Cohort Outtakes: The Golden Era Of GM Design – 1963-64 Buick Riviera and 1969 Cadillac Eldorado

William Oliver continues to impress with his Cohort contributions. In this series of photographs, taken in Toronto, he’s captured two of the most beautiful GM products of the 1960s: first-generation editions of the Buick Riviera and Cadillac Eldorado.

The Eldo is technically a 1970 1969 but that was the last year of the first series, first introduced in 1967. This ’69 looks as though it’s wearing pince-nez, appropriately classy for Cadillac’s fanciest coupe.

Personally, I think the first Eldo looks best as a ’67-68 model with the hidden headlights. Paint it black like this one and it looks devastatingly elegant yet menacing, like a lean and muscular assassin in a well-fitting suit.

This ’69 looks more like the assassin swapped his tux for a suit with a wider lapel and put on some loafers. When you’ve got a sexy body and a handsome, square-jawed face, however, you can pull off pretty much anything.

Then there’s the Bill Mitchell-designed Riviera, a little leaner and more European in appearance. In a reverse of the Eldorado’s situation, the Riv gained hidden headlights a few years into its run. I think it looks stunning either way.

That includes the gorgeous interior.

Again, I wouldn’t say this is the perfect color for the Riviera. It looks best in silver, a color that shows off that gracefully curved beltline and the bladed fenders. This is a design that was praised by automotive figures as varied as Sir William Lyons, Sergio Pininfarina and Raymond Loewy. There’s not a bad line on this Buick. Nor is there a bad line on its companion in the snow.

Related Reading:

Curbside Classic: 1964 Buick Riviera – The Peak GM Experience

Curbside Classic: 1967 Cadillac Eldorado – On The Dark Side