Car News: The Last Generation of the Buick Riviera

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Car News: The Last Generation of the Buick Riviera
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Video riviera buick 1995

riviera buick 1995

The Buick Riviera, especially the final generation from 1995 to 1999, is a rare sight on the streets today. Once a common sight, this suave personal luxury car is slowly disappearing from our daily lives. In this article, we will explore why the 1995-1999 Buick Riviera had something unique to offer and reminisce about the great and small Rivieras that came before it.

The Art of Expression in Music and Cars

Let’s start with an interesting observation about artistic expression. Just like popular musicians or bands who tend to create their best material early in their careers, car designers also have moments of creative brilliance. The Buick Riviera is no exception. From its inception in 1963, the Riviera made a bold statement with its stunning design, becoming one of the best-styled cars in Detroit’s history.

The Evolution of the Buick Riviera

Throughout its generations, the Riviera continued to captivate with its unique styling. The second-generation Riviera (1966-1970) maintained its inspired design, while the third-generation boattail models (1971-1973) made a bold statement, even if not everyone appreciated it. However, it seems that after the boattail era, the Riviera lost its voice, becoming more uninspired in subsequent generations.

1963 Buick Riviera

1979 Buick Riviera

As the years went by, the Riviera’s design became less compelling. Although the 1979 model marked a comeback of sorts, it lacked the originality of its predecessors. The downsized 1986 Riviera failed to impress, and with the absence of a replacement, the Riviera quietly exited the stage in 1993.

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A New Beginning: The 1995 Buick Riviera

But Buick had other plans. Seeking to revive the Riviera’s legacy, Buick introduced an all-new model in 1995. The 1995 Riviera was built on the G-body platform, sharing it with the Oldsmobile Aurora. Unlike previous generations, the Riviera and Aurora showcased distinctive styling, proving that platform mates could have their own distinct identities.

1995 Buick Riviera

Mechanically, the new Riviera offered a choice between a 205hp standard 3800 V6 or a supercharged 225hp variant, while the Aurora boasted a smaller Cadillac Northstar V8. The ride and handling were competent, making the Riviera a suitable luxury coupe.

Styling and Mixed Opinions

One cannot discuss the 1995 Riviera without addressing its styling. Designed by William L. Porter, the Riviera’s design aimed to be muscular, romantic, and mysterious. The car’s rounded shape and flowing lines, along with its frameless glass and thin b-pillars, gave it an elegant and sleek appearance.

1995 Buick Riviera

It’s worth noting that personal preferences play a significant role in the appreciation of design. While some enthusiasts were captivated by the 1995 Riviera’s unique look, others, like myself, were not as fond of the cab-forward design. The elongated tail combined with the short hood proportions didn’t resonate with those who preferred the traditional long hood/short deck style. Despite personal opinions, there’s no denying that the 1995 Riviera made a statement with its distinctive design.

The Last Hurrah of the Riviera

Like successful comebacks in the music industry, the 1995 Riviera experienced initial success with over 41,000 units sold in its first year. However, sales declined significantly in subsequent years, leading to the end of the Riviera’s production in 1999. Whether due to changing preferences or a lack of resonance with what the Riviera had to say, its final chapter marked the end of an era.

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1995 Buick Riviera

The 1995 Riviera might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it undeniably holds a special place in automotive history. Its unique design, mechanical differentiation, and distinctive presence make it a memorable chapter in the Riviera legacy. Although the band may never reunite, we can appreciate the 1995 Riviera for the statement it made during its brief but impactful existence.

Photographed in Tempe, Arizona June 20, 2022


Q: What was the best generation of the Buick Riviera?

A: The first generation (1963-1965) is widely regarded as the best-styled Riviera, making it one of the most iconic cars to come out of Detroit.

Q: How did the 1995 Riviera differ from its predecessors?

A: The 1995 Riviera introduced a new, distinctive design language that set it apart from previous generations. It was built on the G-body platform and featured a choice between a standard 3800 V6 and a supercharged variant.

Q: Why did the Riviera’s sales decline?

A: Sales of the 1995 Riviera declined after its successful first year, possibly due to changing consumer preferences or a lack of sustained interest in American luxury coupes.


The Buick Riviera’s final generation, particularly the 1995 model, left a distinctive mark on the automotive world. Although opinions on its design may differ, the 1995 Riviera undeniably had something unique to say. As we bid farewell to this iconic luxury coupe, let us cherish the memories it created and appreciate the artistry behind its design.

Related Reading: Curbside Classic: 1995-99 Buick Riviera – Out to Sea.