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Buick’s Riviera was a star of the show for 1964, and was offered for the second time since 1949. No other car in the GM lineup would compare; its nearest competitor the Oldsmobile Tornado would not début until 1966. Although the Riviera hadn’t grown in physical size, it did gain a new 425cid V8 at 10:1 compression, which was powered by 340 horses; also available was the 401 cid V8. The Riviera was shorter and narrower than its seniors, but weighed in at 4,190 lbs and easily carried four passengers. Center console shifting, a wide variety of upholstery options, and a speed of 0-60mph rounded out the excitement offered by the Riviera.
The Special and Skylark series were stretched 3 inches and rode on a 115” wheelbase and the B body wagons were at 120”. The 225cid V6 was standard, but a new 300cid V8 was available for increased power and performance.
The next best thing from Buick beside a Riviera was the hot rod of the senior series – the Wildcat, which boasted the 425cid V8 at 340hp as well as 360hp when equipped with dual 4 barrel carburetors. The suspension was upgraded with a semi-floating rear axel, and the posi-trac differential could be added as an option along with a one-year only, 4-speed manual transmission for more muscle and acceleration. The senior series LeSabre and Electra 225 gained in length, width, more room, and more power while receiving a styling facelift at the same time, and, of course, the 425 cid V8 was also offered.
General Motors could point to Buick with pride as the Riviera was gaining popularity and the total sales of all Buicks had risen from 291,000 in 1961 to 482,000 in 1964. As the clock turned forward, Buick won out over Oldsmobile and Pontiac in the General Motors scuffle to survive in the new millennium.
- The 1964 Wildcat marked first year Buick didn’t use traditional “port-holes”
- Buick advertising boasted “the next best thing to owning a Riviera”
- Price new: $3,445