The Buick Riviera concept unveiled by General Motors Corp. at Auto Shanghai 2007 this week marks the return of a hallowed nameplate for the brand and the next step in its global design revolution.

The 2-seat coupe, which GM says was created with the help of its Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. in China, features gullwing doors and an overall exterior design that advances the styling theme featured in the Enclave cross/utility vehicle just now hitting the market in the U.S.

The Riviera’s carbon-fiber body panels comprise a combination of positive and negative curves that Ed Welburn, vice president-GM Global Design, says capture the essence of Buick.

“The Riviera concept certainly lived up to the nameplate’s reputation,” Welburn says, speaking of the once iconic moniker that has been on hiatus at Buick for the past eight years. GM says it sold more than 1.1 million Rivieras in the U.S. between 1963 and 1999.

“We developed the Riviera to communicate the global design vocabulary of the Buick brand and set the stage for General Motors’ design, engineering and manufacturing centers to work together on the next generation of Buick midsize luxury cars,” Welburn says.

PATAC designers were inspired by such past Buicks as the Y-Job concept of 1938, the 1960s LeSabre and the Riviera coupes of the 1960s and 1970s, GM says.

Inside, the Riviera features a mix of blue and subtle cream colors, playing off of what the auto maker says is an earth and water theme. The roof consists of two shaded glass windows.

The gauges have a 3-dimensional appearance, and the center stack’s display screen is controlled via a console-mounted touchpad modeled on a computer mouse. Light strips along the console and door liner add an icy green glow to the interior.

The Riviera concept sits on a 113.0-in. (287.0-cm) wheelbase and measures 185.4 ins. (471.0 cm) long, 76.4 ins. (194.0 cm) wide and 55.7 ins. (141.5 cm) in height.