Monday, June 4, 2018

Sorta Sporting Siblings for 1986 by Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Buick

General Motors went to a good deal of trouble to differentiate its 1966-67 E-platform cars, as I enthusiastically reported here.  These were the 1966 Buick Riviera, the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado and the Cadillac Eldorado that appeared for the 1967 model year.

Twenty years later, both GM and these models had lost much of their fizz.  From three large, distinctive, desirable (in different ways) cars with a sporting flair, by their 1986 redesign they had become compact, similar-looking, and not-especially-sporty.  Some of this was probably due to General Motors' decline in profitability that affected product development.  Other factors might have been marketing policies of the product planning team in place in the early 1980s and the management practices of Irv Rybicki, head of the styling department.

The designs shown below are not bad aesthetically.  But they were rather bland and offered little in the way of excitement to entice buyers looking for something sporty.


1987 Buick Riviera
This Buick is little changed from 1986, the image showing its typically-Buick vertical-barred grille.  The other cars also had brand-specific front and rear detailing.  The other difference is in the belt lines.  Here we see a slight undulation on the door.

1986 Oldsmobile Toronado
Toronado grilles harked back to the horizontal bar motif of the '66 models that was quickly abandoned.  Here the belt line is scooped rather than undulating.  Side trim is in the form of a rocker panel, as opposed to the mid-level character line found on the Riviera above and Eldorado below.

1986 Cadillac Eldorado
The front includes the traditional (since 1941) Cadillac egg-crate grille.  The belt line is straight, unlike those seen above.

1987 Buick Riviera - "for sale" photo
During the 1986s, Buicks of various kinds had rectangular tail lights similar to those on this car.   Otherwise, this aspect shows nothing much that identifies this as a Buick or Riviera.

1986 Oldsmobile Toronado - "for sale" photo
Another generic rear design.  This car has a mid-lever rub rail similar to the Eldorado's and Riviera's, but simpler.

1986 Cadillac Eldorado - "for sale" photo
Vertical tail lights had been a Cadillac brand theme since the mid-1960s.  The crest with laurel wreath motif was another long-standing Cadillac theme.  The trunk lid has a central vertical crease not found on the Toronado or Riviera.  All this is far removed from the styling of the dashing '68 Eldorado.

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