A detailed look back at the antique car 1965 Buick Riviera

Alexander Vargas -

A detailed look back at the antique car 1965 Buick Riviera

The 1965 Buick Riviera is a classic luxury car produced by General Motors under the Buick brand. It was part of the Riviera model line, which was introduced in 1963 and continued production until 1999.

The 1965 Buick Riviera remains an iconic symbol of 1960s American automotive design, with its unique styling and powerful performance. It continues to be cherished by collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its timeless appeal and craftsmanship. Here are some key features and details about the 1965 Buick Riviera:

1. Design

The Riviera was known for its sleek and stylish design. The design was a departure from the more conservative Buick models of the time and aimed to capture a sportier and more upscale image.

Sleek and Sculpted Body

The Riviera featured a long and sleek body with clean lines and a sculpted profile. It had a fastback roofline that sloped gently toward the rear, giving it a streamlined and aerodynamic appearance.

Prominent Grille

The front end of the Riviera was characterized by a bold and prominent grille. It had a unique design with vertical chrome bars and a Buick emblem placed in the center. The grille was flanked by concealed headlights, which added to the car's sleek and modern look.

Hidden Headlights

One of the standout features of the 1965 Riviera was its hidden headlights. When not in use, the headlights were concealed behind horizontal panels that blended seamlessly with the front end. This gave the car a clean and uncluttered front appearance.

"Boat-Tail" Rear End

The rear end of the 1965 Riviera was perhaps its most distinctive design feature. It featured a "boat-tail" design, where the rear deck sloped down to a point, resembling the stern of a boat. This design element added to the car's uniqueness and set it apart from other luxury coupes of the time.

Chrome Accents

The Riviera had chrome accents throughout its design, enhancing its luxurious and upscale appearance. Chrome trim could be seen on the grille, bumpers, window surrounds, and along the body sides. These accents added a touch of elegance and visual interest to the car's overall design.

Well-Proportioned Body

The overall proportions of the 1965 Riviera were well-balanced and visually pleasing. Its long hood, short deck, and wide stance contributed to a sense of power and presence. The low-slung profile and sweeping lines gave it a sporty and sophisticated look.

2. Interior Design

Spacious Cabin

The Riviera offered a spacious cabin with ample legroom and headroom, ensuring a comfortable experience for occupants. It was a two-door coupe, featuring bucket seats in the front and a rear bench seat, accommodating up to five passengers.

High-Quality Materials

The interior of the Riviera was crafted with high-quality materials, emphasizing luxury and refinement. The seats were typically upholstered in vinyl as the standard option, while optional leather upholstery was also available for an even more upscale feel. Other interior surfaces, such as the dashboard and door panels, featured premium materials and finishes.

Center Console

The center console played a prominent role in the interior design. It provided a storage compartment and housed various controls and switches for convenience. It also added a touch of elegance and functionality to the cabin.

Instrument Panel

The instrument panel was designed with a focus on driver visibility and accessibility. It featured a cluster of gauges and controls, providing vital information to the driver. The gauges were typically framed in chrome or brushed metal, adding to the car's luxurious aesthetic.

Comfort and Convenience Features

The 1965 Riviera came equipped with a range of comfort and convenience features to enhance the driving experience. These included power windows, power-adjustable seats, and air conditioning, which were considered luxurious amenities at the time.

3. Engine and Performance

The 1965 Buick Riviera offered powerful engine options and impressive performance capabilities for its time. Here are some details about the engine and performance of the 1965 Buick Riviera:

Engine Options

The standard engine for the 1965 Riviera was a 401 cubic inch (6.6-liter) Wildcat V8 engine. It featured a single four-barrel carburetor and produced 325 horsepower. This engine was known for its smooth power delivery and ample torque, providing a balanced combination of performance and refinement.

Gran Sport Option

The Riviera also offered an optional "Gran Sport" package, which included a larger and more powerful engine. This package featured a 425 cubic inch (7.0-liter) Wildcat V8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors. It produced 360 horsepower, delivering even greater performance capabilities.


The 1965 Riviera typically came equipped with a three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission. This transmission offered smooth shifts and helped optimize the engine's power delivery. It provided effortless acceleration and improved fuel efficiency compared to manual transmissions.

Performance Features

The Riviera featured a range of performance-enhancing features to complement its powerful engines. It came with power-assisted brakes and power steering, which provided responsive handling and easy maneuverability. The suspension system was tuned for a balance between comfort and sportiness, offering a smooth and controlled ride.

Acceleration and Top Speed

With the standard 401 cubic inch V8 engine, the 1965 Riviera could achieve a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time of around 8.5 seconds. Its top speed was estimated to be around 120 mph (193 km/h). The Gran Sport package with the larger 425 cubic inch V8 engine further improved acceleration and top speed.

4. Innovations

The 1965 Riviera introduced several innovative features for its time. It was one of the first cars to feature a tilt steering wheel, allowing the driver to adjust the steering column's angle for increased comfort. It also came with power windows, power seats, and air conditioning, which were considered luxurious amenities during that era.

5. Popularity and Legacy

The 1965 Buick Riviera was well-received by critics and car enthusiasts alike. Its combination of elegant design, powerful performance, and luxurious features made it a sought-after vehicle. Today, it is regarded as a classic car and holds a significant place in automotive history.

Representation of American Automotive Industry

The 1965 Buick Riviera reflects the heyday of the American automotive industry, representing the era's focus on style, power, and innovation. It embodied the spirit of American automotive design and engineering prowess, showcasing the capabilities of domestic manufacturers in creating compelling and desirable automobiles.

Cultural Symbol of the 1960s

The 1965 Buick Riviera became a cultural symbol of the 1960s, representing the spirit of a changing society. It embodied the desire for individuality, style, and the pursuit of luxury in a time of social and cultural transformation. 

The Riviera's presence in movies (Four Brothers-2005, The Fast and the Furious-Tokyo Drift-2006), television shows (Justified, Mad Men), and popular media further cemented its cultural significance and status as an iconic car of the era.