Evolution of the Riviera - 1978


by Sean Cahill #6613

Originally published in The Riview Vol. 20, No. 5 July/August 2004
Photo's Courtesy of William C. "Bill" Anderson ROA Technical Advisor for 1971-1973 and 1977-1978 model years


The beautiful wire wheels were a limited option.

1978 was the 75th anniversary of Buick, and the Riviera celebrated the birthday with the $586 LXXV option. It sported a special black and silver paint scheme with special anniversary insignia. The interior was appointed in gray leather, with brushed silver trim on the dash and matching steering wheel. Only 2,899 of the LXXV model were produced, though Buick had initially intended to make only 1,000 the popularity of the package demanded a longer production run. Few changes were made in 1978. revisions of the grill and tail lamps were hardly noticeable. A new electronic height control system was optional.

 

All engine options remained the same. There was a slight reduction in weight, with 83 pounds being lost, reducing the car to about 3,700 pounds dry.

 

Air conditioning, a $581 option, had reached a new high, with 99.8% of the 1978 models receiving the system. The $95 cruise control option amounted to being installed in 91.4% of the Riviera’s. 90.8% included a vinyl roof, 64.6% included a stereo tape deck, while 7.1% featured a factory in-dash CB radio. The price increased by $1,666. Sales dropped from the 1977 model year to 20,353 units, in the Riviera's 15th year of production.

The interior was appointed in gray leather, with brushed silver trim on the dash and matching steering wheel.

 

Though changes may not have been dramatic, the 1978 model remained one of the most elegant of its time. It also was the last year for the rear-wheel-drive chassis to be used. The comfort and ride that was obtained with this model has been said to be the best of any Riviera. The 50/50 velour seats were comfortable, and the interior appointments, such as dual front armrests, cut pile carpeting, and padded steering wheel made any trip a pleasant one.

Year
Body
Total Production
 
 
Engine Size
HP
Carbs
Produced
1978
4EZ37 20,535 (Includes 2,899 LXXV Anniv. Model)
Standard:
 
350 cu. in. V8 155 1x4bbl  
California Option:   350 cu. in. V8 170 1x4bbl
Option:   403 cu. in. V8 185 1x4bbl
Year
Curb Weight
Wheelbase
&nbsp
Track
Length
&nbsp
Width
&nbsp
Height
&nbsp
Tire
Front
Rear
Size
1978
3900
115.9
61.8
60.7
218.2
74.4
55.0
GR78x15

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1979

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—