By on March 26, 2018

2018 Buick Regal TourX

These pages have spilled more than a bit of digital ink on the Buick brand in the last couple of weeks. For today’s QOTD, we’re about to spill a little more.

Buick’s current roster holds a couple of good-looking arrows in its quiver, not the least of which is the Regal Tour X (which, it should be noted, is listed proudly as a WAGON on Buick’s own build-and-price site), particularly in the natty shade of Rioja Red Metallic. Here is your Monday question: which Buick vehicle of yore hit it completely out of the park in terms of styling?

I’ll open the bid with what is probably the world’s most unsurprising and least original response — the fabulous and absolutely jaw-dropping 1965 Buick Riviera. Styling penned by the Bill Mitchell design team evokes a coke-bottle shape and, with those covered headlamps hidden by clamshell doors, it totally looks like a charlatan who would flirt shamelessly with your wife at the company Christmas party. A 425-cube V8 seals the deal.

Buick Wildcat.

Let’s throw this conversation open to concept cars, too. Twenty years later, Buick popped out the futuristic Wildcat. Hardly the first Buick to bear that name, your author can remember eyeing photos of the ’85 show car in a book at his rural community’s library with élan usually reserved for the girly magazines Aubrey Anstey kept in the top rack of the town pharmacy’s magazine shelf.

1987 Buick GNX

And, to this day, I still desire a 1987 Buick GNX. Built at a time when, at GM, building anything that beat the Corvette was verboten, Lord Vader’s coupe was faster in the measured quarter-mile than the greatest supercar ever built, the Ferrari F40 (12.7 seconds vs 13.0 seconds respectively, if you’re wondering).

What’s your pick from the back issues of Buick’s catalog?

[Images: General Motors]

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56 Comments on “QOTD: The Best Body by Buick?...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    A couple come to mind right off the bat – the ’63-’65 Rivieras, and the ’71-’73 “boattail” Rivieras. After that, the ’53 Skylark.

    I’ve always been a fan of the ’62-’64 Electra 225 models (I almost bought a ’62 four-door hardtop one time), but I wouldn’t put them in the same league, styling-wise.

    And, I looked pretty hard at a ’65 Riviera GS once, in nice condition, for $3500. Around the same time I looked at the ’62 Electra.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      My vote is also for the ’71-’73 “boattail” Riviera. Lindberg made a model of one in their “Mini-Lindy” line that I remember to this day.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      The 1966 Riv has my vote. This blue is awesome on it, too:

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/1966_Buick_Riviera_-Side_View.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I agree on the ’66. The ’63 is suave, but the next generation was just gorgeous. Look at those proportions. Perfect.

        The boattails were fun to look at, in the same way that Cher’s Bob Mackie dresses were, but like those dresses, they look more like quaint relics today, while the ’63-’66 still looks timeless.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Yes, I like the ’66-’69 models as well, especially the ’66-’67. A buddy in high school drove a gold ’69 with the styled wheels, and it was killer. He also sometimes drove a ’57 Chevy stepside pickup. How many high school kids have *two* cars? I still SMH.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I too appreciate the ‘boat tail’ Riviera. Why isn’t Thunderbolt & Lightfoot which featured one never shown on TV anymore?

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Thunderbolt & Lightfoot? That’s a good question. The last time I saw it listed (a couple of years back), it was on the Movies TV broadcast channel (digital side channel in US markets).

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The station “This TV” showed it about once a month when it started out, and continues to show it on occasion. This scene is without a doubt one of the greatest in modern Western cinema, I’m sure you’ll all agree:

        /watch?v=nQKDQCYsEZM

    • 0 avatar
      hpycamper

      Rivieras were great looking cars. They are the type of car I think of that slap down the 2 door naysayers we encounter in comments on TTAC.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Without a doubt, the 1963-65 Riviera and the 1966-67 Riviera are the best Buick stylings in my book. The rest are also-rans.

    • 0 avatar
      Marty S

      I would say that the 65 Riviera was the most beautiful and best proportioned. My dad had a brand new one and I remember driving it. It was a really special personal car. The 66-68 Rivieras were more futuristic, but well proportioned too. The first new car I bought was a dark green 1969 Wildcat coupe which was fairly conservative for the times, with nice sporty lines.

      It is sad how Buick has fallen. I think if they had developed really premium and good looking cars over the last ten years they would have done better. I think the Lexus has assumed the niche Buick once had as a high level premium cars. Deservedly so, because of the high quality, but the styling of late is an abomination. The last Buick 1 owned, an 85 Electra T Type looked pretty good, but was of dangerously low quality.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    I wouldn’t necessarily call it the best ever from the brand (hello, ’63 Riviera) but the ’91 Park Avenue was one of the first new cars that ever made me – then all of 15 years old – sit back and say, “wow.”

    It was quite a revelation compared to the cookie-cutter nature of GM’s ’80s cars, and even with its many Jaguaresque details really looked like nothing else at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      I’ll keep my opinion to cars I actually remember, as I was born in 1980. Agreed on the 91′ Park Avenue–what a classy Buick design. The ’94 Riviera was also a classic.

      IMO the original 2008 Buick Enclave also was the classiest of all the large crossovers, but had to share it’s success with Saturn, GMC and Chevy versions–neither of which looked as good.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        If you’re talking about the curvy one, that would have been ’95 and later. ’93 was the last of the seventh-generation; they skipped the ’94 model year and went straight to a MY’95 introduction for the eighth-gen.

  • avatar
    RSF

    As a high school student in the 80’s, I absolutely loved the Regal (and Cutlass). I saved up all I could to buy and used one in my senior year!

  • avatar
    ajla

    ’32 Series 80 Victoria “Traveler” Coupe.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Avista is easy winner here… at least to me.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    1. Boat-tail Riv
    2. 1914 Buick B-35 Phaeton (looks sharp in red with black fenders, natural wood finish on the wheels, tan top, and tan interior)
    3. Current Buicks – tie between the current Lacrosse and TourX (If I could get the TourX sans fender flares I’d rank it higher.)

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      Agree on the TourX. A very practical size, but the fender flairs make it look like another Pontiac Aztec or Saturn View. I hope the new Regal Sportback is better.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d actually argue the ’66 Riv is a better design than the classic ’63-’65, but either of those is easily the best looking Buick ever. It’s not even close.

    But I’ll add a few more worthy designs:
    ’92 Park Avenue – an American Jaguar
    The current and last-gen LaCrosses are both lookers
    ’77 Electra – still a great design

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      My only hang up on the 60s Riv is that I think the Toro and Eldorado looked even better during that decade.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Those were indeed great looking cars (I’d take a ’67 Eldo in black, thanks), but I’d argue the Riv (particularly the original) had that timeless quality about it.

      • 0 avatar
        SilverCoupe

        True enough (I have always been a fan of the ’67-’68 Eldorado), but in ’63 and ’64 when we bought the Riviera, the Toronado and Eldorado did not yet exist. We added a Toronado to our garage in ’70, but by that point, it was not a very attractive car. The Riv in ’70 was even worse, though.

  • avatar
    wiseweasel

    Oh come on, since we’re talking concepts too, no Y Job, or Blackhawk here? Those were pretty special.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Y-Job was awesome or how about the 1951 LeSabre concept car? (Although at that point it technically wasn’t a BUICK.)

      I’d prefer to limit ourselves to actual production models. Heck the original Pontiac Transport concept was much cooler than the production model.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Those Boattail Rivs were always a fan favorite, but as the years went by those oddly shaped rear windows became a chore to find. I worked at an auto glass place back in the ‘80s and my boss would always try to keep a few in stock. Now they probably fabricate them on the odd chance somebody needs one.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    1968 Wildcat, both 2- and 4-door hardtop. (No vinyl roof, please.)

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    1971 Buick Centurion coupe.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The only Buick that ever registered on my radar was the Grand National and that wasn’t really due to style but more because of the power plant. Everything else was some GM clone with different bumpers from my point of view as kid in 70s and teenager in the 80s. Due to my age Buick = “old persons” car, like Caddy, only smaller (Park Avenue, Roadmaster, ugh). Then came the horrible Skylark with the pointed bumper in the mid 90s. The Reatta was interesting, mainly because of its futuristic (at the time) electronic dash and somewhat unique shape.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The GNX was probably the best looking Cutlass GM ever made.

  • avatar
    Syke

    The ’59 Buick line, especially if it was a two-door. Those were the only good looking cars in the GM ’59 lines. 50’s excess done with style and class.

    Still have a fondness for the 37-39 cars, too, especially the first two years if they have sidemounts.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    i’m a flint native and resident until 1972 – and i have witnessed a lot of buick product up-close-and-personal during my 68 years on this planet. even owned a couple of them myself. but my personal favorite of all buicks would have to be the 1963-64 riviera.

    the buick wildcat concept car pictured in the article would be a close ‘second’ – in no small part because my father, who worked for general motors his entire career, was part of the team that designed it.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    Gee, I wonder what car I will pick?

    The Riviera we daily drove for 30 years was a ’64, but I would say the ’65 was best, and then the ’66-’67, with the boat tails getting an honorable mention.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “Body by Fischer”

    All I need to say.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The original Riviera and the boat tail are tied for me. Followed by the GNX.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    No love for the Encore? *ducks*

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Pretty much all of the Rivieras, the exceptions being the fourth (1974-1976) and fifth (1977-1978) generations.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Everyone’s already mentioned most of the greatest hits so I’m gonna go ahead and add the Reatta because no one else will.

    I think its a really strangely attractive automobile.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I would have a tough time choosing between a 1957 Roadmaster and ’59 Buick Invicta, with the 1st gen Riviera coming in 3rd place.

  • avatar
    86er

    I have a hard time picking between the ’49 Roadmaster Riviera and the ’55 Roadmaster in the 4-door hardtop.

    Pre-war, especially pre-40s, I’m sadly not enough of a connossieur to comment (but working to rectify: I recommend a copy of Cars of the Classic 30s by the Editors of Consumer Guide).

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    Talking concepts, it would be hard to top Y-Job. They did pretty well with Avista.
    For production model boattail Riverria’s would be the best followed by first gen Enclave.

  • avatar
    heybob

    1969 Wildcat – white with a black vinyl top

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I have personal experience with two Buicks; a ’65 Elektra 225 with the 445 Wildcat under the hood and an 85 LeSabre T-type. The first was a bloomin’ BARGE… split no fewer than three conventional steel rims over the five years we owned it, while the T-type was one of my most favorite cars ever, offering surprising performance and handling with a nice level of luxury… a perfect “Personal Luxury car” of the day. Unfortunately, I totaled it when a lady in a Toyota Celica tried to cross the highway at a blind (but signaled) intersection.

      Interesting thing about that: The intersection was notorious for crashes just like that and not one month later the turn signals were changed to prohibit left turns during straight-through greens. After that, no more crashes.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Buick has had a string of pretty decent looking concepts recently from the Riveria (2 of them) to the Avista and Avenir (least striking of the lot).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Norm, it’s your time to shine!

  • avatar
    amca

    Here’s a random nominee: the ’71 and following LeSabres. That cove that ran the full length of the car, originating our of the hood dome, and sweeping into a lovely curve in the rear fender.

    A beautifully integrated design.

    But then, who could forget the ’65 Wildcat? Crisp and elegant. Or that beautiful clamshell hood on the ’85 and a half FWD sedans? And the first gen Park Avenue . . . .

  • avatar

    All of you have already mentioned my favorites. Here are a couple of other Buicks to consider:

    1960 Buick convertible – any model.
    1961 Buick bubbletop coupe.
    1962 Buick Skylark coupe.

    I also like the nose on the Buick XP-300 show car of 1951. So much cleaner than the production Buicks of that vintage with their big bulging chrome teeth!

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    1987 Grand National,1975 Electra 225 park ave,1977 Regal.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I really do like the last Wildcat, the 1970.
    Otherwise my personal vote goes for my 1975 Riviera in Verde Mist (color code # 49) with the white vinyl top. It has the slanted console shifter, bucket seats and has the exterior bustle-back design five years before the Seville and thirty years before the BMW 7-series.
    Wonderful car I bought on eBay for $305 as a charity car from Cars For Causes in Santa Paula, California.
    As a member of the ROA (Riviera Owner’s Association) I get to see hundreds of Rivieras every year!

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Love the ’71-’73 boattail Riv. My folks had a ’72 when I was little and that’s what I wanted for my first car.

    A ’65 Wildcat was the closest we could get in the local paper in the fall of ’91 and the rest is history as far as that goes and so I have a soft spot for these also — I would love to track down a 4-dr hardtop version.

    I also like the ’79-’85 Riviera and the 1949 Super with an honorable mention of the ’95-’96 Regal.

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