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 Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera

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al_roethlisberger
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PostSubject: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:55 pm


So, the recent purchase of my 1995 Riviera being my first up-close experience with this generation, I've not only grown to really like the car, I've noticed some design choices that I personally think are interesting, if not odd.

I'm not picking on the design, as overall I think it is a very nice interior in the context of 1995, but some of these raise my eyebrow neutral 

Here are a few:

1) Soooooo much monochrome, and often hard, plastic. I know this is not news smile The reviews of the day said as much, especially for the price. But honestly, it just has to be said rolleyes 

2) The faux stitching on the INSIDE of the door pull handles, where it can't be seen unless the handle is broken off of the door panel. One could suggest that the designers were going for a tactile versus visual effect, and maybe that is true. But it is odd.

3) The speedo/tach and other cluster gauges are not centered to the steering wheel. This is not unique to the Riviera, but given the symmetrical design of the gauges, the off-center nature is really highlighted. I realize that the swoopy dashboard design is probably a contrbutor that dictated this design. But I think they also could have figured out something to line it all up.

4) Both turn signal indicators are in the tach, at the far left, not really that easy to see. Often in a "dual pod" symmetrical design like our dash, the turn signal indicators are arranged such that the left is in the left gauge pod (tach in our case), and the right is in the right (speedo). Or the signals are grouped somehow in-between, as it was on the 1963-1965 dash. Ours just look odd (to me) both over in the tach.



Not to pile on, but anything else? wink 

Al

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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:26 pm

I've always thought the combination of round vents on the dash and door, and the central cylinder vents was interesting. Most cars use one shape or the other. Very functional, though.

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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:01 pm

IMO It reminds me alot of the 70's Corvette interior styling.
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:12 pm

It is retro to the early 60's Riviera. (and other Buicks)
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:28 pm

Yes, lots of plastic. But mine's blue, which I particularly like, so that doesn't bother me.

I agree totally on the weirdness of the turn signal indicators, though. I couldn't even find them when I first got the car--I was looking everywhere else.

I also think the wheel blocks too much of the instruments--pretty much everything to the left and right of the main gauges.

But you get used to it all. Part of the car's character, I guess.
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:27 pm

sburch23 wrote:
It is retro to the early 60's Riviera. (and other Buicks)
Might have been cool if they would have used a ribbed silver/stainless dash treatment like the old Electra/Riviera dash from 63-64.

I think there was some legislation about brightwork on dashboards, or maybe manufacturers just became concerned about litigation, as I read somewhere that one of the reasons (along with fashion and cost) that a lot of chrome gimmickery of the 50-60s interiors, esp the dash, were rolled back to reduce glare and driver distraction. I don't know if that is true, but dashboards certainly did lose a lot of their chrome by the mid/late 60s and it has never come back.

Since I have to repaint the guage panel/dash, console top and door "swooshes" due the failure of the plastic blue coating, I had thought about painting them silver or "chrome" but it didn't look very good when I imagined it. There just isn't enough chrome/SS in the interior to make it work well IMHO. So I'll be painting those pieces black. Someone else did that on the board and it looks pretty sharp.

Al
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:25 pm

Monochrome interiors were big in the mid '90s, especially with sport sedans. Just look at the Euro & especially Japanese imports from the time: mostly single color, no contrast. You see it in BMWs, Lexus, even Mazdas and Nissan. Buick avoided using chrome and contrasting accents because they wanted to be "on trend" with what consumers of sport sedans and coupes were looking to buy. It seems odd now because the trends soon changed to include sharp contrast, chrome, and more materials: wood, brushed metals, etc. But at that time, going retro with a classic interior look didn't make sense from a marketing/sales standpoint.

And once again, the import lux cars led in introducing these new materials in the early '00s, probably in response to the domestics, who had since caught up. To differentiate, cars like MB, Audi, BMW, Infinity and Lexus were now moving back to embellished interiors with new materials and more contrast. To be fair, the big 3 were rolling out their neo-retro novelty cars at about the same time, so it only fit to follow suit.

It could have easily gone the other way. If monochrome interiors had stayed in style, we could say the Riv was an part of reinforcing that trend, and we might even call Riviera a design leader in the this area. They took a big chance here, even if it seems they were taking the "safe" route. It's all relative to how the market preference moves. It's very difficult to know where buyers' preferences will be in 10-15 years.

I actually prefer the minimal, monochrome color look. It represents the last of the unique interior choice options for cars (excepting, say, the MINI). You could get probably a dozen different colors for Riviera by '99, and it looked sporty and purposeful, not decorative. Nowadays, most cars offer a choice of black, grey or tan, and you don't often get to mix and match interior/exterior colors like in the past. They come off the line with preselected int/ext color options. That wouldn't work so well with monochrome color schemes like in the Riviera - it would seem very obvious that you get only a few choices: grey, black, or tan. But because of the assorted details and materials, and chrome, buyers feel like their getting something more sophisticated, even though it's really just gray, black, or tan + a few accents.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch

^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
Because cool


'95 Celica • 152k miles • 0-60: yes
Because free
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:42 am

Other than what's been mentioned, I'd say the biggest "wtf, designers?" thing in the Riv is that there's an oval section on each of the doors that's made up of leather padding, but the similar-looking oval sections on the rear seating area's "walls" are plastic (or whatever you want to call it)... not leather. I'm talking about the oval shape that looks like it's been embossed on the rear seating area walls/arm rests.

I've had several ppl comment on this, actually. I mean, we had a Buick Century that had leather on the doors in both the front and the back. The Riv took a step back there & it seems cheap.
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:44 am

I really like our interior. I think it looks great, I just wish there was a way to make it less creaky and squeaky. The door handles and the door panels seem to have a difficult time staying in place. Also I agree about the rear plastic ovals not being leather.

I agree with Aaron that the color choices were awesome back in the day. It added character that new cars just don't have. You'd never see a new car with a teal interior. Also with new cars, they work hard at styling to make cars look attractive and aggressive with sharp lines and fancy lights, but the overall shape of most of these cars just don't appeal to me as much as older cars from the 90's and earlier. Look at what is considered a small car today and compare it to a small car from the 90's or earlier. One example is the cobalt vs the cavalier. The cobalt is styled more nicely, but the shape of the car is too tall. Even the Honda civic looks bulky today next to an older compact car.
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:49 pm


Yep, am a fan of the interesting interior color choices of years past. Tan, black and gray are nice options, but do miss the weird greens, blues, reds, browns... etc

Was looking at a late 70s Oldsmobile, like new, just last year with this very odd avocado green velour interior. It was great.

My 1980 had a fantastic burgundy velour interior.

Al
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:47 pm

The huge numbers on the tach and speedo make me feel like I'm reading a large print book, like the car was designed to be sold to old people, and it looks pretty silly in an otherwise classy interior.

Also I know it's supposed to block the sun, but not a fan of the giant plastic overhang that covers the entire dash, although at least they integrated it into the side sills, which looks pretty nice and lends a "cockpit" look. Overall a very nice interior though, worlds apart from the cheap plastic drivel pontiac was turning out at the time.
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:18 pm

I completely respect your opinion but ah, now this is interesting and goes to how individually subjective this can be smile

I actually like the font of the gauges and have commented on it to my kids.  It is a nice departure from the now more common "clock" appearance of most gauges these days, which I have liked, but is almost ubiquitous now.  I actually think it would be cool to see the long horizontal or rolling cylinder gauges again after having grown so tired of them over previous decades razz 

I also really like the dash overhang that is throwback to the original Riviera dash design.  Although not exactly the same, my friend has a newer Taurus and is also has some dash "eyebrows" which adds a lot of interest.



Zep wrote:
Other than what's been mentioned, I'd say the biggest "wtf, designers?" thing in the Riv is that there's an oval section on each of the doors that's made up of leather padding, but the similar-looking oval sections on the rear seating area's "walls" are plastic (or whatever you want to call it)... not leather. I'm talking about the oval shape that looks like it's been embossed on the rear seating area walls/arm rests.

I've had several ppl comment on this, actually. I mean, we had a Buick Century that had leather on the doors in both the front and the back. The Riv took a step back there & it seems cheap.

Now this I TOTALLY agree with.  I noticed this right away when we got the 95 a few months ago.  I have toyed with pulling the panels, cutting out the "oval" and having it upholstered but the teal leather may be hard to match.

And with the 95 even the front door panel "leather" bolster looks a bit cheap since it is completely smooth.  I don't know if they changed it in 96 or 97, but definitely 98 and 99 changed this design to a "bunched" leather treatment to I believe highlight the leather/vinyl door panel.

Al
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:30 pm

I'm not so sure about that because yours is one of only a very few I've seen (mine included) with smooth door padding. I've just assumed that the rumpled looking ones on other cars were that way because of age? My uncle had a regal that started smooth in the doors and became that way over time... Correct me if I'm wrong here because I've been very curious
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:53 pm

llamalor2112 wrote:
I'm not so sure about that because yours is one of only a very few I've seen (mine included) with smooth door padding. I've just assumed that the rumpled looking ones on other cars were that way because of age? My uncle had a regal that started smooth in the doors and became that way over time... Correct me if I'm wrong here because I've been very curious
I just pulled out my 1998 Riviera brochure, and it shows an overhead interior shot with the door panel bolsters "bunched".

Al
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:58 pm

Haha! Weird, my apologies then. I'll throw that into the ring of odd choices then. I see the smooth ones called cheap looking but to my eyes the bunched ones look worn and abused. Huh.. Never knew that.

As for my uncles regal, well I guess he's just a sweaty guy who opens his doors with his elbows lol 
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:03 pm

llamalor2112 wrote:
Haha! Weird, my apologies then. I'll throw that into the ring of odd choices then. I see the smooth ones called cheap looking but to my eyes the bunched ones look worn and abused. Huh. Never knew that.

As for my uncles regal, well I guess he's just a sweaty guy who opens his doors with his elbows haha
Oh, I completely agree that it would look better if they both are/were bunched or both smooth.  Mixing them accentuates and calls attention to the fact the rear ones are hard plastic smile

I think it would be reasonably simple to get a pair of donor rear panels and cut the "oval" out and then have it covered with vinyl or leather to match the front doors.

If I had a choice I'd choose to either make both front ad rear look "bunched" or if remaining "smooth" choose a contrasting color for the set so whatever is chosen it looks consistent front and rear.

Al
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:13 pm

Interesting. I'm lucky enough to have a nice flat black interior so I might just steal your idea for the rears. hmmmm
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:24 pm

Quote :
The huge numbers on the tach and speedo make me feel like I'm reading a large print book, like the car was designed to be sold to old people, and it looks pretty silly in an otherwise classy interior.
The car was designed for the 50-up crowd, but the dash lettering was well ahead of its time:










_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch

^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
Because cool


'95 Celica • 152k miles • 0-60: yes
Because free
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:07 am

al_roethlisberger wrote:

...

3)  The speedo/tach and other cluster gauges are not centered to the steering wheel.  This is not unique to the Riviera, but given the symmetrical design of the gauges, the off-center nature is really highlighted.  I realize that the swoopy dashboard design is probably a contrbutor that dictated this design.  But I think they also could have figured out something to line it all up.

Al

Damn, dude!
I would never (and I didn't) notice that by myself, now I can't take my eyes off it!! shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:12 pm

DeepFrozen wrote:
al_roethlisberger wrote:

...

3)  The speedo/tach and other cluster gauges are not centered to the steering wheel.  This is not unique to the Riviera, but given the symmetrical design of the gauges, the off-center nature is really highlighted.  I realize that the swoopy dashboard design is probably a contrbutor that dictated this design.  But I think they also could have figured out something to line it all up.

Al

Damn, dude!
I would never (and I didn't) notice that by myself, now I can't take my eyes off it!!  shocked

Speedo and tach etc not centered?!? - check how you're sitting. You might be too far left. Seriously.
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PostSubject: Re: Odd interior design choices on the 95-99 Riviera   Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:03 am


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