Evolution of the all-new 1995 Riviera

by Ed Gunyo #101

Originally published in The Riview Vol. 23, No. 5 September/October 2007

92-93 Riviera Picture

With the completely redesigned 1995 Riviera, Buick moved forward to revive the personal luxury coupe and improve sales. Buick General Manager Edward Mertz described the new Riviera as “a distinctly American car that combines the style and performance of a coupe with the comfort and roominess of a full-size sedan.” The styling was new, with aerodynamic lines and curves that seemed to always be changing.

The driving cabin was totally redesigned, with full dash gauges that had a look similar to the original 1963-’65 Rivieras. The Riviera’s seats, first in Buick’s new-generation seating, were designed using computers and a systematic program of test drives. The goal was a seat that holds a person comfortably while distributing body weights so evenly that there were

95 Riviera interior image

95 Riviera in a wind tunnel picture

no uncomfortable pressure points. Sound from the road, and drive train noise, were quieted by specifically-located sound-deadening insulation.

Standard comfort features included dual driver passenger air bags, six-way power drive and passenger seats with power recliner, dual automatic ComforTemp climate control and rear-seat ComforTemp, remote keyless entry, express-down drive window and front extended sunshades. Optional equipment included a heated driver’s seat; memory driver’s seat and mirrors; sunroof; programmable automatic door locks; remote steering wheel radio and temperature controls; power lumbar control for the driver’s seat; and leather bucket seats with console floor shift.

The body structure of the Riviera / Oldsmobile Aurora was different from any GM other GM car. The overall strategy was to make the Riviera as stiff as possible without adding weight that would hurt performance and fuel economy. The floorpan tunnel became a major part of the structure, as did the large roll-formed rocker panels. Sturdy bars running across the floorpan at various points further stiffened the body and helped assure that the Riviera would pass future side-impact standards. A unique roof construction technique, which used a ring of specially-

designed rail capped with a separate, adhesively bonded roof panel, further strengthened the roof. Installing the battery under the back seat provided better front-to-rear weight balance. Making the hood of aluminum provided significant weight saving compared to the more common steel hood.

The chassis was new, with rack-and-pinion that used a new magnetic variable assist that combined hydraulic, electronic and magnetic control to provide continuously variable assist. Standard were 16-inch aluminum wheels with Eagle TA touring tires.

Mechanically, the 1995 Riviera’s Series II, 3.8-liter V-6 was rated at 205 hp and 230 lb.-ft. of torque. This Riviera turned in 0-60 miles per hour in 9.7 seconds. Fuel economy was 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. The supercharged 3800, rated at 225 hp and 275 lb.-ft. of torque, was capable of 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds. Fuel economy was 17 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.

The 1995 Riviera was a truly remarkable advance in design and safety. Buick produced 41,422 of them at a base price of $27,632. (Note: The author has a ’95 supercharged Riviera; in December 1994 the price was $35,500 complete.). A classic was made in 1995.

Image of a 95 Riviera


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