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Initially a luxury trim package for Buicks starting in 1949, it wasn’t until the early ’60s that GM spun the Riviera into its own model. Initially launched as the company’s first luxury vehicle in an effort to compete with the Ford Thunderbird, the Riviera emerged as a 1963 model year vehicle with dramatic styling that included flared and forward-raked front fenders, and equally sharp rear contours, al powered by a “Nailhead” V8 engine. Redesigned in 1966 on a platform shared with the Oldsmobile Toronado and later, the Cadillac Eldorado, the updated Riv was bigger, heavier and a bit sleeker with new fastback styling and retractable headlights in the grille. With the added weight came a larger engine in 1967, when they moved up to a 430-cid V8. The most distinctive Riviera era began in 1971, when Buick debuted the “boat-tail” Riv — a uniquely styled rear end with curved Corvette-inspired glass and a bulge in the trunk lid that tapered to a point to resemble the lines of a wooden motorboat. This era lasted just a few years, and remains among the most highly collectible. The Riviera reverted back to boxier styling in 1974 and never again recaptured the attitude it had in its initial years, lasting through the 1980s and early ’90s as a midsize coupe. After a one-year break in 1994, the final generation of Riviera lasted through 1999 as a sleeker, occasionally supercharged model that failed to excite buyers, ending its run with less than 2,000 models sold in its final year.