Bold-boattail 1973 Buick Riviera in low-mileage original condition

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Buick Riviera
The Buick Riviera's roofline tapers all the way to the rear bumper

The luxurious Buick Riviera was an immediate hit when it arrived for the 1963 model year as GM’s response to the four-seater Ford Thunderbird, with evocative Euro-styling that’s still highly appealing today. 

GM’s design chief Bill Mitchell wanted to recapture that magic with the dramatic ’71 model, created by Jerry Hirschberg (later Nissan’s head of design), who accentuated the stretched-out body style with a boldly tapering roofline that extended to a near-point at the middle of the back bumper, with an almost-horizontal rear window. 

Buick Riviera
The Buick Riviera has been lowered over its factory rally wheels

Naturally, it was nicknamed the Boattail, a retro reference harking back to sporty pre-war cars, exemplified by the iconic Auburn Boattail Speedster. The Riviera’s front was kind of pointy, too, while chrome trim along its flanks outlined the curvaceous styling. 

Riviera’s new look continued only through 1973. Although the boattail styling appears intriguing today, it was not a big success at the time, with Mitchell opining that perhaps it was too extreme for the buying public. 

The Pick of the Day is a 1973 Buick Riviera described as an all-original preserved survivor with just over 35,000 miles on its odometer and in “excellent condition inside and out.” 

Buick Riviera
The Riviera has gone just over 35,000 miles

“This Riviera Boat Tail is stunning and original!” according to the West Babylon, New York, dealer advertising the Buick on ClassicCars.com.  “So clean and runs like a dream.” 

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As if the Riviera wasn’t audaciously sprawling enough, the previous owner lowered the suspension to make it even wilder looking, the seller says: “Lowered on lowering springs, could easily be brought back to stock height, but why? It looks great!”

The Burnt Coral Irid paint is in fine condition, and the white interior is in beautiful shape, the seller adds, with full power features and the original radio with a working 8-track tape player, although a custom sound system with Bluetooth has been added.  The car sits on Coker classic whitewall tires fitted to factory Buick rally wheels.

Buick Riviera
The Buick’s interior looks fresh, and even the 8-track works

Power is provided by the original 455cid big-block V8 and automatic transmission. Despite the massive size of the Riviera, it should still move out nicely with that torque monster under its hood.  

One of the most stylish cars of its day, the Riviera is priced at $24,900 for this well-kept survivor.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Beautiful Vehicle
    Do you have anymore photos ?
    Do you have original purchase sales info. ?
    Body, Engine & Interiors photos ?
    Where is the car located presently ?

    • Thank you for all these editorials I really love Ray in each and every day. This car looks a real goer and in very nice condition thanks for spotting it

  2. Mr. Golden, Are you interested in trading for a 1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon , 49xxx original ALL OPTION LT1 350 , ice cold air, New tires & battery , Burgundy w/ burgundy leather interior , power front seats , twilight sentinel, premium sound factory CD , power mirrors,windows , still has factory carpet protective plastic on third row seating , moonroof w/ dual shades , all eyes on at car shows ! Fantastic load leveling system ( factory equipment) drive anywhere in total comfort ! Just back from Ohio & Oklahoma . Service records available.

  3. Maybe, but for a collector, only the 1971 1972 will do. Front and rear are changed, dashboard isn’t as dramatic. 1971 is really the best, with the trunk louvers

  4. SWEET!!! We used to own a ’71’ Navy Blue GS w/white interior…
    I was so disappointed when my parents traded it in for a Lincoln Town Car simply because of experiencing issues with the radiator, as I was hoping I was going to get my hands on it…
    Ahhhh, the dreams of teens:)

  5. I remember in the summer of ’71, myself and 5 other friends were on the way to the beach in a friend’s family Ford wagon, not to be misunderstood, it had the 390 and held it’s own on that July long weekend. All of a sudden this bright, candy apple red flash, whooshed by, all we could see was the torpedo shaped rear window, ever so briefly because this Buick Riviera was towing a boat and passing everything on sight… without breaking a sweat. I swore then and there Iz’d have one of those before my time on this rock was up. Had just about every type of vehicle but this much desired vehicle (I’ve owned 3 Corvettes ’96, ’02, and ’04, 2 Thunderbird hardtop deluxe, Millenium Editions and Mercedes Benz SL500, I love cars).

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