Hooniverse Fastback Friday: It's A Riv, Baby…

Yeah, the other weekend while I was out and about, I spotted this old beauty down at Bellaire Plaza.

It appears to be a bone ass stock 1971 Buick Riviera. I know this because in 72 The General changed the front grille from those horizontal bars to a square egg crate looking grille.

This model was referred to as the “Boattail” based on the rear styling kind of similarity to the real “boattails” offered by Bugatti and Rolls Royce/Bentley back in the day. Some lines on this beauty, eh?

I had forgotten all about the tendency of Buick to put the three spoke wheel on some of their “specialty” offerings.

And how the hell do you wash the inside of the rear window on the Fastback?

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  1. muthalovin Avatar

    Acres and acres of rear window. I have always like the Buick boattail. Very handsome.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Also, notice those vents on the trunk lid? Those were intended for interior ventilation but apparently they didn't work well so Buick deleted them for 1972 in favor of smooth metal. As for this Riv, I can appreciate Buick's valiant and brave effort to try to be different, but to me the results don't work very well. I understand that some of the Buick designers wanted to see this styling on a smaller platform shared with the Grand Prix and Monte Carlo, but Buick management insisted on keeping the Riv fullsize.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        Very interesting. I did not know that.
        I do think the car is a boat (har), and would really like the styling on the small car offerings. I guess Buick wanted the name to fit the bill.

      2. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

        If I'm remembering correctly, the interior exhaust vents were moved to the door jambs; they weren't just deleted, just relocated.

      3. OA5599 Avatar

        I always figured the trunk vents were to give your victims a fighting chance to survive.
        A house in my neighborhood had one of these in the driveway until about two years ago, when the house was put up for sale. The story I heard from a relative of the broker is that a woman and her adult son lived in the house, the woman got stabbed, and the son continued to live there with the corpse. The house was listed at lot value, and the listing said prospective buyers were not even permitted to go inside the structure without a signed purchase contract. I understand it was really gross inside, and the house was demolished soon after it sold.

      4. dukeisduke Avatar

        Lots of '71 GM cars have those vents on the trunk – all the cars that were new designs for '71. They're on all of the full-size cars, along with the Vega notchback and hatchback. It's part of the flow-through ventilation.

  2. P161911 Avatar

    Having visited Daytona Beach many times, I went to Google Maps to see exactly where Bellaire Plaza was, found it and I remember going there. But the street view car happened to be going by when there were having a car show! <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&q=daytona+beach+bellair+plaza&fb=1&gl=us&hq=bellair+plaza&hnear=Daytona+Beach,+FL&view=map&cid=13869380239080029385&ll=29.262377,-81.02583&spn=0.000371,0.00085&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=29.262377,-81.02583&panoid=gKOscfc5AoCEmN_exbyWWQ&cbp=13,254.35,,1,-0.16" target="_blank"&gt <a href="http://;http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&client=fire…” target=”_blank”>;http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&client=fire

    1. dwegmull Avatar

      Fixed link

  3. Black Steelies Avatar

    I love the bottail Rivies. 1965 is still the all time best year but I can't argue with the 71/72 stylings either.
    The shifter aptly reminds me of a boat throttle in these things. There used to be one in town but I heard the guy couldn't sell it and needed money so he tore out the motor and scrapped it. Damn shame but I bet it tore him up more than me.

  4. facelvega Avatar

    1. Yes
    2. Hell Yes
    3. Additional Yeses.
    I like almost every version of the Riviera that has ever been produced, even to a degree the 80s ones. Even allowing for the exuberant dumbness of the boattail's execution, I'd drive this sucker in a heartbeat.

  5. CptSevere Avatar

    Oh, man, I love these cars. My grandparents had this exact same car, but in beige. Lousy color, great car. I was a little kid at the time, and the thing was HUGE. I loved playing with the electric windows, a very big deal back then.

  6. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    I just don't get the criticism of these cars. Sure it's a bit ungainly, as were all the big '71 GMs, but it's a bold distinctive car. The toned-down '74 with it's more formal rear really sucked in comparison. I've always been a big Buick fan, even into the '90s. But the last 15 years have really been a joke. I want to like the Regal, and I guess the LaCrosse isn't too bad, but they just aren't convincing as understated luxury cars.
    I'd like to see Buick do a modern Electra, very much in the same vein as the '60s cars. And maybe a shorter LeSabre/Invicta for people who want something a little cheaper and easier to park. Let Cadillac chase the Germans; I'd love to see Buick keep the more American style of luxury car alive. We know the Chinese will snap these cars up, so why not?

  7. Manic_King Avatar

    "how the hell do you wash the inside of the rear window on the Fastback?"
    I'd ask "how often to you wash the inside of the rear window?"
    I don't remember ever doing that on any car. No phtalates there so no fog…..

  8. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    Oooohh, love them boattails. How often are there car shows at this Bellaire Plaza? Might need to take a little ride, that's less that four hours from here (Savannah) . . .

    1. longrooffan Avatar

      Every Thanksgiving is the Turkey Rod Run…a huge four day event both out at the Speedway and at Bellaire Plaza in the evenings.
      The Spring Fling is usually the last weekend in March or the first one in April.
      The Daytona Beach Dream Cruise falls around the last weekend or so in October.
      also the Winter Park Concours, just an hour from Daytona, is always a treat.
      Drop me an email at my name over at AOL should you make it down some time.

  9. Gazbo Avatar

    I don't understand the hate here ( I'm also over 60 and have long hair) these were great cars. Would you like it better if you knew it had a 455 v8 tuned for power in it? Much firmer than standard springs and shocks? Big ass sway bars? It wasn't a race car by any means – or a hot rod either – but like the Chrysler 300 or the later Lincoln LSC, it was a hell of a road car for you and a babe (this was after all a coupe). LA to Vegas or San Francisco to Denver with great ease.

  10. Gazbo Avatar

    Forgot to mention ; in 1971, gas was 28 cents a gallon for 110 octane. We didn't even think to ask about mileage.

  11. Buickboy92 Avatar

    Wow, she's a beautiful babe!

  12. texmarc Avatar

    This is a classic example of the Bill Mitchell school of automotive styling. He was a master of blending classic cues to modern design.

  13. robs71redriv Avatar

    I think its just great – of course I'm biased as I have one like it but with pearl white interior, and run the Boattail Registry, come check lots of them at http://www.boattail-riviera-by-buick.com