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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale WITHOUT RESERVE and SOLD to the highest bidder June 10th – 12th , 2016 at Russo and Steele’s 4th Annual Newport Beach California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Introduced for the 1963 model year, the Buick Riviera is rightfully recognized today as a watershed of automotive design – regardless of the era. Its origins are rooted in the intense Chevrolet Corvette-Ford Thunderbird rivalry of the mid-1950s, during which Ford’s two-seat ‘personal luxury car’ soundly outsold the early Corvettes. The Thunderbird went on to post even higher sales with the enlarged four-seat ‘Square Bird’ of 1958-60, a trend that Bill Mitchell, GM’s newly crowned and formidable design chief, did not take lightly.
Mitchell spied a Rolls-Royce while attending the 1959 London Motor Show at Earls Court. Already a devoted Ferrari enthusiast, Mitchell combine his favorite styling cues from both manufacturers into his Project XP-715 design study, originally conceived as the ‘LaSalle II’ for Cadillac, but turned down and subsequently handed over to Buick as the Riviera. It featured aggressive frontal styling with a clean egg-crate grille as seen on contemporary Pininfarina-designed Ferrari models and the distinctively sharp-edged fenders and roofline reminiscent of the various coach built Rolls-Royce models of the era. While Mitchell had the basic vision for the Riviera, the real design work was largely overseen by Mitchell’s deputy at the GM studios, Ned Nickels. The resulting Riviera was a massive success and defined American luxury for an entire generation.
Initially powered by Buick’s venerable and powerful 401 cubic inch “Nailhead” V-8 engine, steady development applied to the Riviera brought even greater power, performance, and all-around flexibility with the debut of the new 425 cubic-inch V-8 for 1965. Thankfully, the Riviera’s winning design formula remained virtually unchanged, including the car’s signature ‘clamshell’ headlamps. Featuring a recent paint refinish in black over recently retrimmed black upholstery, this 1965 Buick Riviera is a striking example of this true design icon from the celebrated “Mad Men” era of the mid-1960s.