Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1970 Buick Riviera
The name Riviera, Latin for coastline, was chosen to evoke the allure and affluence of the French Riviera. It first entered the Buick line in 1949, as the designation for the new two-door pillarless hardtop, described in advertising as "stunningly smart". The Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe (along with the Cadillac Coupe de Ville and Oldsmobile 98 Holiday coupe) constituted the first mass production use of this body style, which was to become extremely popular over the next 30 years.
Back in 1970, gas was cheap, and status was determined by the inch, so with this being known, the 1970 Riviera could well be the car that stated you have arrived. Large Coke bottle sides, and even larger front and rear lids, it was never ending stylishness right down to the resurrection of the swoop spear, all be it in very thin presentation. The large drive shaft turning the 455ci engine, and enough room to create and sustain a family of 4 plus, and we are rolling in style in this turn of the decade example of the Riviera.
The 1970 Riviera was restyled. Featuring now exposed quad headlamps that were nearly flush-mounted, all the while the new front bumper wrapped around and over the new vertical bar grille, set between the headlamp pods. The ubiquitous side spear trim feature accents this large coupe's flowing lines. Skirted rear wheels were standard with exposed wheels an option. At the rear, a new rear bumper/taillight motif is seen. In-between we have fairly straight steel panels bathed in Sea Mist Green that shows some chipping, scratches and slight dulling. There have been a few minor kerfuffle's with unmovable objects, most noteworthy on the rear tip of the passenger quarter, and the fender skirt is peeled of some paint. A dark green vinyl top adds some contrast to this exterior and shows in good condition, with just a few small tears on it. Chrome is pitted a bit, badging is all there, and bumpers show some fading in curved areas. Rally style Buick wheel covers are attached to all 4 corners.
Swinging the large door panels, we see a mixture of wood appliqu, green vinyl panels, and shiny handles. Also noted are power window toggles, and on the driver's side door pull, some gaffers tape for a quick fix. Upfront the 70's square and rectangle dash breaks up into several sections and has a lower inward curved wood appliqu for knobs and switches. This appliqu has cracking and crazing, and the plastic trimmings looking much like chrome are wavy and have some corrosion and chipping. A padded dash top in green is above and shows no cracks or fading. In front of the dash are 2 large bucket styled seats, that upon closer inspection are more like a bench. Save for the split backs with a large centrally located armrest, the seat in green tuck and roll vinyl stretches from door to door. Big headrests are on top of these "bucket" backs. In back is a very well-preserved rear seat also with tuck and roll. Green slightly faded and soiled carpet floods the floors, and above is a green vinyl headliner nice and tight with a few spots showing throughout. In the trunk is some dry rotted felting liner and areas worn, and some surface rust in the front of the trunk floor.
The numbers matching 455ci V8 fits snugly into the original engine bay. This red blocked and valve covered big boy has a 4-barrel carburetor on top in Rochester carburetor style, and an ST400 3-speed automatic transmission on back. The rear axle taps out at 10 inches and holds 2.78 gears.
Peering underneath, some light surface rust covers most surfaces, but the frame, floor pans and rockers remain sturdy and invasive rust free. It appears as though a more recent fuel tank has been put on replacing the original, and in front independent coil springs are the suspension, and in the rear are 4 link with coil springs. Power disc brakes are reserved for the front, and power drum brakes are on the rear.
Slipping inside this big piece of Detroit iron, I felt as though I owned the world, if not just the road. She fired right up and idled smoothly. A flick to "D" and I was off in a cloud of dust. It has good acceleration thanks to the 4 barrel and handles nicely with its low to the ground stance. A smooth cruiser, and the brakes grabbed nicely. All functions were functioning well. Overall a comfy big ride feels.
A few dents and dings, some dulling, and an original 455ci V8 this survivor from the pre gas crisis era can propel you into the upper echelon of society, all the while floating you down the highways and byways of the great outdoors. And it does it with a touch of Sea Mist Green...envy.
87-2 Door Hardtop
H-Flint, MI Assy Plant
931881-Sequential Unit Number
ST 70 49487-1970 Riviera 2 Door Hardtop
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