The Riviera was the result of America’s fascination with European luxury cars, the likes of Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Maserati. Coming with whitewalls and Formula Five chrome-look steel wheels, the Rivieras had the looks close enough to the European cars these cars’ designers would love to emulate. Produced for almost three decades, they were at full-size hardtop, a trimmed and stretched sedan, or a personal luxury car, the 1963 Buick Riviera were well-liked by the press and the public alike.
Beneath the exquisite lines were a 425cid V8, power brakes, and a two-speed Turbine Drive tranny. Around 400 pounds lighter and shorter than other big Buicks, they had the power of up to 360 horses. The sumptuous Riv was a full four-seater, with a look alike rear seat buckets. The interior had the European car ambience, the one belonging to the aristocratic Jags and Astons.
The Riviera was introduced on October, 1962 as a 1963 at a base price of $4,333 with options that could run up to $5,000. Motor Trend tested them at 0–60 mph and found them able to go the distance in 8 seconds or less, the standing quarter mile in about 16 seconds, and an observed top speed of 115 miles per hour.
Understated, crisp machines with simple but very attractive rear view, these machines sold almost 40,000 in 1964. The man behind the 1963 Buick Riviera was Bill Mitchell who was then GM’s Vice_President of styling department. Incidentally, he was also responsible for the success of the Oldsmobile Tornado and Mako Shark Corvette. GM retired in 1977 to pursue other automotive-related pursuits.
The Riv had the look, styling, and feel of European cars almost twice its price.