The Buick Riviera, introduced for the 1963 model year, is rightly recognized as a watershed of modern automotive design. Its origins were rooted in the Corvette-Thunderbird rivalry of the mid-1950s, where Ford’s “personal luxury car” soundly outsold the Corvette. The Thunderbird went on to post even higher sales with the enlarged “Square Bird” of 1958-1960, a trend that Bill Mitchell, the newly appointed and formidable GM styling chief, did not take lightly.
A new car, intended as a direct strike on the Thunderbird, was reportedly inspired by a Rolls-Royce that Mitchell had spied while attending the 1959 London Motor Show. Project XP-715, ultimately known as the Riviera, included aggressive frontal styling with contemporary Ferrari-like cues, and was largely based on the design work of Ned Nickels. Development progressed quickly, with Mitchell’s overriding mandate that the basic design remain uncompromised.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
340bhp, 425 cu. in. V8 engine, two-speed “Twin-Turbine Drive” automatic transmission, independent front suspension with double wishbones and coil springs, live rear axle with trailing arms, lateral track bar and coil springs, four-wheel finned aluminum hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 117"
Source: RM Auctions