Conceived by GM styling boss Bill Mitchell, the Silver Arrow III was a dramatic reinterpretation of the production boattail Riviera introduced in 1971.
Just as the fabulous Silver Arrow I show car (read about it here) was based on the production 1963 Buick Riviera, the SIlver Arrow III was based on the production version of the third-generation boattail RIviera introduced in 1971. (There was also a Silver Arrow II based on the second-generation 1970 RIviera, but it barely saw the light of day.) All the Silver Arrows, of course, were the creation of Bill Mitchell, the colorful boss of GM’s design studio from 1958 to 1977.
Much as he did with the Silver Arrow I, Mitchell had the Silver Arrow III extensively modified to more closely resemble its original design studio counterpart (above). The greenhouse and rear quarter panels were reworked and the roofline was lowered to produce a sleeker, more dramatic profile. (For comparison, see our feature on the production 1971 Buick Riviera here.) Other classic Mitchell touches included wire wheels, an ensemble of six rectangular halogen headlamps across the front end, and an exquisitely detailed cockpit in silver leather with bucket seats and console.
Introduced at the 1972 Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Hall, the Silver Arrow III boasted a number of advanced features, including four-wheel disc brakes and Max Trac, an early form of electronic traction control that was offered on the production Riviera as well. Above the backlight at the trailing edge of the roof was a set of high-level warning lamps that also served as secondary directional indicators. Additional show-car touches included a fully chromed and detailed 455 CID Buick V8 under the hood.
When the Silver Arrow III appeared on show floor at Detroit, Chicago, and elsewhere in 1972, we’re not quite sure what the ultimate effect was, except perhaps to throw some shade on the more conservatively styled production Riviera. It is known that Mitchell was quite proud of the two Silver Arrows—here, below, he’s shown posing with the pair. Both Silver Arrow I and Silver Arrow III are still in existence today. -Photos courtesy of General Motors.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.