Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Car Pr0n #39

I was momentarily stumped when trying to come up with today's car. My first thought was towards some of the cars I had as a young man, like the 1986 GTI that I bought right out of college (so I could give my Buick to my sister, who promptly killed it).

Then I thought about this:


1965 Buick Riviera GS

The Riviera was always a funny model. Neither fish nor fowl, it had the whole "Jekyll and Hyde" thing going on. It didn't know if it wanted to be a luxury car or a muscle car, so it tried to straddle both worlds. Ford did it with the Thunderbird for a long while, after bloating it from a two-seater in the early part of the '50s to the gigantor models in the '70s.

The Riviera also followed a spectacular path, too. Hitting the market in the early 1960s as the displacement wars got in full swing, it started out with two motors available: a 400 CI plant, and a 425 CI plant. Neither are small in any sense of the word. The Riviera bloated in the '70s until it was downsized, and switched to front wheel drive as the decade of disco ground to a close. Downsized again in the mid-'80s as rear-drive all but died out, it spent the next decade or so languishing as a squishy, floaty, grotesquely underpowered shell of its former self.

Then, as happens many times, especially when talking about General Motors, the car underwent a renaissance only to be killed off a few years later. They introduced the supercharged 3.8L V6 into the Riviera, eventually giving the smaller, lighter late-'90s Riviera more horsepower than the 455 CI plant in the mid-'70s. And then they killed it, much like they killed the Cadillac Allanté in the mid-'90s right after finally getting it right with the Northstar V8...

Leave it to Government Motors to, yet again, screw up a good thing...

That is all.

5 comments:

Craig (Cam) said...

Late 80's I bought two 455 Buick bullet-backs for $200. Swapped parts until I had a coherent whole. 10 MPG city, 22 highway. After blueprinting the engine, MPG went to 15 city, 29 highway. Favorite moment - convertible Mercedes trying to force its way into a merge through intimidation. I held up a sign I had pre-printed: "4,800 lbs, 500 ft-lbs torque, $200. Who's gonna win, Commander?"

Flubnut said...

It's Dalton's car! From the movie Road House! I'd know those clamshell headlights anywhere. His was a POS, but this one: http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2647/861/31615430010_large.jpg

Oh my.

Old NFO said...

Yep, but it's amazing the number of restored ones you see today... :-) And they are STILL boats!!!

Chris in TX said...

OOOH yes. My local Buick/Caddy dealer kept an original '63 Riviera, in silver, on the showroom floor (this was in the late '90's) just to bring in passers-by. Walked past that car at age 16, I fell in love. Clean lines, so graceful- looking in silver.

He'd occasionally swap it out for a maroon '72 boattail Riv. that was also a beauty.

emdfl said...

Back in the wild days of my mis-spent yoot - when I was playing with punched up four's(4-barreled carb, bored out to 180 ci, headers and zero clearance on the head to block) in Vega's, I ran into a guy you had pulled the FWD out of a Riviera and was stuffing it into the back end of a Vega station wagon...