From Boat-Tail to Muscle Flanks: The Revolutionary Design of the 1971 Riviera Muscle Car – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

From Boat-Tail to Muscle Flanks: The Revolutionary Design of the 1971 Riviera Muscle Car


The year 1971 marked a significant milestone in the history of the Buick Riviera, an iconic luxury car produced by General Motors (GM) since 1963. Under the direction of GM’s chief styling director, Bill Mitchell, the Riviera underwent a radical redesign that introduced flowing and dramatic “boat-tail” styling, which was penned by Jerry Hirshberg, the future head of design for Nissan.



Despite its bold and innovative design, the Riviera’s controversial styling irked automotive writers of the time. The boat-tail rear and muscular rear flanks were particularly contentious, but the fastback roof line and massive rear window were overlooked due to the spaciousness of the coupe, which could comfortably seat five people.


One of the most significant changes made to the 1971 Riviera was the installation of GM’s mightiest engine, the 455, which provided ample power to the car. However, due to EPA mandates, GM had to reduce the power to 255 hp with 265 hp in the Gran Sport by lowering compression ratio. Higher options could increase the massive V8 power to 330 while retaining the car’s quiet and smooth ride.


The 1971 Riviera also featured GM’s “Full-Flo” ventilation system and two large deck lid louvers. Soft-Ray tinted glass, all-vinyl bench seats with custom trim or front buckets (which made them a little plasticky) and tilt steering came as standard. The car’s daring lines included a thrusting, pointed grille, a 122 in wheelbase (longer than previous Rivieras), muscular rear flanks that flow into boat-tail rear, which distinguished the ’71 Rivieras.


Ultimately, the 1971 Riviera marked a bold new direction for Buick’s luxury car line, pushing the boundaries of design and establishing it as a classic American muscle car. Today, these cars remain highly sought after by collectors who appreciate their unique styling and powerful performance.


[Fancy_Facebook_Comments_Pro width="650"]
If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Design You Trust Facebook page. You won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Once in Harlem: Intimate Portraits of Harlem Residents Taken by Japanese Photographer Katsu Naito
Unusual Japanese Sunglasses of 1966
Fascinating Photos of Chicago’s Tri-Taylor Neighborhood From 1971
Marilyn Monroe Wishing You All a Happy Fourth of July
Fabulous Found Photos Of An Unknown Man Posing With Hollywood’s Finest At The Oscars And More In 1994
Cars of New York City: Snapshots from The 1970s and Early 1980s
Bad Girls: Movie Posters of Dangerous Dames, Sizzling Sirens, and Gun-Toting Gals
The Albee Rolligon: An Innovative Transport Truck From the 1950s
Mercedes-Benz Announces New Sprinter Concept Campervan in Düsseldorf
Fun In The Water: 20 Interesting Vintage Pictures Of Surfers From The Early 20th Century
The Crotch Cannon: A More Natural Way To Perform A Snow Job
Soviet Hooligans: Goths, Punks And Metalheads Of The USSR
R1: Innovative Three-Section Low Floor Tram
Meet Romain Courtois, an Artist Who Creates Modern Pixel Art with a Vintage Twist
Rare Weird And Funny Pictures Show Hilarious Side Of Victorian Era Life
1934 Peugeot 601 Eclipse, the First Automatic Retractable Hardtop for an Automobile
Men Behaving Badly On Saucy Vintage Postcards
In 1980, American Express Teamed Up With DeLorean To Produce A 24K Gold Plated DMC-12, But Only Two Were Sold!
Vintage, Rare, Candid, Funny, Beautiful, Weird And Awesome Celebrity Photos
“Auto Polo”: The Ridiculously Dangerous Auto Sport Of The Early 1900s
Vanity’s Heaven: Spectacular Retro Inspired Collages by Moon Patrol
Beautiful Vintage Portraits of Björk in the 1980s
Dutch Impressionist Painter George Hendrik Breitner Took His Camera Onto The Streets Of Amsterdam In The 1890s
Vintage Propaganda Posters of Spanish Civil War in 1937