September 23, 2020
Came upon this nice 1951 Buick Super Riviera a few weeks ago at a car show at St. Gabriel’s Church in Elma. Confusingly, the Super shared the shorter, 121.5-inch wheelbase of the less expensive Special, but somehow shared a body with the larger Roadmaster, which rode on a wheelbase of 126.25 inches. To further confuse things, Buick normally used the term Riviera to denote its two-door pillarless hardtops, but… the Super Riviera Sedan was not only not a two-door hardtop, but it had a 125.5-inch wheelbase which it didn’t share with any other model. The Roadmasters all had a wheelbase of 126.25 inches, except of course for the Roadmaster Riviera Sedan (also not a two-door hardtop), which rode on what Buick referred to as “…a strapping wheelbase of 130.25 inches.” Imagine trying to keep all that straight as a salesperson! The front ends of all the series retained Buick’s toothy grin (below), which would finally give way to a much more complicated design for MY 1958.
Jim Corbran, RRofWNY
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