1963 BUICK RIVIERA SILVER ARROW BACKGROUND
After lackluster sales in 1962, Buick was in need of a change and Ned Nickles’ Riviera seemed the answer. The design, initially offered to Cadillac, came to GM Chief of Design Bill Mitchell while visiting England. He found himself transfixed with the sight of a Rolls-Royce engulfed in softening fog. Upon his return, Mitchell asked longtime Buick designer Nickles, who was responsible for Buick styling trademarks like the port holes, sweep spear, and hardtop coupes, to create the first drawing. The result was an instant classic for Buick as it married the sportiness of a Ferrari with the luxury of a Rolls-Royce.
The 1963 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow is different from the other one-of-a-kind vehicles featured at the Sloan Museum as it is a modification of a production vehicle. Modified to Mitchell’s specifications, the Silver Arrow as to be his personal driver. The car featured a roof lowered by two inches and corresponding deeper seats, as well as a new grille cover, special silver interior, custom two-tone silver exterior, new “bullet-type” side mirrors, and countless other modifications that separated the executives’ car from one off the Flint line.
One of the major modifications was that the Riviera’s standard 401 V8 was replaced with the optional 425 V8, but details as small as custom ash trays, and extending the shifting knob were also completed by the Buick interior and exterior studios in Warren.
Today, this gorgeous piece of automotive history, the 1963 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow, resides in the Sloan Museum in Flint MI.