Evolution of the Riviera - 1976


by Sean Cahill #6613

Originally published in The Riview Vol. 20, No. 3Mar./Apr. 2004

I was originally going to combine '75 and '76 Evolution article due to the small amount of difference there is in the cars. Then, after thinking about it, I realized each one of us has an interest in individual cars. After receiving the beautiful pictures of Boyd Barker's '76 Riviera, which is showcased in this issue, I knew I had made the right decision. The last of an era, the ultimate in size and beauty. No other full size car was able to present itself like the '76 Riviera.

For the first time in five years, the engine horsepower rating remained the same, at 205. And, for the first time since 1965, the GS package was not available. Luxury was easier to sell than horsepower, and it was proven in the option sheet for the Riviera. Only 80 cars were sold without air conditioning. Power seats were on 93.7% of the '76 model year. 82% had cruise control, and vinyl roof production increased to be included on 76.4% of the cars. Also, the S/R trim package appeared for this year only. It consisted of 40/40 seats, power windows, and the S/R emblems on the front fenders. Only 1,619 S/R packages were sold. Only two interior colors were available, red, which was the most popular, and buckskin.

As some of us remember, the rise in fuel prices also meant a rise in the manufacturers' dedication to improving fuel economy. The Riviera was not ignored, as test showed an improvement from 10 mpg to 14 mpg, poor by today's standards, but for 1976, it was quite a feat for a car this size. Road tests quoted a top speed of 121 mph. The weight had dropped almost 200 pounds from the previous year, to 4,8 10. And production had increased to 20,082 cars. Also up another $378 was the price, to $6,798.

This was the last year for the full size Riviera, as it was for other full size GM cars. Downsizing to improve economy was at the top of the list for GM. This would also be the last year for the 455 engine that was introduced in the 1970 model.


Year
Body
Total Production
 
 
Engine Size
HP
Carbs
Produced
1976
4EZ87
20,082 (Includes 1,619 S/R Option)
Standard:
 
455 cu. in. V8

205

1x4bbl  
Year
Curb Weight
Wheelbase
 
Track
Length
 
Width
 
Height
 
Tire
Front
Rear
Size
1976
5002
122.0
63.6
64.0
226.4
80.0
54.0
JR78x15

Back to Features from The Riview

1977

Notice: BUICK and RIVIERA are trademarks of GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION used with permission. The Riviera Owners Association is independent and not affiliated with GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION or its BUICK MOTORS DIVISION    —Copyright 2007 Riviera Owners Association—