1974 Buick Riviera GS
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 455cid/245hp 4bbl
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Throughout Buick’s history, the Riviera name has generally been applied to a hardtop full-size personal luxury car. The name first appeared on a Buick in 1949, denoting the two-door hardtop version of the Roadmaster. Some Buick Riviera models in the 1950s were four-door sedans, but as a rule a Riviera is a hardtop. The Riviera became its own line beginning in 1963.
1974 marked the beginning of the fourth generation Riviera. The immediate preceding model was the famous “boat-tail” hardtop Riviera of 1971-1973, and these are generally more highly prized than the more prosaic colonnade coupe that was introduced for 1974.
The Riviera was still the top of the Buick line, though, and received the 455 cubic inch big-block V-8 rated at 210 SAE net horsepower. That was mated to GM’s standard 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission. Options were few, as the Riviera had every bell and whistle in the catalog. Buyers could opt for a Positraction rear axle and an engine upgrade to 230 horsepower in the Stage 1 option kit, and there was a Gran Sport (GS) ride and handling package available as well.
1975 saw few changes, except that the 455 engine dropped 5 horsepower and received electronic ignition. The Buick Riviera in this year was 3.5 inches shorter overall than in 1974. Similarly few changes were made for 1976, the final year of this generation. Horsepower stayed constant, but fuel economy rose slightly. The Riviera Gran Sport designation was replaced with an “S/R” package that was essentially the same engine and driveline upgrade.
1976 was the final year for the Buick 455 engine. Rivieras after this generation received a 350 cubic inch small block V-8 or a sourced Oldsmobile 403. Collectors looking at this generation of the Riviera will want to limit their search to well-optioned 1974 models with the Gran Sport and Stage 1 packages.