Back in the early ’60s, Buick had some tough times on the market. It seemed like their combination of affordable luxury and elegant styling was not interesting to car buyers. Sales were declining, so GM knew Buick needed help in the marketing department. The answer was logical: introduce an upscale modern luxury model to attract attention and draw people back into the Buick showrooms.
GM green-lighted Buick for the development of the Riviera, which they based on a successful concept car they called the Silver Arrow. The production model debuted in 1963 and immediately became a sales hit, as well as one of the best cars of the early ’60s.
They built the Riviera on a special frame and chassis not shared with other GM products. It had an advanced, sophisticated design and interior with a central console that was unheard of at the time. The power came from Buick’s 425 Wildcat engine and despite the looks, the Rivera delivered a great performance, especially in GS trim. The Buick Riviera became one of the best GM personal luxury cars that stayed in production until 1999.