1965 Buick Riviera Coupe (RHD)
Result: PASSED IN
|Engine||V8, 455-cid (see text)|
|Interior||Black & White|
Styled in response to the chome-laden excess that was American automotive design in the 1950s, Bill Mitchell’s Riviera of 1963 was a bold new approach and destined to become a style icon. The clean, pillarless profile and European-influenced interior combined to give the Riviera a sense of class no other American car could match, the crisp lines pioneering the ‘Coke bottle’ line that soon became all the rage in Detroit. Designed to meet Ford’s Thunderbird head-on in the sports-luxury class, Buick’s Riviera was a conventional design beneath the fresh styling, employing a smooth and powerful 401-cid V8 engine and automatic transmission as standard equipment. With 325 horses on tap, the Riviera certainly wasn’t lacking in power and contemporary road tests sang the praises of the effortless acceleration and smooth, almost impercetable gear changes. The first generation Riviera remained in production for three model years and if anything Buick managed to improve on the original's dramatic styling with the 1965 model, distinguished by vertically stacked concealed headlamps and tail lights located in the rear bumper. Built on a 119-inch wheelbase, the 1965 Riviera boasted just about every luxury convenience of the day, including power steering and power brakes, while the interior boasted individual bucket seats for both front and rear passengers and walnut panelling on the instrument panel. Mechanical changes were few, but from 1964 onwards the two-speed automatic was replaced with the Super Turbine three-speed box, while the Gran Sport option added a 360 horsepower Super Wildcat V8 with a dual exhaust system, posi-traction diff and special badges. A real gentleman's express, the Riviera was America's answer to the European GT, proving a huge hit for Buick both in sales and critical terms.