1969 Buick Riviera GS
2dr Sport Coupe
8-cyl. 430cid/360hp 4bbl
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The year 1969 was just about the pinnacle of muscle car performance, with big engines, high speed and unmentionable gas mileage. Emissions regulations and an insurance crackdown were just around the corner, but cars like the Riviera were on top of their game, still developing 360 bhp from a 430 cid V-8. Production shot upwards and Buick turned out 713,832 vehicles for the year, climbing to fourth place nationally, as Plymouth skidded from third to sixth behind Buick and Oldsmobile.
Buick Riviera sales climbed 3,000 to 52,872, of which 5,272 were Gran Sports. The sales figure was the highest the model would achieve until 1984. Base price was $4,701, making the 1969 Buick Riviera the most expensive car the company offered, while the GS package added $131.57 and added sport suspension, limited-slip and a dressed up engine bay. The rocker panel strip was thinner on the GS, most cars had the five-spoke chrome mag wheels and many had Strato bucket seats and a console shifter.
The Rivera design was barely altered, with different marker lights, a slightly different grille and bolder brightwork on wheel arches and lower body moldings. The rear suspension had been modified, steering was now variable ratio, and an electric fuel pump was introduced. The Riviera was a little heavier but still good for 0-60 mph in 9.2 seconds and a 15.9 second quarter-mile. Top speed was 132 mph.
Standard 1969 Buick Riviera equipment included a new 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, dual exhaust, power steering, tilt steering column, anti-theft steering lock ignition on the collapsible column, power brakes, two-speed electric wipers with washers, safety buzzers and warning lights, upper and lower dash safety pads, walnut paneling on the dash and full carpeting. Carpeted lower door panels were an option.
Other Riviera options included air conditioning, power windows, power front disc brakes, four- and six-way power seats, tinted glass, cruise control, wire wheel covers, five-spoke chrome wheels, AM/FM stereo and an automatic trunk release.
Bill Mitchell finally had the satisfaction of the Buick Riviera outselling its nemesis the Ford Thunderbird. Drastically redesigned in 1967, sales had skidded to 49,227.