Shot by R J in Kaunas, Lithuania
My favorite era of Riviera. It looks good there as pictured.
Agreed! – Everyone here goes gaga over the first gen, and while I’ve warmed up to that one, THIS is THE Riviera (to me anyway).
But what do I know? I was an 11 year car nut (planes and trains, too) when the guy across the street bought a beautiful, brand new, emerald green ’72, and I fell in love with that car.
1. THE Riviera indeed.
One of the first US cars I seriously got into, as opposed to just gazing at them in awe and alienation before.
It caught my attention in “Due South”, ran as a pre-primetime serial in 90s Germany. Being basically a main character in the series, it got a lot of exposure and back story, to my delight. Young me didn’t give too much of a hoot for the rest of the plot though, just show me the darn car already!
So, apparently quite the timeless catnip for preteen car nuts 😁
Fletch drove one (before he stole the Alfa Romeo – which is also the version whose era I most prefer), and one features prominently in both “The Ice Storm” as well as “Go!”
I love these cars, but this is not the most flattering angle. You can clearly see how the low beltline doesn’t line up with the high trunk line (necessitated by the need to share doors, glass, and windshield with the LeSabre).
Plus you can’t see the best features: The boattail and wraparound rear window.
Here’s one I saw in Pacific Beach a few years ago.
If the picture isn’t attaching, try reducing the file size. When I post photo attachments, I usually reduce the size to no more than 1,200 pixels in the bigger dimension. Usually works.
One last try. Thanks for the tip.
Those early ones are the best with the offset license plate on the rear. Nice find!
I didn’t make effort that day to get low enough for a good angle on the car. It seemed extremely low compared to the 2015 Civic and Corolla parked at either end of it.
I really wonder how high the hip point of the 1971 Riviera was compared to a current compact sedan. That day it looked like going from a Corolla to a Riviera would be like going from a CR-V to Corolla in terms of ease of entry and exit.
Parallel parking a Boattail Riviera can’t possibly be fun. Maybe this guy got a good parking space in 1972 and hasn’t moved it since.
Are you sure the whole LeSabre door is on the Riviera? I’ve been looking at pics, and it looks to me like the upper edge of the Riviera’s door is cut down with a slope relative to level, while the LeSabre’s door appears to be level with the ground along the window line.
The cars are close cousins, and I’m sure everything in the door below the window line is interchangeable (as is the entire chassis, I’m sure!), but that one detail of the shape of the door doesn’t seem to be shared.
They’re definitely not the same. The Riviera’s door top tapers down significantly, while the LeSabre’s door top edge is horizontal.
This triggers a reflection on cars and architecture. A Riviera looks incongruous next to 17th century houses but fits perfectly with a mid century modern or international style office building. On the other hand a Fiat 500 would fit right in here or on a Dutch canal.
Of course you can get period mismatches, consider what would have originally parked in front of a Le Corbusier villa.
That’s gotta be quite the iron in the Old Country.
The wheels – “Swinging on the Riviera one day…”
I think this is my 2nd favorite design ever to come from GM.
I have never liked these. Closest I’ve ever been able to get was to appreciate certain parts of the design, such as the shape of the rear of the greenhouse in side view. Other aspects of the design spoiled the whole thing, for me, though: the concave rear bumper makes the car look as though it’s been rear-ended (ditto the ’68-’69 Skylark), the spectacular boattail glass looks like “We’ve got a bunch of Corvette backlights remaining in stock; find something to do with them”, and the grille and vicinity have always reminded me of sagging underwear—please don’t ask me to explain that.
But in this photo, from this angle, for the first time I can see some appreciable coherent rectitude in the design.
I mostly like it specifically for the sagging-underwear front end.
Depends…on my mood.
That’s still a good looking design. I liked the 1971 & 1972 better than the ‘73 with its heavier bumpers. Bill Mitchell loved Rivieras.
Somehow — and I’m still scratching my head to figure out how — this Riviera looks very good in this setting. It’s almost like the Riviera’s front end was styled as to complement the Old World architecture (looks like a combination of Romanesque and Nordic). Outstanding picture.
And I’ve always had an irrational love for these Rivieras — one lives relatively near me, and I saw it drive by my house last week.
My first thought too—for some reason, it looks right here. No idea why.
DItto. My first thought was that this would have been a good factory promo pic. Timeless European elegance appealing to the “discriminating” buyer.
That’s in the square down at the far end of Laisves Aleja. Buddy parked his superfine wheels not far from the big church and quite close to an awesome place to buy zeppelinai.
I love Lithuania, and deeply miss Kaunas in particular. The whole country has come so very far since they were the first place to tell the USSR to get bent and struck out on their own.
If you have never been, you should go. Beautiful people, more breweries per capita than any other nation on the planet, and an amazing history.
I don’t know how prevalent organized crime might be in Lithuania, but a vehicle like this (and in this kind of beautiful condition) seems as if someone high up in that particular line of work might drive. It really looks like a European gangster’s car.
Don’t think this car belong to some bad guy – it was left on the street with open windows so most likely owner was sitting at one of the outdoor restaurant tables across the street. I openly took few photos and nothing wrong happened.
Thanks for nice words about Kaunas, but this photo was taken in another place of Kaunas – Town Hall square: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,23.8870404,3a,75y,239.58h,91.26t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1shLbOExLFT0EJ_UmzFGFiLw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
Stunning shot of a beautiful car at one of its best angles. All the way from the north end of Flint, Michigan to Kaunas, Lithuania, almost five decades later.
My boss had a Riv with the 430 in it really nice car, very quick, handling was not much to speak of. The thing did eat starters for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A wise parts man clued us in on the problem, somebodies been selling you the wrong starter, here’s the correct starter, looks the same but its about an inch longer, that was it! Much later I went to work for GMC truck and ran into the same problems. 350 starters bolted onto big blocks, fits but it doesn’t last. 350 fuel pump bolts on to a big block but it not only doesn’t work, you have also bent the push rod that runs the fuel pump. Have you ever tried removing a bent fuel pump push rod in a big block chevy? I did one and I’ll never forget it.
I like the first gen Riv the most because its an outstanding original. Just perfect.
The second gen I like almost as much because I love me some curvy hips.
This gen is unapologetically voluptuous. Its got big curves and a big attitude and wearing spandex and heels and doesn’t care what you think.
I’m under the impression the Boat-Tail Riv was at least partially inspired by the design of the Auburn Boat-Tail Speedster of the 1930’s. The rear hips curvature remind me of the separate rear fenders of pre-war era classic cars, like the Auburn.
Another design element can be seen if you see it from a high elevation, like the second floor of a building. The 71 & 72 have a boat-like shape, with a bow-like front sculpted into the hood and obvious stern-like tail.
I’m obsessed with this generation of Rivieras, have been from my first encounter with the Boat-Tail. I was riding shotgun in a friend’s very rough ‘69 Nova at a red light and 71 or 72 with the pointy rear bumper was waiting in front of us. I was so mesmerized, I didn’t want the light to turn green. It’s been decades since that moment but still remember it like it just happened.
This particular one is lovely because it still has a front bumper, it hasn’t been lowered, AND it’s wearing the Buick road wheels.
A friend in high school had one of these. He was somewhat of an eclectic car guy. Had a Jeepster too. Anyway, I’ve always loved these Rivs after seeing/riding in his. Beautiful elegant cars. Thx for posting.
I had a ’71 boat tail Riviera. It felt like a much larger car than my ’66. The ’71 was more like a Coupe de Ville. The ’66 was a like slightly larger ’68 GTO. My ’71 was my anti- Yuppie/BMW statement in Silicon Valley of the 1990’s. It was a dramatic looking if not somewhat odd looking car. From the side view it looked like any fastback, from the rear it looked like no other contemporary car. The forward canted front end reminds me of the 67-68 Cadillac de Villes. Chuck Berry said it best, Cadillac was a car “that would eat up the road!”
One of my favourite American designs, but for one thing.
Like so many cars of that era, it was just too big. Yes I know the story, but still…..
When these came out (I was fifteen) I thought they were, in a word. hideous. I attribute my reaction to the fact that they brought me back to the day in early 1963 when I went car shopping with my father to the local Chevy dealer and beheld for the first time the split-window C2 in all its glory, behind brass stanchions holding up velvet ropes. I thought then and still think it was one of the most perfect car designs ever. To see the same design on such a large car a mere eight years later, struck me as obscene – as if the C2 was a chiseled athlete who’d let himself go to bloat.
Now, the lead photo suggests to me a very handsome car. Why the difference? It helps that the photo shows its best angle, IMHO. The old world architecture and cobblestones also help. Mainly, though, I think it’s because with so much water under the bridge, I don’t immediately think of the C2 when I look at it now, so that I can appreciate it on its own terms.
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