Pick of the Day: 1965 Buick Riviera, personal luxury with Mad Men style

Unique hidden vertical headlights adds more flair to the landmark design

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The Riviera was GM's answer to the Ford Thunderbird

Ford introduced the U.S. to the concept of an American personal luxury coupe with the second generation of the Thunderbird in 1958. GM did not want to be left out of this new segment and wound up creating what might be the finest example of a high-performance personal luxury car in 1963 with the Buick Riviera.

The Pick of the Day is a 1965 Buick Riviera, the third year of the first generation. This can be seen as the finest version of the Riviera, as it is the first model with unique vertical hidden headlights.

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The Riviera is an absolutely stunningly styled car built under the stewardship of Bill Mitchell, and it brings to mind the Mad Men era with an almost James Young razor-edge design. It is very much a European GT car, much more than any other American car of the era. These large luxury cars can cover 0-60 in a bit over 7 seconds and have a top speed of 130 mph.

This Riviera is numbers matching, according to the West Babylon, New York dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com, with factory Verde Green paint and black interior. The car was painted around 20 years ago, the dealer says in the ad, and is in decent condition, though there are some flaws that can be seen in the pictures with the ad.

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The Riviera is fitted with original Buick mag wheels, AM/FM radio, tilt-steering wheel and power antenna. The dealer describes the car as very straight.

Compared with other 1960s American cars, the Riviera and Buicks in general have for some reason always been a great value, often selling for less money than comparable Pontiac, Oldsmobile and even Chevrolet models. The Riviera is different from all other GM products, sharing no body panels with any of them.

These were special cars designed to elevate the entire personal luxury car market and offer strong performance at the same time. This is a car that makes you want to dress up for to drive. They really are that stunning in person.

As time went on, the Riviera was restyled a number of times, some models more successfully than others, but the essence is most perfectly captured in the first-generation.

The asking price of this completely usable 1965 Riviera is $24,500. It’s a great way to celebrate all that was truly exceptional in the U.S. during the early 1960s.

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

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

9 COMMENTS

  1. The Toranado version out off the Olds division had front-wheel-drive. Even better if you like leg room; sitting in one is a strange experience. Huge, but with no transmission hump. Lots of folks wrapped ’em around trees because of FWD oversteer they’d never experienced and too many ponies under the hood.

  2. I can offer you your asking price in “Australian dollars” , and landed in Port Melbourne Australia if interested.
    cheers. Don

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