213 Thornton Rd
Lithia Springs, GA
Lithia Springs, GA
The heyday of the Riviera has finally arrived. For those of us who love these cars, we've known for years that machines like this 1971 Buick Riviera Boat-Tail have been almost criminally under-valued. That's changing, and once you see the extent of the preservation, the quality of the care spent on it since new, and the long list of features in this gentleman's muscle car, you'll understand why these are very special cars indeed.
Despite many American cars starting to decline in the early '70s, the Riviera was just getting started. Radically redesigned from the previous iterations, the 3rd generation Riviera road the wave of the all-new, dramatically styled cars that would go on to define the decade. Under the tutelage of GM legend Bill Mitchell, Jerry Hirshberg took inspiration from the vaunted 1963 split-window Corvette and incorporated a vee-butted, fastback rear window onto the Riviera's platform. The result if the "Boat-Tail" that many enthusiasts believe the is the best-looking Buick of the bunch. Originally Code 11 Arctic White, a former owner made the wise decision to upgrade this big coupe to a shade similar to the Fire Red that was offered in 1971. With how dynamic the car looks in person, it's hard to argue that the color-change wasn't an upgrade, and the work was done right as there are no signs of the former color. It's an older paint job, and a car that looks this good has obviously been driven and enjoyed, but it still presents very well as a higher-end driver, especially with that slick black vinyl rook providing a nice contrast. For many years, the values on these cars meant that restorations were rarely done properly and you almost never saw the well-cared for through the decades. That's definitely not the case here, with straight bodywork, an attractive finish with a deep shine, and good panel fit throughout. It's not a perfect showpiece, but you're going to have to look pretty hard to see the flaws and touch-ups. The shape is as striking today as it was 50 years ago, conveying a sense of power and competence without resorting to stripes and wings. No, this is a car for grown-ups, but you don't have to be shy to own it, because you're going to get A LOT of attention. The chrome is in good order, with massive bumpers fore and aft and polished brightwork found throughout, and that unique baleen-like front grille is really an awesome design feature for the '71 model.
The beautiful white interior appears to be a combination of preserved and restored components, with the previous owners using correct patterns and materials when they were needed over time, and it's always cool to see buckets and a console in a full-sized luxury car. The dash would set the pace for Buick for the next decade and this car is loaded with options including cool factory A/C (with R134a refrigerant that could use a little extra freon), a tilt wheel, power windows, and an upgraded retro-style AM/FM/AUX stereo inside the stock slot. Factory gauges inside a machine-turned bezel keep an eye on the 455 under the hood, and the three-spoke steering is an original piece that includes the same woodtrim found in the center console and door panels. The middle console is a welcomed piece that keeps the look sporty up front, and we have to say this might be the coolest shifter ever. Plush black carpets insulate the floors, the perforated headliner might be original and is still in great shape, and even the rear package tray has survived largely unscathed further proof that this Riv has lived an easy life all these years. Out back, the absolutely cavernous trunk is neatly finished with black carpets and has enough room to accommodate almost any traveler.
That's a powerful 455 cubic inch V8 under the hood, which Buick initially rated at a stout 315HP out of the box. But with EPA looming large over all the big automakers, lower compression rates and emissions standards choked the motor down to around 255HP, although performance is still quite brisk even in the elongated 3rd generation Riv. It makes the big Riv feel fast when it needs to be, but it's effortlessly smooth under all circumstances and just ignores the drag of things like A/C and power steering. Dante Red paint on the block gives it a traditional Buick look and the proper '455' decal on the snorkeled air cleaner lets everyone know right away that this Riv can handle itself if it needs to. It appears to be almost entirely stock, including the big Rochester 4-barrel carburetor that replaced the dual quads when the 425-inch V8 was dropped a couple years before. Factory exhaust manifolds feed a mellow-sounding dual exhaust system which uses chambered mufflers for a throaty, factory rumble up-and-down the throttle. The TH400 3-speed automatic transmission was the only option, but you already know it's indestructible, and the beefy 10-bolt rear end houses highway-friendly gears and the addition
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