Buick Riviera

The Buick Riviera was a long-running model for the Buick company and a highly successful one. Buick produced the Riviera from 1963 until 1993 and again from 1995 to 1999. Eight generations of the car were manufactured over the years, making it one of the longest running vehicle models from the Buick company.

More on the Buick Riviera
Buick Riviera Origins

The Riviera name was first put onto hardtop, two-door Buicks as far back as 1949. The Buick Roadmaster Riviera was the first such model. A four-door, pillarless hardtop was introduced in 1955 that bore the Riviera moniker. From 1955 until the Riviera received its own line, the name was only used for six-window, hardtop style vehicles.

About the Buick Riviera

During its long and lustrous production, the Buick Riviera was known for many things, but it is best remembered for is its elegance and luxury. It has been everything from a luxury coupe, to a muscle car, to a reliable vehicle.

Buick Riviera Evolution

The first generation of the Riviera was introduced in 1963. The body of the vehicle was specially designed with a shorter and narrower frame than other Buicks. It featured the standard Buick V-8 that produced 325 horsepower, Twin Turbine automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The Riviera has more power and less weight than other Buicks and is known as a power performer. The first generation ran till 1965.

The second generation of the vehicle was introduced in 1966. The frame remained the same, but the body was longer and more curvaceous than that of the previous model. The second generation had an upgraded V-8 with 360 hp, which provided greater power and torque. New disc brakes and aluminum brake drums handled this new power with style.

The third generation featured a whole new body, which included the now-famous boat-tail design. The body and wheelbase were larger, making this model a true monster to drive. The engine compression was also reduced to lower carbon emissions, but the engine was still powerful and retained its sportiness (despite the car’s look). The third generation was discontinued in 1973.

The fourth generation was introduced in 1974 and ran till 1976. The Collonade design replaces the boat tail, and it is a pillared coupe instead of a hardtop coupe. The engine loses some of its power from the redesign. Still boasting a V-8, the horsepower drops to 230 on the standard model and 245 on Stage One models.

The fifth generation was introduced in 1977. It is scaled down from the previous generation. The engine again loses power, down to 155 hp. With this model year, the Riviera becomes less powerful and more conventional. This generation was short-lived with Buick discontinuing it in 1978.

The sixth generation was introduced in 1979, which was also the first year the Riviera had front-drive. 1982 also saw the first Riviera convertible.

The seventh generation ran from 1986 to 1993. The car, again smaller, contains a downgraded engine— a V-6. The poor power performance and styling of the car reduced sales.

The eighth and final generation was introduced in 1995 and ran through 1999. The body of this car is larger, and the model offers supercharged V-6 option. The supercharged version increases power to 240 hp. The car received a new suspension in 1996 that also increased performance potential. 1998 saw the supercharged 240 hp V-6 become standard on the Riviera. This makes the eighth generation the most powerful of the Riviera since the model’s heyday.

The 2007 concept car, introduced in Shanghai, has a sleek, modern design with a large grill and sloping hood. The concept is based on the design of the classic Riviera model but with more modern technological influences, but it was never put into production.

Classic collectors will enjoy the sleek design and aesthetics of the Riviera from the 1970s, while those more interested in power and performance will find something to love in the models from the 1990s. Whatever your desire, always have a Riviera checked by a certified mechanic before purchase. No sense in buying all that power if the engine can’t use it.

Select a Buick Riviera Year

1998 Buick Riviera

Coupe, Midsize

1997 Buick Riviera

Coupe, Midsize

The 1997 Buick Riviera provides one of the few large coupes available on the market.

1996 Buick Riviera

Coupe, Midsize

The 1996 Buick Rivera is a powerful two-door coupe that led Buick’s return to relevance in the luxury sedan market.

1995 Buick Riviera

Coupe, Midsize

The 1995 Buick Riviera is one of the few large coupes available on the market.