'55 Buick Riviera
A very special 55What if Buick Motor Company had access to today's technology in 1955? What would the 1955 Buick look like and drive like? I suspect it would look much like it looked back then. At least from the outside. Classic 1950's style was 1950's style, after all. Tailfins and chrome were the minimum criteria to win the hearts and pocketbooks of purchasers of the time. There's a reason why we are all drawn to cars of this era, especially Buicks. Thank Harley Earl for that.
The outside of a new 50's Buick should not change. It should look stock and reflect the unique style and character of automobiles of that decade.
Autoweek says this about a 55 Buick: "...acceleration of the 3800-pound behemoth is best described as majestic, as are the ride and handling, i.e. bobbing and weaving. Steering response is just as leisurely, so directional changes must be anticipated well in advance. Ditto for braking. The overall impression is of piloting a large seagoing vessel."
But, if GM had access to today's technology back in '55, there would be vast differences in engineering, performance, and handling. It would have a modern power plant with electronic fuel injection, disk brakes, and modern electronics. The suspension would be completely upgraded to state-of-the-art.
And what about creature comforts? The Sonomatic was quaint, but lacked oomph, if you know what I mean. Also, Air Conditioning was an option on Buicks of the era, but these units filled much of the trunk. This car deserves the finest, modern, reliable, comfort accessories.
That's really the car I wanted. A car of the future with the flair of the past. It is now the car I have set out to build.
The cardinal rules of the design were:
- Must look stock
on the outside
- Should look
stock on the inside
- Will be a daily
- Must last
“years and years” and withstand Santa Cruz salt air
- Must run and feel like a new car
- Cadillac ride
The important thing to note here is that this is not a body off frame restoration. This is building a new car with the latest technology. All you have to do is step on the gas, open the hood or turn on the "radio" for proof. This is not your father's car, as they say.
I encourage you to explore the Build Timeline to get an appreciation for the care and effort that went into creating this beautiful car. Also, be sure to click on the "Cool Features" above right to get a glimpse of the features that have turned this classic into a legend.