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