The General’s Buick division went all futuristic starting in the middle 1980s, hoping to win back (younger) American buyers who were switching their loyalty to high-tech European machinery at that time. The sleek Reatta two-seater came along in the 1988 model year, but the 1986 Riviera (and, to a lesser extent, the Somerset) were the first models to get the science-fiction touch.
Here’s a maximum-options Riviera T-Type coupe, which came with 800-way power seats and a touchscreen computer interface, spotted in a Silicon Valley self-serve yard last month.
Riviera. The mere mention of the name brings to mind visions of luxury. Perhaps of a CRT that glowed brightly on a stormy night, as your grandmother drove you home from a 4:55 p.m. dinner at Old Country Buffet. Or perhaps of the GM 3800 V6, maybe in elite supercharged form.
Today’s Rare Ride predates either of those anecdotes, and is special for a very different reason: It’s a last-of moment.
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?
Let’s play a game: I’ll name a few cars and you tell me if you think they’ll ever be found plying the roads of their real life namesake. Ready? Sebring. Ha! Corsica. Pfft. Monaco. Nope. Colorado. Wait, hang on; that one actually works.
You know another one that works? The Buick Riviera, especially in its first and final iterations. Not unlike the stunning Avista concept unveiled back in January, the 1995 Riv dropped jaws with its curvaceous sheetmetal when it debuted at auto shows in the mid-90s. Unlike the Avista, though, they actually built the Riviera. The gamble paid off because once in production, it piled up first-year sales like cordwood.
In 1979, the Riviera moved onto the front-wheel-drive Toronado/Eldorado platform, continuing the tradition of rococo Riviera personal luxury coupes that started back in 1963. This version of the Riviera was built through the 1985 model year, so we’re looking at the very last year of the V8 Riviera in this weathered Denver car.
TTAC commentator confused1096 writes:
Sajeev, I need some insight and good advice from yourself and the B & B. Here’s the problem: After my wife’s back surgery we no longer use my ’99 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow (#120) since it’s not comfortable for her to sit in (too low down, shape of seat etc.).
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- Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
- Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
- Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
- MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
- El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.