The Buick Riviera was designed to be a personal luxury car, something that was missing from the GM lineup at the time (depending upon how you classify the 1963 Cadillac Eldorado). The Riviera was one of the first projects taken on by GM’s freshly minted Vice President of Styling Bill Mitchell, after Harley Earl’s retirement in 1958.
The Buick Riviera was initially a car without a company, as it did not have a home prior to mock up. Chevrolet and Cadillac were both sailing along, so it was determined the new coupe would go to Buick. Introduced in October of 1962 as a 1963 model, the 17-foot-long Buick Riviera rode on a modified Buick Electra frame. The doors were designed to be hung and windows adjusted before the outer skins were applied to allow for proper adjustment and fitting of the frameless side windows.
The Buick Riviera could be upholstered in either vinyl or a leather and vinyl combo. It could comfortably accommodate four passengers. The front seats were buckets with a center stack that housed the radio and separate heating and air conditioning controls. It cascaded down to a center console, shifter, and continued back to house the rear passenger ashtray. The door panels each had a front and rear door handle, allowing the rear-seat passengers to let themselves out without having to trouble passengers in the front seats. The Riviera could be optioned with power windows, power seats, tilt-wheel, air conditioning, cruise control, power door locks, AM/FM radio and automatic trunk release, making it a truly luxurious car.
There were two engine choices for the Buick Riviera. The standard offering was the 401-cubic inch Nailhead V8 that produced 325 horsepower and 445 pound feet of torque. The optional Wildcat 465 V8 displaced 425 cubic inches, cranking out 345 horsepower and an impressive 465 pound-feet of torque.
Resplendent in Arctic White Acrylic Lacquer over Black Vinyl, this highly original 1964 Buick Riviera was just the second year of the new model. It is powered by the 465 V8, backed by the Super Turbine 400 three-speed automatic. It is equipped with factory A/C (converted to 134a), power steering, power brakes, and 15-inch wheel with wire covers. The engine bay is correct and complete. The interior shows light use and few signs of age. The cavernous trunk is ready to pack for an extended road trip. This Buick Riviera is available from RK Motors Charlotte for just $34,900.