V8 engine.
Buick Riviera Fifth Generation (1977 - 1978)
For the 1977 model year, Buick launched the fifth generation Riviera, which was only available as a two-door coupe. The Buick Riviera of the fifth generation made its debut in 1977 as a two-door coupe-only variant. For 1977, Buick reduced the Riviera's size to fit the new GM B platform. Sales increased slightly to 26,138 in 1977 and then dropped to 20,535 in 1978, but this was a temporary model until the all-new E-body cars were available in 1979. Buick used the GM B platform for the 1977 and 1978 Rivieras until they used the FWD E platform for the 1979 makeover.
Buick Riviera Sixth Generation (1979 - 1985)
The 1979 model year saw the debut of the sixth-generation Buick Riviera. A front-wheel-drive and a convertible model were notable additions for this generation, which set it apart from its predecessors. Sales more than doubled between 1979 and 1980, reaching 52,181 for 1979 and 48,621 for 1980. The Riviera was a massive hit in the 1980s, selling 65,305 units in 1985 alone. The sixth-generation Riviera was active until 1985, powered by V6 and V8 engine options, and got replaced by the seventh-generation Buick Riviera.
Buick Riviera Seventh Generation (1986 - 1993)
In 1986, the Buick Riviera Coupe's seventh-generation made its debut, bringing with it a host of new features and smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. In 1963, the Riviera Coupe debuted as a high-end sports coupe. It was an actual Grand Touring vehicle with up to seven-liter engines and a length of more than 5.5 meters. Just after the oil crisis, its size began to decrease. In 1986, there were no longer any V8 engines available due to the downsizing. Buick thought that the internal technology would compensate for the loss of the drivetrain. Sales increased to 21,189 in 1989 but fell to 4,555 in 1993, and the generation's shortened final model year. On December 10, 1992, the last 1993 Riviera went off the production line in Detroit/Hamtramck.
Buick Riviera Eighth Generation (1995 - 1999)
Taking a break from its typical appearance in 1994, the Riviera made a triumphant return in 1995 with a revolutionary makeover. The supercharged 3800 V6 was offered as an option, producing 225 horsepower and 275 lb-ft (373 N-m), while the naturally aspirated 3800 V6 was standard (more related specs below). General Motors decided to end the Riviera's production due to the diminishing sales of coupes in the North American market. On November 25, 1998, the production of 1,956 automobiles ended for the model year.
Buick Riviera Concept Car 2007
At Auto Shanghai 2007, Buick debuted the Riviera concept car, a beautiful demonstration of the brand's new worldwide creative direction. China's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), a design and engineering partnership with General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), designed the gull-wing Riviera concept coupe with international design involvement.
Buick Riviera Concept Car 2013
Another Riviera design was unveiled at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC). The car comes with modern features like gull-wing doors, wireless charging, a plug-in electric drivetrain, and four-wheel steering.
Buick released its Riviera model with different generations and countless improvements. For you to have an outlined overview of its price, here are the costs for the first generation and last generation of Buick Riviera. The base price for the Buick Riviera first generation was around $4,333 to $5,000 ($40,174 to $46,358 today). Meanwhile, Buick sold the 1999 Riviera, the eighth and last generation, with a starting price of $33,820 ($57,594 today).
Both the profile and the details of this design are daring. You can find a few flat panels in the overall layout, which are constantly curved. The front and the back of the body are sharply tapered—so that the car's nose can be seen from both the side and the front of the vehicle. There is also a slight tucking to latch onto the full-width taillight component securely.
The Riviera is a vehicle that will not become lost in a car park. It is well-rounded, with very few neat lines, like many modern vehicles. Unlike other cars, the Riviera features a sharply diagonal line running from the top of every front fender to the back of the vehicle, continuing beyond the passenger compartment and rear wheel. The flat panel directly inboard of this line gives balance against the car's rounded proportions. The Riviera is a big car, but it has a sleek and streamlined appearance thanks to its innovative styling. The back fenders are raised, and the rear overhang is large, giving the appearance of a creature waiting to jump. You can also see the Riviera's name on the sides and the "R" on the nose and the wheels. These are the only Buick trademarks on the automobile.
The Riviera's interior is just as unique as its outside. The Riviera is a two-door coupe that can fit four people daily or five for a night out with friends. Because it's a coupe, getting in and out is a little more complicated than it would be in a sedan, but the long doors make up for that. The car has an intelligent instrument panel with a hooded lip over the panel's top and delicately faired into the side panels. This covers the plain fascia's circular, divided analog gauges. However, they did not use a wood trim but leather seats and steering wheel rim. Buick also included heated and ventilated front seats. The driver and front passenger have independent climate controls. Rear passengers have their vents. It has a spacious rear seat for a coupe, with a shaded section on the lengthy backlight to shield passengers from the sun. The body is long and helpful, but the liftover is high.
The 1999 Buick Riviera engine delivers 240 hp (179 kW) at 5,200 rpm and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) at 3,600 rpm for the model's maximum torque. The Riviera accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) in 7 seconds. Buick sold the Riviera as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle powered by a 3.8 L L67 3800 Series II Supercharged V6.
On October 4, 1962, Riviera's production began as a 1963 model. Meanwhile, on November 25, 1998, the model year's production of 1,956 vehicles ended.