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john2dameron

Your favorite and least favorite facelifts.

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I've been thinking about one of Chevrolet's all-time best facelifts that no one has mentioned; the '53 to '54. With a new grille and parking lights and tail lights they turned the ugly duckling into a swan. However, I don't understand what Chevy and Pontiac did in '53-'54 to deserve that awful looking c-pillar with the reverse slant on their 2-door hardtop. It was awful and gets worse IMO.

Edited by john2dameron
typo (see edit history)

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I agree with Dave on most of what he said, but I also think the Studebaker Lark facelift from '63 to '64 was genius and done on a shoestring, although it looks like a totally different car.

I think the GM midsize cars were made more handsome in the '81 model year, than the '80...some streamlining and such did wonders IMHO. Too bad that was offset by declining quality control and the introduction of the on-board emissions computer!

On the negative side, I think most cars were introduced with their best styling, and for the second or third year were simply changed for the sake of change, but not improved. Examples fresh in my mind are all the '65 full-size GM cars, which I think got less stylish in '66 (although still pretty). Also, I know a strike kept the '73 GM midsize cars from coming out in '72, but I don't think I'd ever been as disappointed in a new model as when I saw the '72 Chevelle. All they did was put in a half-baked grille with no bowtie emblem, replacing the handsome two-tier grille of the '71 Chevelle, and replace the twin parking lights on each side with one big lens.

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The facelifted '68 Buick Riviera did not do any justice to the beautiful original '66 design. In my opinion, the sleek '66 Riviera is one of the glamourous cars of the decade with near perfect proportions. Seems like someone with a heavy hand took some sand paper and sanded down the sharp lines of the '66 front fenders, replaced the elegantly detailed front end of the '66 with a ponderous grill/bumper combo with chrome plating galore to make a '68.

Edited by 827GFZ73 (see edit history)

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The facelifted '68 Buick Riviera did not do any justice to the beautiful original '66 design. In my opinion, the sleek '66 Riviera is one of the glamourous cars of the decade with near perfect proportions. Seems like someone with a heavy hand took some sand paper and sanded down the sharp lines of the '66 front fenders, replaced the elegantly detailed front end of the '66 with a ponderous grill/bumper combo with chrome plating galore to make a '68.

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The first Riviera (the hardtop) on the Roadmaster was 1949. The first series of the car known as Riviera begins in 1963 and goes to 1965. The 65 is the most sought out because it resembles the Silver Arrow pre production show car (because of the hideaway stacked headlamps)custom built for Bill Mitchell in 1962. The most interesting thing about the 63-65 Riviera was that GM conceived the car for Cadillac known as a revisited "LaSalle", but because Buick sales were down GM gave the body to Buick.

Don

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The first Riviera (the hardtop) on the Roadmaster was 1949. The first series of the car known as Riviera begins in 1963 and goes to 1965. The 65 is the most sought out because it resembles the Silver Arrow pre production show car (because of the hideaway stacked headlamps)custom built for Bill Mitchell in 1962. The most interesting thing about the 63-65 Riviera was that GM conceived the car for Cadillac known as a revisited "LaSalle", but because Buick sales were down GM gave the body to Buick.

Don

My comment was in reference to the second series or generation of the Riviera (1966-1970). As far as the first series Riviera (1963-1965) is concerned, I concur with Don that the '65 is a desirable year as a facelifted car. The hideaway stacked headlamps behind the twin "LaSalle grill" pods were originally intended to appear on the '63 models, but could not be engineered in time for production. In addition, the revised '65 with the ribbed rocker panels and the insertion of the taillights into the rear bumper did not disturb the styling of the original '63. So in this case, the '65 facelift did not mess up the original '63.

In regards to the '49 Roadmaster Riviera, that is a whole different story. It was basically a model name for a new hardtop bodystyle that was shared with the Cadillac Coupe deVille and Oldsmobile Holiday for 1949. However, the name "Riviera" was not even held sacred as a synonym for hardtops in the early fifties, as Buick elected to name some 4-door sedans "Riviera".

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The facelifted '68 Buick Riviera did not do any justice to the beautiful original '66 design. In my opinion, the sleek '66 Riviera is one of the glamourous cars of the decade with near perfect proportions. Seems like someone with a heavy hand took some sand paper and sanded down the sharp lines of the '66 front fenders, replaced the elegantly detailed front end of the '66 with a ponderous grill/bumper combo with chrome plating galore to make a '68.

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The reason I thought you thought the 66 was the first Riv. was the words above of "original" I thought you meant first. Interesting to viewers of this post would be the 70 Riv. This car could be had in two configurations; one with skirts and a special side sweep molding ( which I thought was the only way it came originally ) and two, without side molding and uses rear wheel house molding. a much more sporty looking car compared to the skirted model.

I another twist, the 73 Riv. looks better than the 71-72 model in my opinion. The reason being the rear tail/bumper was flattened out. Those cars done in the right color and interior and Buick chromies are sharp, a full size stingray!

Don

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the facelift that disappointed me was the job that VW did on the bug for 1967. the headlights were ugly as can be and the engine cover.... what can I say.... it was downhill from that point. the 1966 bug was the peak of style for VW.

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I was retagging photos in my collection today and when I pulled up a photo of a 1956 Hudson Hornet I felt like throwing up. The 1955 Hudson was not a favorite of mine but it was alright but the 1956 has to be the worst facelift ever. The worst new style ever would be a tie between the '57 Lincoln and the '57 Packard.

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the facelift that disappointed me was the job that VW did on the bug for 1967. the headlights were ugly as can be and the engine cover.... what can I say.... it was downhill from that point. the 1966 bug was the peak of style for VW.

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Actually changing the fenders for the new style headlamps was not something VW sought to do. That was U.S. regulations. This was for the new style headlight aim machines used in many states inspection programs. It was not only VW but Porsche and Jaguar. The XKE really looks weird compared to the sleek models before. The idiots who made the law didn't understand the thought behind the design of the old type, and that theory was if you got hit with a stone it would damage the glass cover but your headlamps would still work. IMO the best looking VW was the VW30's of 1937 that Mercedes made for Porsche for testing before the final VW body was decided on. 30 of them made, one survived the order to destroy the prototypes.

Don

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...The worst new style ever would be a tie between the '57 Lincoln and the '57 Packard.

I don't think the '57 Packard counts (definitely not a facelift and not a re-style of a an existing Packard line). It was a re-badged Studebaker (Packardbaker).

Edited by JD in KC
spelling, clarification (see edit history)

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I don't think the '57 Packard counts (definitely not a facelift and not a re-style of a an existing Packard line). It was a re-badged Studebaker (Packardbaker).

...but it was a facelift of an existing design.

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JC, note I did not call the '57 Packard a facelift but I said it was a NEW style. It's a shame what Studebaker did to Packard operations AND Packard styling.

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This is an interesting discussion. I have been following it for a while. My two cents worth is this. I am surprised nobody has mentioned the '61 to '62 Lincolns. I always thought that was one of the all time best updates, and it started with a drop dead beautiful car in the '61. The worst to me was the '67 to '68 Olds Toronado. I feel the stylists had a real losing proposition there. They started with one of the most beautifully styled cars ever and were charged with trying to change it. No surprise it did not work out well IMHO.

Eric

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I another twist, the 73 Riv. looks better than the 71-72 model in my opinion. The reason being the rear tail/bumper was flattened out. Those cars done in the right color and interior and Buick chromies are sharp, a full size stingray!

Don

Thanks Don, for your observations on the boattail Rivieras. There was a beautiful '73 Riviera GS Stage 1 in Burnt Coral with a Saddle color interior that was sold at the Art Astor Collection by RM Auctions for $20,900. in 2008. Pix attached below. The '73 Riv does have a beefier look to it with the fed bumper up front.

The '71-'72 Rivieras with the pointed, leaning front end and hooded headlights do resemble the front end of the full-size 1965 Chevrolets which in itself is not too bad since the '65 Impala Sport Coupes are one of the prettiest Chevies ever made. However, it is just uncharacteristically B-U-I-C-K. in my opinion.

-Joe

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post-72893-143138508869_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Don, for your observations on the boattail Rivieras. There was a beautiful '73 Riviera GS Stage 1 in Burnt Coral with a Saddle color interior that was sold at the Art Astor Collection by RM Auctions for $20,900. in 2008. Pix attached below. The '73 Riv does have a beefier look to it with the fed bumper up front.

The '71-'72 Rivieras with the pointed, leaning front end and hooded headlights do resemble the front end of the full-size 1965 Chevrolets which in itself is not too bad since the '65 Impala Sport Coupes are one of the prettiest Chevies ever made. However, it is just uncharacteristically B-U-I-C-K. in my opinion.

-Joe

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Joe, a few years back at one of our local car show a 73 Riv. showed up. A factory correct red exterior- no vinyl roof, white/parchment interior 3/4 white walls on Buick chrome steel mags. That car had a crowd around it all day. What a stunner. Thanks for the picture in your post. So many great cars - so little room - so little time.

Don

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