Leaky Barn Victim: 1965 Riviera Gran Sport

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

The Buick Riviera remains one of the prettier cars to come out of Detroit, but they don’t often stay that way as the years wear on. This Riviera comes with the desirable Gran Sport package but has been stored for so long that it’s becoming a bigger project than the price tag might indicate. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $14,500. 

First, the good news: the Riviera appears to be quite solid on the inside, which is a huge plus given the interior is a very nice place to spend time if kept in good shape. Plus, there’s plenty of surfaces and materials that can begin to deteriorate if stored in damp or exposed conditions. The Riviera still strikes me as a high-point in American design and execution, which is why it’s a shame this one has been stored in a barn with a porous roof.

The seller says it will need paint due to the roof conditions, but check out that engine bay – holy heck, that’s a lot of surface rust. I know surface-level corrosion isn’t the end of the world, but anyone who wants to restore this car is going to have to remove many, many pieces of the motor for re-conditioning. And since the engine is the heart and soul of the Gran Sport package, this is one area the next owner will not want to skimp on.

The seller is asking for nearly $15K to own this project, and based on the feedback comments in the listing, it appears some buyers have taken issue with the price. The seller has responded that he’s received multiple offers, but apparently none close enough to the listed number to get the job done. If I were closer, I’d love to see what else is in this storage area and parked alongside the Riviera. In the meantime, what do you think it will take to bring this GS back to top form?

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Comments

  1. Jim Mc

    Take a look at pic 11/12. Remains of under-hood insulation gathered at windshield line. Must have gotten wet at some point and soaked the whole engine bay.

    Or….anybody got anything more plausible?

    Interior is nice!

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    • Chas

      Yeah. Nice love that stuff, and if there are nice, you can get that they urinated all over the interior, trunk and engine bay.

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    • Tommy

      MICE think it’s NICE!

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  2. Rustytech

    This is priced as a #3 Driver quality car. It looks closer to a restorable #5 car. I’d value it in the $4500 to $7000 range. I saw a 1966 sell near me last Apr for just over $5k and it was in better shape than this one. There’s a lot of surface rust in the engine compartment, what’s the bottom look like? Seller mut know he’s going to owe back taxes. Ha Ha

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    • al8apex

      a 66 is not the same as a 63-65

      May as well compare a 4 door Aspen – it means nothing

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      • Keith

        Amen to that. I love almost all Rivs, but a 66 is nothing like a 65 GS in desirability.

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      • ToniM

        Agreed. LOVE the 63-65, particularly 65 GS Rivs. The only other one I have even passing interest in, and I really only like half of it, is the boattail.

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  3. Bob Kennedy

    Who had the same Aurora Model Motoring Rivie? My brother butchered mine by cutting the rear wheel wells to fit “AJ’s” silicone slicks! The horror!

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Me! Unbutchered, though 🙂

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    • Car Guy

      Mine was Turquoise. I could not bear to modify it so it rolled around my track on it’s oh so skinny tires. It survived intact till I gave all of them to my nephew.
      Wish I had never done that…………

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  4. RoneBee

    Love Jones….but the price is to high, this is the car they drove in “Goodfellas” after torching that place……..

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  5. Blindmarc

    Even with 2×4 induction, this guy is about 10 g’s over what it’s worth. A lot of work here, and it isn’t even running.

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    • Brian B

      Now someone has struck the right price. You can buy pretty nice examples in the low 20s. I agree with the earlier comment. It is a #5

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  6. Mike

    $14,500 is the starting bid not the buy it now…

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  7. slickimp

    That’s a shame to see that happen to a car that’s in side way too much$for a none running car. But the 2 4bbl set up is nice & rare

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  8. jcs

    Usually when you see that much surface rust on the engine, engine components and engine bay, you can figure that you will be dealing with at least some seized engine components and possibly a seized engine. Interesting to note that only pictures of hood have pieces of Styrofoam stacked on it. When the Styrofoam is removed to open the hood, no picture. The interior looks fairly nice. Although this is the Gran Sport, considering the number of rather expensive questions about this car, I think that $14,500 is on the steep side. And Mike is correct: $14,500 is the opening bid, NOT a Buy It Now price.

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  9. JW

    From the looks of wood trim pieces laying against the red car and whatever else is going on in that barn the seller doesn’t worry about how he stores his cars. I just seen a maroon one of these in front of a bodyshop in Sandwhich, Illinois coming home from Christmas vacation that looked a whole lot better than this but didn’t stop to see if it was for sale because the better half was with me.

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  10. Don E

    You’ll be soooo far upside down in this project! The nicest one on the planet sold at NJ for $66,000, with $122k into it…..

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  11. geoff a

    So has this guy been looking at Gullwing Motor Cars or Beverly Hills Car Club for prices or maybe he watched to many Barrett Jackson auctions.Clearly he has been smoking something. Car is a mess. I can smell the mouse droppings from here. Who stores their vintage automobiles like this? There ought to be a law.

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  12. charles in HOU

    The engine bay looks like a car that has been under water, not rained on! It does appear to have an old Texas plate on the front. I can’t verify with the inspection sticker on the windshield. Better be careful with this rust bucket!

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    • D. King

      I agree, Charles. Or maybe he stored it upside-down? Notice how the engine rust is coming up from underneath! Looks like a flood car to me, although the interior doesn’t. Definitely a vintage Texas plate.

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  13. Ck

    Dalton would buy this thing in a minute, as long as it came with a couple of extra tires .

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  14. Bob Hess

    Since we live right in the middle of Hurricane Alley I can tell you that engine compartment looks like every salt water flooded car I’ve ever seen.

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  15. Richard Prokopchuk

    When I was a kid, our family doctor bought one of these. It was astounding in my mind and still is my number two most favorite US car, after the Continental Mk II.

    As to the car my doctor bought, his teen aged son took it for a drunken joy ride one night. He slammed into the steep bank to the side of the road, and the body separated from the frame and continued on down the road a piece. The young men were so lucky. The impact of the car and bank was so great that both of the front seat belts shredded and broke at some point, but the teens were almost scratch free. The car, not so much. What a great design. If Buick wants an oldie to copy today, I’d vote for this car.

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  16. Jay

    Starting at the open bid and the apparent overall visuals that are given there is no way not to insult the owner. $3000-$4000 is about the price it’s worth.

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  17. Car Guy

    Too bad it was stored so poorly. That my favorite Rive. Looks like the Fiero’s next to it were not in the direct path of the leaky roof.

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  18. newfieldscarnut

    You could drive a motorhome up the road and get better fuel mileage than this gas hog .

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    • Keith

      Who cares about gas mileage in a 65 Grand Sport?

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  19. John P

    Look at the Pontiac the seller has listed.. Some great disproportion in the pricing unless they feel the 425 in this Riviera is super-rare??

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  20. Dan h

    Dude, it would take you less than 60 seconds to remove the foam insulation stacked on the hood…..but obviously you know this because of the engine shots.

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  21. Nomader

    I am the un-abashed owner of subject Riviera. First the car has never been in a flood or under salt water. I’ve been collecting cars since 1960, mostly Nomads and try-five convert. and H.T.’s. from Calf, Ariz, Texas, Kansas, etc, for a retirement supplement. My biggest mistake was when I retired in 1995, I had 35 collector vehicles, and got involved in other ventures instead of falling my plan to restore these cars. Had three storage buildings one of which had a non-steel roof. After surviving medical issues, I discovered that raccoons had invaded the shingle roof and devastated 4 of 15 cars. Riviera was least damaged. ( no insurance ). No signs of mice (or nice) but a lot of moisture from rain and snow. I built a fourth pole barn and moved all 15 cars into it. Took pics. under hood after moving. I could have sanded parts under hood and rattle canned them to make it look better but I’d rather be honest. Car was beautiful when I bought it in Tex, and yes, I should be hung for letting happen, but it is what it is. Come look before you comment, it really is better than it looks in pics. P.S. Wood trim is stacked against the wall, not the Fiero.

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    • John P

      Please then–hear the commentary and understand that on an auction site which EBay is intended to be, that you’ll actually generate bidding interest at a palpable starting point.. The car is no longer the beauty she may have once been or could be–and your price is sort of nutty.. You’d have been best off having the car professionally detailed and buffed even and maybe even running to fetch “real” money.. I’m not being harsh in my opinion–sometimes as men we have to be direct and to the point..

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  22. Jay

    Thanks for your story and honesty about your life and the subject Rivera.
    Happy New Year.

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  23. Nomader

    John P. Thanks for your opinion and I hear you. I thought I should put my asking price as a starting price to avoid scams and tire kickers who have no idea of what this special car is. I can’t be too far off, as I have had many real close offers. I still have twelve of my “investment” cars left to sell and I don’t have to ( want to ) give them away. If I haven’t sold by the time auction is over, if I’m still able, I’ll take your advice and do some labor on it and new pics to include #s, under side, etc. I just wish my kids lived close to help me with this process. ToniM: I just sold 3 boat tails, and went to Germany. Richard Pro. I still have a 1956 cont. Mark ll with 44,000 miles. Funny how great minds work alike. HA HA.

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    • Keith

      Ebay is a tricky thing my friend. I’ve sold a few cars on there over the years and here’s my $.02:
      I’ve had some luck with the Buy It Now or Best Offer option, but only occasionally. The pluses to this are you can counter offer and perhaps come to an agreed price. Minuses are that you get a lot of ludicrous low-ball offers, and that if you have a “high” BIN price (say, anything over $10k) far less people ever see your listing.
      A high starting price is what I have had the worst luck with. These auctions, in my experience, are a waste of time. Why? Because people generally start their “car search” from low price to high price. So, if you’re at $14,500, you’re sometimes 50 or more pages back from the start of the person’s search. Long and short: the potential buyer just never sees your ad (and you still get charged $65 by Ebay).
      The method I’ve had most luck with is with a starting bid of $100 and a reserve price. This seems to get the most eyes on your listing and the most bids.
      Again, just my $.02 having listed quite a few cars on Ebay. Good luck!

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    • Jay

      These old classic’s are very tricky. I’ve had a couple old Buick’s even took a check from a dentist with a letter from a bank. Much younger then. Wish I could help you get them all ready to sell if that is what you must do. I have been scammed by ebay and PayPal numerous times. Didn’t even look at your eBay posting. Truly Nomander, please hire you someone to help you man if you are unable to do the things on your cars. They deserve it and you need to get some if not all your investments back. Just one mans opinion.

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