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September 18, 2016

Did you know that the 1979 Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado were all designed together, in the same studio? The Eldorado might have become the sales darling of the trio but were you aware that the design effort focused on Riviera and Toronado? Eldorado actually followed their lead.

Moreover, the project’s existence was actually precarious. In fact, before the the three cars were granted new life, there was enough uncertainty surrounding the E-body platform that the studio prepared design contingencies for flexibility——such as plans to use the compact J-body platform. Thankfully, you don’t have to take my word for all this. Instead, you can read for yourself the recollections of Chief Designer David North, as he is interviewed by Darwin Falk of the Toronado Owners Association.

I have the privilege of knowing Mr. North and being friends with him on Facebook. Several months back he posted the following scans of that interview which had been published by the Riviera Owners Association (, in their award winning bi-monthly magazine called the Riview (clever title, huh?).

The Association has granted Autos of Interest permission to reproduce the article in full. Enjoy.

the Riview - cover

the Riview - page 6

the Riview - page 7

the Riview - page 8

It is worth noting that, while not free, membership to the Riviera Owners Association affords access to additional content, including back issues of their magazine. The Director pointed out that it’s been running a series on design, starting with 1960 and currently covering 1977 models.

Special thanks to the Riviera Owners Association for permission to share the article; David North for being interviewed and sharing valuable and entertaining stories; Darwin Falk of the Toronado Owners Association for conducting an excellent interview; and, of course, GM for sharing their images for the article.