1965 Buick Riviera
2dr Sport Coupe
8-cyl. 401cid/325hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Bill Mitchell finally got his original Riviera design in 1965 with the last version of the original body style. At last the headlights were stacked vertically in the front fenders, behind the “LaSalle” grilles, which had previously housed park lights and turn signals. The vertical “clamshell” grilles opened when the headlights were switched on, but they were troublesome and prone to failure.
Better news was the launch of the $450 Gran Sport package for the 1965 Buick Riviera, sold as “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” It included the 360 bhp, 425 cid Super Wildcat V-8 engine with dual 4-barrel carburetors, good for 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. Dual exhaust and handsome mag-style steel wheels were included and the engine dressed-up with chrome plated air cleaner and polished ribbed alloy valve covers. A limited-slip was part of the package and Gran Sport lettering added below the Riviera script on the fenders.
Overall the Riviera was cleaned up nicely, with the egg-crate grille now full-width. The fake air scoops on the back fenders were dropped and the rear bumper now included the taillights. The ribbed headlight covers were carried through to the side rocker panels.
Standard ’65 Riviera equipment included the 3-speed Super Turbine transmission, power steering, power brakes, two-speed electric wipers with washers, safety buzzers and warning lights, tilt steering column, upper and lower dash safety pads, console gear selector, walnut paneling on doors and dash and full carpeting. Carpeted lower door panels were an option but the main (and almost only significant) extra was air conditioning. Buyers of the base Riviera could upgrade from the 325 bhp, 401 cid V-8 engine to the 340 bhp 425.
Buick sold 34,586 Rivieras in 1965. Meanwhile, sales of Ford’s redesigned “wedge” Thunderbird dropped sharply to 74,772 from 92,465. There was still no Riviera convertible and that would not be addressed until 1982. The price margin between the Ford and Buick luxury coupes had narrowed, but the Riviera remained lighter in weight and road testers noted the Buick had four inches more leg room in the rear seat.
Colors for the 1965 Buick Riviera included Regal Black, Arctic White, Astro Blue, Seafoam Green, Verde Green, Turquoise Mist, Midnight Aqua, Burgundy Mist, Flame Red, Sahara Mist, Champagne Mist, Shell Beige, Bamboo Cream, and Silver Cloud.
Standard vinyl interior colors were Blue, Ivory, Black and Saddle. Custom vinyl interiors were Green, Ivory and Black, while fabric and vinyl optional interiors could be Green, Blue, Fawn and Black.
Buick’s calendar year production rose to 653,838 units this year and the division hopped neatly over Dodge and Oldsmobile into fifth place in U.S. sales.