Earlier than the Riviera formally grew to become a Buick, designer Ned Nickles christened the idea automobile “LaSalle II” for its vertical parking lights impressed by the entrance grille design of the 1939 Cadillac LaSalle. Nonetheless, the GM Design crew renamed it the XP-715, however Cadillac’s then-general supervisor Jim Roche had different issues in thoughts.
Enlisting the assistance of the McCann-Erickson promoting company, Buick basic supervisor Ed Rollert and gross sales supervisor Roland Withers satisfied the GM brass to supply the XP-715 beneath the Buick identify, primarily utilizing a mishmash of components and parts from GM’s B-platform, however with bespoke physique panels distinctive to Buick. If the luscious styling wasn’t sufficient, the first-gen Riviera of 1963 has a 6.6-liter (401 cubic inch) 325-horsepower V8 and an elective 7.0-liter (425 cubic inch) V8 with 340 horsepower. Furthermore, the Riviera gained a Tremendous Wildcat 7.0-liter V8 with 360 horsepower in 1965.
On the posh entrance, the Riviera featured leather-wrapped entrance and rear bucket seats, commonplace air-conditioning, wooden trim, and a three-speed automated gearbox. Buick bought 112,244 Rivieras from 1963 to 1965, however the gross sales figures had been nonetheless behind the Thunderbird. GM redesigned the second-gen Riviera (1966 to 1970) with a extra substantial and broader physique, however the first-gen Riviera stays a method icon.