Many in the automotive world were shocked when in 2009 GM announced it would close four of its eight brands. Even more shocking was a decision to keep the Buick brand alive. It was an open secret that Buick vehicles had grown less and less competitive with bland styling and stale performance.
Yet three years later Buick is back, having had a lot of success with its turnaround plans as several new products infused excitement back into the brand. Now comes word from GM Inside News that the General is trademarking the Riviera name, perhaps setting up a comeback from one of Buick’s most legendary cars.
Introduced in 1963 as a “personal luxury car”, the Buick Riviera was an odd duck in that it was one of the only GM products that did not share its bodyshell with another GM vehicle. Up until 1979 the Riviera utilized rear-wheel drive, solidifying its stance as part luxury barge, part performance car, and engines as big as 455 cubic-inches.
We don’t expect GM to make a triumphant return to carbureted big-blocks anytime soon, a rear-drive Riviera could be in the cards for Buick. The Buick Regal GS with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has already found plenty of fans, and a rear-driver Riviera based on the Cadillac ATS platform could make Buick even more appealing for people looking for a comfortable-yet-fun driving experience. GM introduced a Riviera concept back in 2009, though nothing ever became of it…though that was the same year GM declared bankruptcy. Perhaps the General is finally getting around to some much-delayed products, and there’s always a hope that the LS3 engine found in the Camaro might make its way into the Buick lineup.
While nothing is set in stone, a we think a rear-drive Riviera would be a welcome addition to the Buick lineup. What say you?