Buick Riviera GS
In the early ’60s, Detroit was aware of those luxury Gran Turismo European coupes coming to America and selling in significant numbers. Performance-oriented buyers didn’t want big, heavy domestic coupes. They had the power but didn’t provide the handling or the feel of a sports car. So, instead, they turned to Ferraris, Maseratis, and Jaguars for their performance car excitement and prestige.
GM decided to capitalize on this trend by introducing a fresh new luxury model with great styling, a cool name and enough power to put all those European coupes to shame. So, in 1963, they introduced the Buick Riviera. It immediately became one of the most interesting cars on the American market at the moment. The combination of sleek, elegant styling, a modern interior and the powerful Buick Nailhead engine made the Riviera an instant bestseller.
It became the first real competitor to the famous Ford Thunderbird. But Buick wanted more, so the company introduced the legendary Riviera Grand Sport or GS in 1965. The car featured a revised suspension, a bigger 425 engine, and a host of other performance upgrades. In this version, the Rivera was a true world-class automobile with 360 HP and acceleration times of 7.9 seconds.
This was better than most of the sports cars of the period. The Riviera as a model stayed in production until 1993. However, it was the first three generations, especially the GS models that people seek the most. In fact, car fans consider them to be some of the best luxury muscle cars Detroit ever produced.