Director's Message

Happy 50th Birthday Riviera
by Jim Wright # 2, President, Board of Trustees,

This year we celebrate the Golden Birthday of the Riviera which was announced and available in 1962, but 1963 was the start of something very special.  We've come a long way from Bill Mitchell's view of a Rolls Royce in London that sparked a flame in his mind of a new car not shared by any other GM division.  It's interesting to watch the morphing of the XP-715 to a Cadillac LaSalle, to what was eventually presented to the public as the Riviera.  The Riviera, like so many of us, really had its origins in Europe and formed in Mitchell's mind into an American classic, thank you to the coach makers of Great Britain.

Over 1.1 million of our Riviera's were produced from 1963 to 1999 and consisted of 8 distinct generations that are all part of this Association.  Each body style has great appeal to collectors and will continue to garner interest from the public.  I think the sum of the design of Bill Mitchell hit home with me in 1999 when I was parked in Lake Havasu City (near London Bridge).   A group of five or six people were standing near my 85 convertible (top down) and looking it over, one of them asked "How do you like your Rolls Royce?", I was tempted to say that it was adequate, but told them that it was a Riviera. One of the group said they assumed it was a Rolls because of the "R" on each taillight and the cutting lines of the car, what a compliment to Billy and his designers!

Although the candles on the cake were blown out in 1999, let's hope that just one of those candles were the trick type that keeps re-lighting.

Thanks to the Designers
by Ray Knott #1, Director/ Editor,

We are well aware of the names most often associated with the production of the Riviera over the years People such as Bill Mitchell, GM’s Chief Design Chief,  Ned Nickles Buick’s Chief Designer, George Moon interior design chief, designer Dave Holls, who sparked the design of the 66-70s, Bill Porter  an Interior Designer Chief, and our own Dennis Manner an engine designer,  to name a few. However we all know that it takes more than one person to design all the aspects of an automobile.  I was honored to be invited to the unveiling of the “all new” ’95 models in Atlanta years ago. I had the opportunity to meet many people who were  responsible for various aspects of the new design. From frame, engine, exhaust, body, right down to the comfortable seats. These were people who contributed their part and never get the credit.  It is to these unnamed men and women, whose ideas over the years were incorporated by the chiefs and team leaders to bring us the final product. They deserved our deepest thanks for a job well done!

This special issue is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Riviera with a focus on the first year’s model. Board President Jim Wright in his message and Bill Anderson in his At Random series lay out the car’s history. 1963 Tech Advisor Jim Cannon identified the many changes that took place during the first year.  We also included showcase features on three owners and their cars, each slightly different, but  all treasured  and enjoyed.  We hope you will enjoy the result.


Back to ROA

Notice: BUICK and RIVIERA are trademarks of GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION used with permission. The Riviera Owners Association is independent and not affiliated with GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION or its BUICK MOTORS DIVISION    —Copyright 2007 Riviera Owners Association—