This Car and Track test is a bit of a departure from the vintage "super car wring-outs" we are used to from the show. Instead of a muscle car with a little bit of luxury, the 1972 Buick Riviera GS is a luxury car with a little bit of muscle.
Even though this week's Riviera GS was built with luxury in mind, host Bud Lindemann and the Road and Track test crew didn't hesitate to test it as they would any of Detroit's late 1960s/early 1970s purpose built performance machines. In this vintage track test you get to see the 4500 pound Buick flying through pylon courses, tackling straight line acceleration tests, and drifting around the test. Lindemann points out "It's kind of rare to get wheel spin from a 4500 pound plushmobile like (the Riviera) but we did."
The Riviera was applauded by Lindemann for its excellent handling characteristics and performance. While the 455 V8 produced adequate straight line acceleration, it was the Buick's handling that stuck out. The big car's handling ability can be largely attributed to the optional GS suspension package that was "an option at very little cost and worth every additional cent." This point was driven home by some excellent land yacht drifting, which we deem worthy of the "Luxury car wring-out" title.
With the performance and handling of the luxury Riviera making the car "one of the best Buicks" Car and Track had ever tested, Lindemann complained only about the cost to purchase the car. According to the host "the window sticker on this car was so long we couldn't raise the window high enough to read the whole price" and the hefty price was Car and Track's "biggest objection to the entire car." If you could afford the price of admission, the 1972 Buick Riviera was otherwise a mixture of performance and "luxury with a capital L" hard to beat at the time.