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Will Buick bring back the Riviera, or the Grand National?


Rob J

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I thought about this off and on after the "Retro" look started hitting the scene. Back when I bought my Retro-TBird, I thought about what each manufacturer could revive.

I was kind of surprised that Ford came out of the gate so quickly with the 'Stang, although it was the obvious choice for their next retro car if they did one again. The TBird was kind of a flop for them because of the price point to be taking another chance so quickly. My guess is focus groups, surveys, etc. pointed them in the right direction.

With Chevy, the Camaro seemed like it had to be their choice although I was pulling for a Nova or Chevelle / Malibu revival. The Camaro has always been a "sporty" car in the looks dept. vs. the Nova and Malibu lines, which had periods of ... blahness.

If it weren't for Olds tanking, I would have thought a new 442 was a shoe-in. RIP =(

I'm was surprised at the GTO. It seems to me they tried to target a larger audience than just the muscle car enthusiasts when they released it. that probably makes sense from a business standpoint, but the new Goat doesn't really bring back any kinds of good memories when I look at it. Perhaps they're leaving room to do a retro Trans-Am or something? I hope so, although I personally like the looks of a '66 or '70 Grand Prix over the Firebirds. I can't see them going retro with a Grand Prix over a Firebird since it doesn't provoke the same "cool" feeling to most people.

I like the Charger and I _really_ like the Challenger. I was thinking about getting rid of the TBird about 10 months ago so I drove the 2010 Plum Crazy Challenger and a 2010 Camaro SS. Neither car came in a convertible at the time so I decided not to trade. If you haven't driven a new Challenger, you should.

Now, for Buick. I have trouble seeing them bring back the Riviera in a "retro" look. I don't think the mass appeal is there. They could, however, bring it back as a luxury sedan. But, is there really room in their line for another big sedan? I wish, but I just don't see it happening, unless they phase something else out.

A retooling of the Grand National I could see. Limited edition, like 2500 - 4000 total for the first run, preorder, etc. I don't think it would take much to start with the original body, change it a little, and have it look modern yet still keep it's soul. If they did it right, I think it could work. Make sure it's faster then the new Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger and show that in the commercials. Make them for only a couple years. I don't know if that makes business sense or not, though.

-BEPNewt

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It would be nice to see the Riviera come back........in the right form whether it be a retro or all new modern design. Maybe they'll bring the Riv back as an electric car like the Volt.:( Maybe they could call it the Riviera Watt.:P

At this point, I'd think Government Motors and the UAW need to focus heavily on making comptetively priced cars that will sell huge numbers and not so much a special niche model.

Rivs or GNs never ever had big sales numbers compared to the more common models and likley that would still hold true if they brought either one back today. Considering the pressure from Ford and the ever increasing Hyundai and Kia, it would seem a niche model might not be a wise investment opportunity for a company taken over by the government.

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Good analysis, Jason.

I could get behind a 2-seater Reatta Electric, for sure. But, that would be a niche-type car since most people need more than 2 seats.

I fear an electric Riviera would end up being ugly. I'd rather them wait until there are a lot more electric cars on the road before rolling out a plug-in Riv. I could handle a full-size electric Riviera convertible...

-BEP

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Unfortunately Jason, I agree with you 100%. I too, think it is doubtful we will see these models back anytime soon, and as you say, it probably would not be good business for GM.

Wishful thinking.

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I'm was surprised at the GTO. It seems to me they tried to target a larger audience than just the muscle car enthusiasts when they released it. that probably makes sense from a business standpoint, but the new Goat doesn't really bring back any kinds of good memories when I look at it. Perhaps they're leaving room to do a retro Trans-Am or something? I hope so, although I personally like the looks of a '66 or '70 Grand Prix over the Firebirds. I can't see them going retro with a Grand Prix over a Firebird since it doesn't provoke the same "cool" feeling to most people.

-BEPNewt

Something like this Trans Am?

7551ef06.jpg

Saw it at Auburn this September - Lingenfelter

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I've been thinking about this for awhile and I've decided that I can't think of a single "Riviera" on the market in the sense that most of us do. The closest thing might be the BMW 6-series but I think that's a strech. There just isn't a mildly performance oriented personal luxury coupe anymore that I can think of. The CTS Coupe I think is a bit too muscle, the Bentley Brooklands too vast, and the 6-series again too muscle. The last one I can think of is the Mercedes S-class Coupe or maybe the CLK.

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What models are you referring to?

Comparing to the more common models like the Special, Skylark, Lesabre, Wildcats and Electras of the late 60s then early 70s. For example in 1970 the

Skylark prodcution was 5 times that of the Riviera. Then models like the Regal, LeSabre, Electra in the late 70s and carrying over into the 80s along with the Century.

In 79 the Regal sales were over 5 times the 52k of the Riv.

I know the mid 80s Rivs had the highest production numbers but nothing compared to the bread and butter car lineup.

I haven't seen production numbers for all Buicks in the 80s & 90s but am assuming the trend in sales ratio was similar to the previous 20 years, then likewise when Rivs made a small comeback from 95-99.

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I don't compare other cars to the Riv unless they also fit in the "Personal Luxury" category..

Regardless it's no different than what they have been doing for years, when they finally get something right they quit making it... ie: 87 GN

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To me GM has killed any flagship name associated with a Legacy...err or is it Legend. The names of the cars used to mean something and carried such an elegant tone to them. Not anymore - I guess I just don't fit in the demographics of who they are marketing cars for. What actually does CTS stand for? Is that something like C3PO or R2D2...lol

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cars just don't say anything when you look at them anymore. I'm 64 and back in the 50s & 60s everyone went to the dealers to just look at how they looked. Every car said something. Engines were the main thing. you knew what engine was in the car by looking at the badge on the fender or grille, or by the color of the badge. I remember going over to the Buick dealer and looking at the 65 Rivieras and then over to Pontiac and going off over the new 65 GTO tri-power with 4 speed. then came the Big Block Chevys in 66 427/425 Corvette. Some how that Red 65 Riviera stayed in my head all these years. They sure did look good, and they still do. P. S. I have a black 64 Riviera that I'm having fun with now. But that damn red 65, I can see it now, can you see it too. Red out / White inside.

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I'm the same age and I can remember what you're talking about. I still have visions of the first '63 Riviera I saw. It wasn't even on the floor yet. It was under a car cover in the back of the dealership waiting for that night when all the dealerships would unveil their new cars to the public. That car was Spruce Green with Silver leather. That memory is permanently etched on my retinas. I have a black w/ white leather '63 and a diplomat blue w/ blue vinyl '64, both beautiful, but that Spruce Green car still haunts me. At that time I was only 15 but it impressed me enough that I went out and bought a 1/25 model of the '63 and painted to match what I'd seen. I still have the model, but repainted it to match my black '63 when I acquired it in '82.

Ed

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