1967 Riviera is the pinnacle of the Buick family in the personal luxury coupe class. Extravagant style and a huge power reserve have made it the most sought-after luxury car of the 60s, thanks to the high praise of experts and automotive journalists.
Source: Auto Vercity
Riviera was named after the rich and charming French Riviera. From the very beginning, the car was designed to combine the dynamics of the famous sports car Ferrari and the lux respectability of Rolls-Royce. The car first appeared in the Buick line back in 1949 as a two-door hardtop and was touted as “stunningly smart.” It was one of the first dual-core hardtops. In the 1960s, GM lacked a personal luxury car to compete with the highly successful Ford Thunderbird, a uniquely styled two-door that soared in popularity as it transitioned from a two-seater to a four-seater. To fill this gap, an experimental design was created for the Cadillac XP-715, dubbed “LaSalle” after GM’s former luxury marque. Its angular look was reportedly inspired by a visit by GM chief designer Bill Mitchell to London during the period when he was struck by a custom-bodied Rolls Royce car. He later said that the “knife-edge” styling was what he wanted from the new model, but with a lower profile. When Cadillac took over the project in 1960, the project was put up for competition by other GM divisions. Buick, desperate to revive falling sales, won the contest by enlisting the help of the McCann-Erickson advertising agency to create its presentation. Initially called “LaSalle” and later “Riviera”, the finished design was adapted to a shortened version of the model’s existing cruciform frame. In 1963 the model became the flagship of the Buick model line, immediately securing success in the USA.
The new generation, compared to their predecessors, got a new design and technical specifications. The body transformed and became more figured, slightly lengthened, and expanded. At the same time, the ventilation window was removed. The large dimensions and increased weight category with the same engine slowed the acceleration of the car. Thanks to this update, sales of the model immediately jumped. In 1966, the second generation of cars was launched into the series. Endowed with smooth forms, the car had become more like the famous Oldsmobile Toronado, but the similarities ended on the outside. The second generation received an extended wheelbase and a much more massive two-door body. In 1966, sales rose to 45,000 a year. The next year, the most significant update for the 1967 release was replacing the old venerable 425 “Nailhead” engines: they were no longer installed on the model and new 4.3-liter engines were offered, which were more reliable and produced the same power. Replacing the 425 with the new 430 ccs was smoother, more reliable, and produced the same 360 horsepower (270 kW) and 475 lb-ft (644 Nm) of torque in performance. Also, when operating the car, fuel consumption has decreased significantly. This, too, could not but affect car sales – they grew noticeably. Powerful disc brakes with Bendix four-piston calipers became optional on the front wheels, but most Rivieras were still ordered with Buick’s high-performance ribbed aluminum brake drums. Cosmetic changes were few and limited to the addition of a wide, horizontal, centrally located, full-width chrome grille that extended over the headlight doors and side marker lights.
In 1967, US mandatory safety equipment was introduced to improve occupant protection during a crash, including an energy-absorbing steering column, non-protruding control knobs, 4-way hazard warning, padded interior surfaces, seat-back locks (on 2-door models), dual-circuit hydraulic brake system (with warning light) and shoulder strap attachments. Rivieras complied with all requirements and had a full range of safety features.
The unique design and decent level of equipment always set apart this brand’s cars. Moreover, this combination made a name for the brand and quickly gained millions of fans around the world. No wonder, the 1967 model is probably one of the most cinematic cars of the last century. This car has appeared in films such as Fletch Lives (1989), Kingpin (1996), Dirty Deeds (2002), La chamade (1968), Death Race (2008), Death Race: Inferno (2013), and much more.
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