The boattail Riviera is a fitting finale to Curbside Classics for now. I’ve had a thing for fastbacks since day one, and I’ve been indulging in them this week. This Riviera also represents the difficult ending of an era, where the large luxury coupe, especially GM’s, was the standard bearer for American design innovation and leadership. What started as a revolutionary concept with the 1958 Thunderbird, and was elevated to timeless elegance in the 1963 Riviera, now struggled to regain its former glory in the dying days of the giant car.
The 1971 Riviera was a bold effort by GM styling head Bill Mitchell to recapture the magic that seemed to permeate GM in the sixties. The result was controversial and flawed, but its hulking and brash shape has certainly enriched our streets. For me, CC is about the visual thrill of rediscovering the unique shapes and designs of the past, no matter how imperfect, and the boattail Riviera certainly does that as well or better than any other car in my collection. It’s a car worth stopping for. (Read More…)