Thanks to Eric Clem for these two relevant snapshots. The survival of this grey specimen of a car which was never especially popular, especially in import-crazy Washington state, and which isn’t being kept in especially well-loved condition is a noteworthy occurrence, certainly worth stopping to take a picture. For fans of the Riviera, any hope of a revival of sorts after the controversial boat tail (which still had its charm) was dashed when this car came out. With so much less to love, it must’ve been quite the comedown.
The bustleback, while not the prettiest thing, at least aims to be distinctive. It’s the rectangular quad headlights which hurt the car the most, looking dull, static and almost truckish, making the entire thing a dreary mess. Who can blame GM, though? Sales were what mattered and in the Riviera’s market, athleticism was never rewarded. So the solution was to saddle the car with as many faux-classical touches as possible. When popularity is the name of the game, sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) you have to aim low.