The first generation of the Buick Riviera was developed specifically to compete with the Ford Thunderbird, a luxurious grand touring coupe with elegant styling, seating for four adults, and a prodigious American V8 under the hood. Buick had previously used the Riviera name on vehicles back in the 1940s but a standalone Riviera model was first released in 1962 as a 1963 model year vehicle.
The First Generation Buick Riviera
Unusually for Buick, the Riviera had an entirely unique bodyshell unrelated to any other vehicles, platform sharing to lower costs was (and still is) commonplace, however it was felt that an all-new design was going to be needed to take the fight to the Thunderbird.
The Riviera had elegant styling that was developed to ensure that even non-car people would be able to recognise the shape. This was the same tactic employed widely and with varied success in the automobile industry, notable successes