Buy/Drive/Burn: Classic Luxury Coupes From 1963
Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn brings three big and brawny American luxury coupes from 1963. You’ll have to burn one — no exceptions.
By 1963 Ford’s successful Thunderbird was in the final year of its third generation, which was the last of the model’s smooth, bullet-like styling. Available in coupe and convertible variants, the third generation Thunderbird was a darling of television product placement, and one of the stars of JFK’s inaugural parade. For ’61, it also did some work as the Indianapolis 500 pace car. Updates for 1963 included an AM/FM radio and a remote driver’s side mirror. The Thunderbird was available with a single V8 engine, the 390 (6.4L). It produced 300 horsepower, sent to the rear via the three-speed automatic.
Chrysler started their 300 letter series cars in 1955 with the C-300. After that, the letter moved behind the numbering, and each new year was given the next subsequent letter in the alphabet. In 1963 the letter was J, as Chrysler skipped the I to avoid confusion with the Roman numeral. Styling was smoother than prior years, as American cars entered a Sixties aesthetic and designer Virgil Exner exited his position as Chrysler’s chief designer. The new exterior styling was paired with an upscale luxury interior, and a squared-off steering wheel. The 300J was also quick, with a 413 (6.8L) 390-horsepower V8 which powered the big coupe to 60 miles an hour in 8 seconds. Big and expensive, the 300J sold poorly. Just 400 were produced.
Buick’s Riviera was brand new for 1963, as Buick once again entered the personal luxury coupe market. The tri-shield brand took some time off to rethink its personal luxury offering after the Super model concluded in 1958. Buick dedicated the Riviera name to the new coupe after its most recent application on the six-window Electra 225 Riviera in 1962. Riviera was the first vehicle on GM’s E-body, which was designated for front- and rear-wheel drive personal luxury cars across the company’s lineup. Said platform would see notable front-drive use three years later, in the Oldsmobile Toronado of 1966. Two V8s were available, of 401 (6.6L) or 425 (7L) cubic inches. With the 425, Riviera had 360 horsepower distributed via an old two-speed automatic, which was only offered in ’63.
With big displacement comes a big decision: One must burn. Which will it be?
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- 28-Cars-Later "11 city / 16 highway / 13 combined" "$155,365 (U.S.) "So much winning.
- Wjtinfwb Cops know an arrest is fruitless. The courts will spring him with zero bail and and likely drop all charges if he promises not to steal anymore. Which of course he will. Lock your cars, secure your keys and arm yourself to keep your home and family safe. This kid will get bored of stealing Kia's and escalate to jewelry and valuables soon, no doubt.
- FreedMike Well, good to see folks got their five minutes anti-Biden hate on. Glad he didn't do something REALLY hateful, like wearing a tan suit. Meanwhile, speaking of "picket lines," I seem to remember one that the former president - who's running again - attended. Now, the date escapes me...oh, wait, now I remember, it was on January 6th, 2021. But that was locker room talk, I suppose.
- MaintenanceCosts 0-60 in four seconds and only ~0.65 g of cornering grip are not a good combination.As someone who has been absolutely terrified riding in a "regular" current-gen Escalade with the 6.2 and the most aggressive airport shuttle driver I've ever experienced, what the truck needs is NOT, NOT, more power. It needs better stability in transitions, where it always feels like you are on the cusp of losing the rear end.(We saw 110 mph on I-5 north of San Diego. My company fired the shuttle company after hearing of the experience.)
- Analoggrotto Another victory for Kia Telluride.