Buick's early '70s Riviera, AKA "the boat-tail Riv" was a dramatic
design that sparked love-hate debates all through the automotive
world. And for what it's worth, we're definitely on the 'love it'
team, even though early in this car's reign things were a bit
lonely for guys that shared our opinion of the 3rd generation Rivs.
But as this 1973 Buick Riviera so ably demonstrates, there's always
a way to improve a great thing. With a stunning paint job, big
block motivation, and a luxurious custom interior, this is
full-sized classic car luxury with a unique twist.
When the all-new Riviera hit the streets in 1971, there was simply
nothing else like it. Combining styling cues from the past (that
sweep-spear styling), a rear window reminiscent of the C2 Corvette
coupe, and major big car comfort, it was the perfect way to usher
in the swinging '70s. So how do you make an icon even more iconic?
How about the stunning paint job this car wears? Finished in a
head-turning, vivid Blue Metallic color that was applied over some
very clean bodywork, it's a beautiful shade of blue that perfectly
coats the stylistic flanks of this Buick and offers a surface so
interesting you almost can't resist touching it. There's plenty of
metallic in the finish, so it truly glows, and the closer you get,
the more interesting it becomes, especially when this beauty is out
in the sunshine. There was definitely an artist at work here. All
the sweeping side trim and rocker panel moldings were retained and
polished, and the shiny brightwork complements the dramatic paint
perfectly. Oversized bumpers fore and aft turned overbearing '70s
DOT regulations into slick styling cues, the front grille is as
sharp as a razor, and the chrome side mirrors look like they were
borrowed from a Shelby Cobra and add an aggressive look to this big
coupe. Man, this thing is slick!
The interior is just as stylish as the exterior, mostly keeping to
the factory recipe with a few upgrades that add an exclamation
point to the cabin. There's custom white leather upholstery with
blue piping on the 60/40 split front bench seat, and it's matched
by the practically untouched rear seat. The white and blue
combination works well in the car, tying in with the bodywork and
still looking upscale enough for the Riv. Plush blue carpets with
matching mats offer some contrast and the original-style door
panels were accented with the same shade of blue and remain in
great condition overall. A thick 3-spoke wood and leather rimmed
steering wheel warms up the interior and works well with the
dashboard, which is very driver-centric, putting all the controls
right at the driver's fingertips. Options include factory A/C with
R134a refrigerant, power windows and locks, a center console, and a
tilt steering column, so this luxurious Riv more than lives up to
its reputation. The original AM/FM radio remains in the dash and
unbelievable still works, there's an air-craft inspired shifter for
the automatic transmission inside the center console, and a trio of
white-faced auxiliary gauges were installed under the dash to help
monitor the big block up front. Out back, the trunk is as
decked-out as the cabin, with a matching blue carpets and a
leather-trimmed spare tire cover that matches the seat upholstery.
Bottom-line, nothing was overlooked during the restoration of this
'boat-tail', and it definitely shows.
Buick's 455 cubic inch V8 still made prodigious torque in 1973 and
despite the rumors of horsepower's demise, the Riv moves like it
weighs 500 pounds less than it does. It's neatly detailed with
bright valve covers, a matching open-element air cleaner, chrome
alternator, an HEI ignition, and fresh belts and hoses so it's
ready to rumble with a flick of the key. It's extremely clean,
suggesting that someone has both taken good care of the car and
spent a lot of money on it recently, and it's a fantastic runner
with bulletproof reliability. A TH400 3-speed automatic was the
only choice in 1973 and it feeds a 12-bolt rear end with highway
gears inside that make the Buick a superlative highway cruiser. A
soft suspension with updated hardware gives it that long, low
stance and the dual exhaust uses chambered mufflers for a fantastic
soundtrack that attracts a lot of attention. Power steering and
power front disc brakes ensure a great ride each time out, and help
the driver manage all that heavy metal with leisurely two-finger
precision. Chrome 18-inch wheels are fitted with 235/50/18 front
and 255/55/18 rear performance radials for an updated look that
works perfectly with the custom paint.
We know this car wasn't always everyone's cup of tea, but with this
slick new makeover, it's like it's had a whole new lease on life.
Don't be the last to figure out just how cool these boat-tails
really are, call today!