(Found In) Anchor Cove (Mendocino County, California): 1972 Buick Riviera Coupe

14600620135_c3e1480c4f_hThe Buick Riviera, once a stand-alone model, traded more often than not on visual drama to draw in customers. The most unique, exquisite of Buicks offerings for the better part of the 1960’s offered opulence and decadence in a nearly bespoke as possible package for a mass production car.

Although this worked brilliantly for the first generation cars, it made life incrementally tougher on the 2nd generation cars as the market moved away from the most premium personal coupes towards everyday luxury offerings like the Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Change was afoot for all three of General Motor’s most princely private spaces, but the Riviera would continue to make the most splendid splash at trying things sporting and different.
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(Found In) Northbrae (Berkeley, California) : 1954 Buick Century Series 60 Riviera Hardtop Coupe

24491960910_e9746b5df3_kOnce Buick engineered their Nailhead V8, they weren’t happy with letting their competitors in-house and beyond have the performance crown. Buicks were once known as Banker’s Hot Rods. Returning for 1954 was the quicksilver Century, ready to snatch trophies from in house cousin the Oldsmobile 88, among others.

Along with accessible performance came a new beefier body, and a desire to capture even more sales. On the backs of the B-Body Special and Century, Buick wanted more than the delinquents in suits, it wanted to rob the whole medium price sales bank. In a number of ways they did.
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(Found In) Visitacion Valley (San Francisco): 1965 Buick Riviera

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The Buick Riviera was already sort of a legend as it rolled off assembly lines for the 3rd season of production. The crisp, clean lines that married Bill Mitchell’s vision of Ferrari meets Rolls Royce had seduced a diverse cross section of discriminating buyers. Where direct rival, the Ford Thunderbird, promoted a more inviting, welcoming and decadent private world; the Riviera promoted hushed exclusivity that doubled up on the Buick brand cachet.

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco) – 1958 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop Coupe

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There’s plenty that can be said about the 1958 Buick models. This is a given, given how much actual car each 1958 Buick actually is. The massive visual presence of these cars signify the last hurrah of the visual weight that was common with General Motors styling under the leadership of Harley Earl.

Bemoaned for their bric-a-brac at the time, they serve as perfect portraits into the late 1950’s zeitgeist of flash and flamboyance today. No shrinking violet (and how could they truly be?) for better or worse, they’re perfect totems to rampant corporate confidence and the hubris that often brings. Continue reading “(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco) – 1958 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop Coupe”