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      Car History: Car History Year 1995
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 13:48:50 UTC by Cars
      Cars Opinions about automotive styling are a very subjective matter, something that Buick acknowledged in their Press release for the new 1995 model Riviera. But perhaps not unnaturally the statement went on to say: "...we think you will find this car to be beautiful." Depending on your point of view, that might seem rather presumptuous, although there was no doubt that the Riviera certainly looked striking. Whether it will ever attain the status of a "modern classic" in the same manner as the 1963 Riviera remains to be seen.

    It is the job of any public relations team to hype the company product, and emotive phrases like "highly energized surfaces" and "a hint of mystery" were scattered throughout the Buick media material describing the luxury coupe's styling. However, Riviera exterior design chief William L. Porter was rather more prosaic with his observations, saying: "Essentially, the body is a big ellipse resting on wheels. The theme is reflected in both the front and the rear, in the elliptical grille and elliptical taillamps." He continued by calling the Riviera's shape "muscular, well-balanced and modern - and free from cues that quickly go out of style." The process of arriving at the finished shape for the Riviera was not a straightforward one. The initial plans were to adapt the styling of the Buick Lucerne concept car but, after several months of trying, the changes needed to make the Lucerne's design features fit into the dimensional framework of the Riviera proved to be unworkable and the team had to look elsewhere for a solution. The answer came when Porter's assistant, Andy Hanzel, and a designer named Eric Clough went into work one Saturday and tried taping one of dough's sketches of a grille onto a clay model. Although the faceless, aerodynamic model was only a roughed-in clay without a specific theme, the front-end drawing transformed its appearance and gave the stylists the inspiration they were looking for. Chuck Jordan, then design president, walked through the studio, saw the model, liked it and encouraged them to keep going. Hanzel and Clough began by using tape to mark out shapes on the clay model and the whole thing came together very quickly. A sort of creative frenzy took hold of the entire Riviera team and within a few weeks the design had swept through to its final form. But while body styling can be created by individual improvisations, the engineering and manufacturing of a car requires team-work. This aspect of the new Riviera was developed at the Engineering and Development Center of the Cadillac/Luxury Car Engineering and Manufacturing Division located at Flint, Michigan. The modern approach of using a network of overlapping teams within a single unit is in direct contrast to the old days when projects of this type were run by the "over the wall" method. Put simply, one department would finish its part of the development process, then throw the end result "over the wall" to the next department. Revisions were constant -which in itself added to the cost - and delays were inevitable. And by the time the line workers who actually had to build the car saw the model, it was too late to make even minor changes that would make the thing easier to assemble. The final link in the chain came with the Riviera's optional 3800 supercharged V6 engine. While the standard 3.8-liter V6 unit would use its 205 horsepower to get from zero to 60mph in 9.7 seconds, the 225hp supercharged version cut acceleration time to 60mph down to 8.5 seconds. This level of performance was aimed at a new generation of purchasers, who market research had indicated were the potential buyers of a luxury car like the Riviera coupe. Did the Buick team come up with "a home run" with the Riviera, as designer Bill Porter suggested in an interview when the car was introduced? It's too early to say for sure. Will the recession years of the early 1990s hold the same nostalgia for people in 30 years time as the '60s do today? It seems unlikely, but maybe enough '95 Rivieras will be around in 2025 to prove differently. Specification 1995 BUICK RIVIERA Engine V6 - Cast iron block & head Displacement 231 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.80x3.40 ins. Horsepower 205 Body styles Coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,748 Ibs Price $27,632 Produced 41,422     Specification 1995 CHRYSLER CIRRUS Engine V6- Cast iron block with aluminum head Displacement 152.3 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.29x2.99 ins. Horsepower 164 Body styles 4 No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 3,145 Ibs Price $17,435-$19,365 Produced -     Specification 1995 FORD WINDSTAR Engine V6 - All aluminum Displacement 182 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.50x3.15 ins. Horsepower 200 Body styles Minivan No. of seats 7 Weight (lbs) 4,017 Ibs-4,355 Ibs Price $20,000 Produced -  
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