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1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport Has a Great V8 Engine and a Mafia-Friendly Trunk

The Riviera nameplate doesn't mean anything for Buick anymore, which is only interested in making as much money as possible with a fresh lineup made entirely of crossovers.
1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat 17 photos
Photo: Mecum
1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat
But it used to mean the world to the GM-owned car brand until 1998 when the final one rolled off the assembly line. It was part of the eighth generation that entered production four years earlier, building on the success of its predecessors that went all the way back to the early '60s.

That's when the original came out, in 1962, to be more precise, with a unique shell for General Motors and looks to die for. Production took place at the Flint factory in Michigan, and it was a two-door hardtop with a front-engine and rear-wheel drive layout, measuring 117 inches (2,972 mm) between the axles, or about as much as a modern-day BMW 5 Series executive sedan.

Two engine options were available for the first-gen Buick Riviera. Lesser models came with the 401 ci, and the 425 ci was reserved for the upper specs. The smaller V8, with its 6.6-liter displacement, produced 325 hp (330 ps/242 kW), whereas the 7.0L mill, which debuted a few months after the model hit the assembly line, was rated at 340 hp (345 ps/254 kW) and 360 hp (365 ps/269 kW) in the Super Wildcat configuration. All versions came with an automatic transmission.

1965 Buick Riviera GS Super Wildcat
Photo: Mecum
Around 112,500 units of the first-gen Buick Riviera are estimated to have seen the light of day until 1965, and it is unknown how many of them have withstood the test of time. But the pictured copy did, and it looks great. In fact, it is shiny wherever you look, courtesy of a restoration process. It features a Champagne Mist exterior, a saddle brown interior with woodgrain trim, air conditioning, a tilt steering column, a console separating the front seats, and numerous chrome appointments.

You are probably wondering what lies under the hood, and the answer is the 360-horsepower 7.0-liter V8. That's right, you are looking at the range-topping Super Wildcat version of the original Buick Riviera, a 1965 model in the Gran Sport trim level. It is said to have matching numbers, and the original sales brochure and owner's manual accompany it.

Due to the highly desirable specification and great restoration that has brought it back to its initial shine, this 1965 Buick Riviera should fetch a small fortune at auction. The classic car will go under the hammer at the Kissimmee event in Florida, at the Osceola Heritage Park, from January 2 to 14, with Mecum being responsible for finding it a new home. Now, if you were in the market for such a ride, what would you pay for it?
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About the author: Cristian Gnaticov
Cristian Gnaticov profile photo

After a series of unfortunate events put an end to Cristian's dream of entering a custom built & tuned old-school Dacia into a rally competition, he moved on to drive press cars and write for a living. He's worked for several automotive online journals and now he's back at autoevolution after his first tour in the mid-2000s.
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