The 1966 Buick Riviera GS is a classic car that turns heads on the road and stands out from its competition. Originally released in 1963, with distinct fins similar to those seen on contemporary Cadillacs, the vintage Riviera still has many admirers today. With an authoritative 8-cylinder engine and plush interior, it’s simply impossible to ignore the power of this classic sports coupe. Despite being over 50 years old, it retains a modern feel due to thoughtful upgrades like fuel injection technology and updated LED lighting.
Even after half a century, every aspect of the model shows top quality craftsmanship that will make owning such an iconic vehicle something to be treasured for years to come. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about owning one of these timeless beauties–from its impressive features as well as potential challenges associated with older vehicles.
Table of Contents
An Overview of the 1966 Buick Riviera GS
The 1966 Buick Riviera GS is a classic luxury coupe that epitomizes the elegance and style of the era. Here’s an overview of this iconic vehicle:
– Design: The 1966 Buick Riviera GS features a sleek and distinctive design. It showcases a long hood, a sweeping roofline, and a sculpted body with clean lines. The bold front grille, hidden headlights, and chrome accents add to its refined and upscale appearance.
– Powertrain: The Riviera GS is equipped with a powerful drivetrain. It comes with a 425 cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine, which produces around 360 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a three-speed automatic transmission, providing smooth and effortless acceleration.
– Performance: The Riviera GS offers impressive performance for a luxury coupe of its time. It can go from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in around 8 seconds and has a top speed of approximately 125 mph (201 km/h). The GS package includes a stiffer suspension and a limited-slip differential, enhancing the car’s handling and cornering capabilities.
– Luxury and Comfort: Inside the Riviera GS, you’ll find a spacious and opulent cabin. It features luxurious upholstery, plush seats, and a well-designed dashboard with a center console. The car offers a range of comfort and convenience features, including power windows, air conditioning, and a powerful sound system.
– Innovative Features: The 1966 Riviera GS introduced several innovative features for its time. These include a concealed radio antenna, a tilt steering wheel, and a unique “Max Trac” traction control system, which helped improve traction during acceleration.
– Collectibility: The 1966 Buick Riviera GS is highly regarded among collectors and enthusiasts. Its blend of classic design, powerful performance, and luxurious features make it a sought-after model. The limited production numbers and its reputation as one of the finest luxury coupes of its era contribute to its collectibility.
– Legacy: The 1966 Buick Riviera GS holds a special place in automotive history. It represents a pinnacle of Buick’s craftsmanship, innovation, and design philosophy during the 1960s. It continues to be admired for its timeless styling and remains an iconic symbol of luxury and performance.
The Exterior Design of the 1966 Buick Riviera GS
The 1966 Buick Riviera GS showcases a striking exterior design that exudes elegance, sophistication, and a touch of sportiness. Here are the key elements that define its exterior:
– Sleek and Sculpted Body: The Riviera GS boasts a sleek and streamlined body design, featuring clean lines and smooth contours. The overall shape is characterized by a long and sweeping hood, a low roofline, and a distinctive fastback rear end. The absence of excessive ornamentation enhances its timeless appeal.
– Prominent Grille: The front grille is one of the Riviera GS’s standout features. It is wide and vertically oriented, consisting of multiple horizontal chrome bars that give it a bold and imposing presence. The grille extends into the front bumper, creating a unified and cohesive look.
– Hidden Headlights: The headlights of the Riviera GS are concealed behind clamshell-style doors, adding a touch of sophistication to the front end. When the lights are turned on, the doors open to reveal the twin headlights, further enhancing the car’s unique and distinctive appearance.
– Chrome Accents: Chrome accents play a significant role in defining the exterior of the Riviera GS. They can be found on various elements, such as the front grille, window surrounds, side moldings, door handles, and rear bumper. The chrome trim adds a touch of elegance and complements the car’s overall design.
– Refined Details: Attention to detail is evident throughout the exterior of the Riviera GS. Delicate body creases and subtle character lines enhance the car’s visual appeal. The placement of the Buick emblem on the front grille and the stylish “Riviera” badging on the sides further accentuate its identity.
– Optional Vinyl Roof: Some Riviera GS models featured an optional vinyl roof covering, which added a luxurious and distinctive touch to the design. The vinyl roof extended from the base of the rear window to the end of the trunk, enhancing the car’s upscale appearance.
Engine Power and Performance of the 1966 Buick Riviera GS
The 1966 Buick Riviera GS is equipped with a powerful and capable engine that delivers impressive performance. Here are the key details regarding its powertrain and performance:
– Engine: The Riviera GS is powered by a 425 cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine, often referred to as the “Nailhead” engine. This engine is known for its robustness and smooth power delivery. It features a two-barrel carburetor and a dual exhaust system, contributing to its performance capabilities.
– Power Output: The 425 V8 engine in the Riviera GS produces around 360 horsepower and generates an impressive 465 lb-ft of torque. This power output provides strong acceleration and ensures a thrilling driving experience.
– Acceleration and Speed: The Riviera GS has excellent acceleration for a luxury coupe of its time. It can go from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in around 8 seconds. The top speed of the Riviera GS is approximately 125 mph (201 km/h), allowing for exhilarating highway cruising and overtaking capabilities.
– Transmission: The 1966 Riviera GS is typically equipped with a three-speed automatic transmission, which ensures smooth and effortless gear shifts. The transmission is well-matched to the engine’s power delivery, enhancing the overall driving experience.
– Handling and Ride Quality: The Riviera GS is designed to provide a comfortable and controlled ride. It features a refined suspension system with independent front suspension and a rear solid axle. The GS package includes a stiffer suspension setup, allowing for improved handling and stability during spirited driving.
– Braking System: The braking system of the Riviera GS consists of power-assisted front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. These brakes provide sufficient stopping power, allowing for confident braking performance.
Interior Amenities of the 1966 Buick Riviera GS
The interior of the 1966 Buick Riviera GS offers a luxurious and comfortable environment, complementing its elegant exterior design. Here are the notable interior amenities and features:
– Spacious Cabin: The Riviera GS provides ample room for both the driver and passengers. The front and rear seats offer generous legroom and headroom, ensuring a comfortable seating experience.
– Premium Upholstery: The interior of the Riviera GS features high-quality upholstery materials. Plush fabrics or optional leather trim covers the seats, providing a luxurious and inviting ambiance.
– Stylish Dashboard: The dashboard design of the Riviera GS is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It typically incorporates a combination of wood grain accents, chrome detailing, and elegant instrumentation. The layout is driver-focused, ensuring easy access to controls and gauges.
– Bucket Seats: The Riviera GS is equipped with front bucket seats that provide excellent support and comfort. These seats are often adjustable, allowing drivers to find their preferred seating position.
– Center Console: A center console is present between the front seats, offering additional storage space and housing various controls and features. It may include options such as a clock, air conditioning controls, and audio system controls.
– Power Windows: Power windows were available as an option on the Riviera GS. This feature allows for convenient control of the windows, enhancing the overall comfort and convenience for both the driver and passengers.
– Air Conditioning: The Riviera GS could be equipped with an optional air conditioning system, providing cooling and climate control for a comfortable cabin environment.
– Sound System: The car may feature a factory-installed AM radio, which was a common audio option during that era. However, aftermarket upgrades or optional premium sound systems are available to enhance the audio experience for modern enthusiasts.
– Steering Wheel and Controls: The steering wheel in the Riviera GS is often crafted from wood and chrome, adding a touch of elegance. It incorporates various controls, including horn buttons and optional cruise control, enabling easy operation while driving.
– Luxury Accents: The interior of the Riviera GS may include luxury accents such as wood grain trim, chrome accents, and door panel designs. These details enhance the overall upscale feel of the cabin.
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Safety Features in the 1966 Buick Riviera GS
The 1966 Buick Riviera GS, like many cars of its era, did not have the extensive array of safety features that are standard in modern vehicles. However, it did incorporate some safety measures to provide a level of protection for occupants. Here are the notable safety features found in the 1966 Buick Riviera GS:
– Seat Belts: The Riviera GS was equipped with lap belts for the front occupants. While not as advanced as modern three-point seat belts, they still offered a degree of restraint in the event of a collision.
– Safety Steering Wheel: The steering wheel in the Riviera GS featured a padded center hub, designed to reduce the risk of injury to the driver in the event of a collision.
– Impact Absorbing Structure: The Riviera GS featured a sturdy body structure designed to absorb and distribute impact forces in the event of a crash, providing some level of protection for occupants.
– High Visibility: The large windshield and expansive windows of the Riviera GS provided excellent visibility for the driver, enhancing safety by allowing for better awareness of the surroundings.
– Dual Master Cylinder Brake System: The Riviera GS utilized a dual master cylinder brake system, which provided redundancy and improved safety in case of a brake failure. This feature ensured that braking performance was maintained even if one part of the system experienced a malfunction.
– Emergency Flashers: The Riviera GS was equipped with emergency flashers, allowing the driver to quickly alert other drivers in the event of a roadside emergency or breakdown.
Collectability and Value of the 1966 Buick Riviera GS
The 1966 Buick Riviera GS holds significant collectability and value among classic car enthusiasts. Here are some factors that contribute to its desirability:
– Limited Production: The 1966 Buick Riviera GS was produced in limited numbers, making it a rarer find compared to other mass-produced vehicles of the era. Limited availability adds to its exclusivity and appeal among collectors.
– Stylish Design: The Riviera GS features a distinctive and timeless design that combines elegance with a touch of sportiness. Its sleek lines, hidden headlights, and refined details make it visually appealing and highly sought after by collectors who appreciate its classic beauty.
– Performance and Power: The Riviera GS is equipped with a powerful V8 engine, providing impressive performance and a thrilling driving experience. Its notable power output and acceleration make it desirable for those seeking a combination of luxury and performance in a classic car.
– Iconic Status: The Buick Riviera nameplate has a long-standing reputation and is considered an iconic American luxury car. The Riviera GS, in particular, represents the pinnacle of performance within the Riviera lineup, further enhancing its collectability and value.
– Historical Significance: The 1966 model year is significant for the Buick Riviera as it marked the debut of the second-generation Riviera. This generation featured a refined design and improved performance compared to its predecessor, making the 1966 model a notable part of the Riviera’s history.
– Originality and Condition: The value of a 1966 Buick Riviera GS is greatly influenced by its originality and condition. Well-preserved and unrestored examples are highly sought after, as they showcase the car’s authentic characteristics and original features.
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Conclusion: All in all, the 1966 Buick Riviera GS was a truly impressive vehicle. From its unique styling and iconic lines, to its powerful performance on the road, it set a new standard for luxury cars and continues to be admired by vintage car enthusiasts around the world. If you want an unbeatable classic ride full of style and power, then there’s no better option than the 1966 Buick Riviera GS. So why not take your classic car passion to new heights today – explore the possibilities of owning a 1966 Buick Riviera GS for yourself!
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