Perceived as a type of American Bentley Continental,
the Riviera was Buick's answer to the top-selling Ford
Blessed with some of the finest styling to
come out of Detroit it was restrained yet swoopy and exuded
presence where cars like the Cadillac and Imperial were
seen as merely big.
Inevitably it housed a V8 motor (initially a 6.5 liter,
and later 7.0 liter) with anything up to 365 bhp.
And despite its two-speed automatic gearbox, this large
five-seater could still manage 209 km/h although the brakes
did not seem to cope that well. The interior contained
such accessories as power windows, power steering and
a very tasteful dashboard.
But ironically, Buick altered
the classic styling of the Riviera with the most memorable
change being the clamshell covered lights.
This resulted in the car losing some of its personality
as it also shared underpinnings and structure with
the Cadillac Eldorado.
It redeemed itself in the early
70's with its "boat tail" version but lost a lot of
credibility from 1973 onwards as Detroit's big cars,
at that time, seemed to lose their way.