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September 2, 2017

Die-cast: Automodello’s 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport

by Mark Savage

Riviera was one of the few sleek Buicks, ever …1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport

I can still remember the first time I saw a Buick Riviera. As a kid, I was wowed. Its sleek lines, the headlights canted forward to make it look fast and sporty. There was just something about it that oozed elegance and class, and a bit of speed too!

Automodello brings us a bevy of new 1965 Riviera Gran Sport models to fulfill any collector’s fantasies about owning one. These are 1/24 scale resin models that continue Automodello’s tradition of creating beautifully finished models that fit well in any plastic car modeler’s collection.

Like variety? Automodello delivers the Riviera in seven colors and in various quantities, from the snazzy Astro Blue with 299 models made, to the Enthusiasts Editions in Arctic White, Flame Red with black top and interior, and Burgundy Mist with black interior. Just 19 will be made of each Enthusiasts Edition.

There also is an Homage Edition in Regal Black, with 24 models made, and two Tribute Editions in Verde Green and Sahara Mist, with just 50 of each made.1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport

The History

Riviera had a cool name, for starts, sounding elegant and decidedly European. Reportedly GM’s top stylist, Bill Mitchell, drew his inspiration from the roofline and rear deck of a Rolls-Royce and its nose from Ferrari grand touring coupes of the day.  But he also included headlights hidden behind grilles in the fenders.

Buick got the nod to offer the car, which originally was designed to compete with Ford’s Thunderbird. There were no hidden headlights on the first Riviera, but by 1965 they worked properly with a clamshell-style covers.1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport

Gran Sport, as modeled here, debuted in 1965 with dual 4-barrel carbs on a 425 cu.in. nail-head V8. That boosted horsepower to 360, up 20 from the standard V8. Plus the suspension was stiffened and steering was firmed up for a sportier feel.

It turns out 1965 was the watershed year for Riviera, with 34,586 sold, about 10% being the better performing Gran Sport.

The Model

We had blue, green and white models to inspect. Hard to pick a favorite, but probably green. No, wait, blue!1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport

All are beautifully finished with gloss paint jobs that Buick would have been proud to claim in the 1960s, plus all are perfectly proportioned and crisply cast.  Just look at the fenders’ peaks and seam lines for the hood, trunk and doors.

There’s chrome a plenty too, with thick full chrome bumpers front and rear and a beautifully detailed photo-etched Buick grille. There’s chrome PE surrounding all the windows, including the small vent windows, plus chrome trim over the wheel wells and along each side of the car and just above the black ridged rocker panel trim.

Automodello includes a fine small Buick hood ornament with chrome center hood trim and finely etched chrome vents just before the windshield with its PE wiper stalks. Door handles and driver’s side mirror are chrome as is the antenna nub on the passenger’s side fender.

Taillights are thin red bars and tires are white-sidewalled. There also are twin chrome-tipped exhausts. Riviera PE script logos are on the trunk and both side’s front quarter panels, plus red Gran Sport logos.1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport

Inside the model has realistic thickly ridged cushioned seats, green in the green car, blue in the blue and black in the white model.  There’s a sharp-looking wood-look steering wheel and console with chromed shift lever. The Buick has a printed instrument panel and the driver’s side window is posed down, while the passenger’s side is up.

Beautiful in any color, this is another gem from Automodello.

Vital Stats: 1965 Buick Riviera

Maker: Automodello

Scale: 1/24

Stock No.: AM24-BUI-R65, (blue), R65-TE-VG (green), R65- EE-AW (white)

MSRP: $299.99 (blue), $365.99 (green), $465.99 (white)

Link: Automodello.com or Diecasm.com

 

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