This is the Buick Riviera version 3. Maybe I should call it Stage 3, because it’s like a cancer. It followed the familiar path of Thunderbird and Cougar. Start with a sporty/GT car of various levels of effort. Get slinkier, but also larger. Coalesce with other models (if you didn’t start as a knockoff to begin with). Then give up any pretense of sporty, in favor of “luxury.” Have a renaissance, then veer off on increasingly inexplicable courses with no real connection to the original concept, then die quietly, as the accountants piss on you and what could have been if you stayed true.
In this case, the Buick is still trying to be a statement car. It looks sporty, with the wheels and the Corvette-ish backlight. It does scoot,with a 455 and no real smog controls (which saltpetered every car in America from around 1974 to about ’82). But have no doubt – it will slowly transform into the increasingly less flamboyant sister of the Electra and LeSabre.
This will lead to a renaissance of sorts from 79-84 (we did like the Riviera T-Type). Then a graceless truncation, a token restyling along the tried and true “longer and pricier” template, then an imaginary return to its roots and then the sweet release of “discontinued for MY xx.”