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1st Gen Riv innovations


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True or false. 1st generation Rivs were the first to introduce:

1. Printed Circuit Board for Dash instruments/lighting.

2. Ribbon cable (flat plane conductors)

3. Frameless side windows (for a mass production car)


Tom K

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I don't know if the above are "firsts".


I do know that the use of a polymer sealant on the windshield glass and the back window glass were a first. Prior to this, rubber gaskets were used on cars to hold the glass in the metal body. 


We can thank this polymer seal for the leaking back windows (and sometimes windshields) that put water into the trunk and passenger compartment.


The rear window design that holds water down in the body in the lower corners also causes the body to rot out and put water in the trunk (bad design).


Having door skins on the outside of the doors was a cool design, but I do not know if it was a "first".

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I would have to agree also on number 3, but a close second could also be a number not put in a number but also the removable door skins. Don't believe I have ever seen another vehicle with the "Ribbon" dating BEFORE '63.


Tom T.

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The clamshell headlight system on the '65 was certainly novel.  No other car had a similar system.  And it was never used again.


The removable outer door skins were a '63-'65 Riviera first.  I'm not aware of these being used on any other car of the era,


The Switch-Pitch torque converter (variable pitch stator) on the Super Turbine 400 in '65 developed by Buick.   It was used in all senior series Buick cars, so not limited to the Riviera.  This feature was shared with Cadillac and Oldsmobile from '65 to '67.   I don't recall a Pontiac or Chevy using switch pitch in their versions of the TH-400 transmissions (which was the same transmission as the ST-400).



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Can I be so bold as to suggest that the Riviera was the reason for so many innovative changes.

As it was a high priced model, there would be money available for innovations such as flat side glass, flat ribbon body wiring loom etc. As a result many of these successful innovations quickly flowed across and down to the other models , both senior and junior.


As an example, the ‘63 Skylark has standard body wiring however the ‘64 Skylark came with the new flat ribbon wiring taken from the Riviera. Most of the ‘64 Buicks also took on some of the design elements of the Riviera such as the flat roof and reduced chrome. It would not take long for many of the successful innovations to filter down as a result of reduced costs once the initial engineering and design costs were amortised.


Just my thoughts

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀




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  • 4 weeks later...

Rodney, great topic. I can say the first gen body design, especially the 63, is all that is needed to make a statement. Nothing to add, nothing to take away in the body design.

Some cars need a little something or a lot of something to dress them up. The first generation Buick zRiviera even has the best wheel cover options. My favorite wheel cover are the cast aluminum turbines. The Rallye wheels are sporty and look good; however the turbines win out hands down for me.


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