Touchscreen Included: 1989 Buick Riviera

This 1989 Buick Riviera is a low-mileage survivor to the tune of having just 14,000 miles on the clock. Wearing glossy paint, wire wheels and a matching landau roof, the 1989-1993 Rivieras were handsome personal luxury coupes that righted some of the wrongs of the previous model year’s downsizing efforts. Find this clean coupe here on eBay where it is listed with an $11,000 Buy-It-Now and the option to make a best offer. 

This generation of the Riviera (along with some of GM’s corporate twins to this vehicle) introduced the industry’s first touchscreen system in a modern passenger car. It controlled basic functions like the A/C and the radio controls, and when it worked, it was impressive technology for the day. But when it didn’t, the repair estimates could be quite costly. With such low mileage, I’m sure this “optional $1,000 radio” has plenty of touches left to take. Note the period car phone!

Ah, the venerable 3800. Absolutely nothing wrong with this motor, but not exactly exotic if you’re into that sort of thing. Still, it will provide decent power and years of reliable running at such low mileage. The only downside to this mill is the heritage factor: Rivieras were known for their size and power. Anything but a V8 seemed to miss the point of the swoopy coupe, and despite being re-designed and lengthened by 11 inches, the refreshed Riviera entered a sales decline shortly after strong first-year sales in 1989.

If you’re going to buy one, you may as well buy the best. Values are low, so a turnkey creampuff like this one makes sense to us if you’re on the hunt. Best offers usually indicate some wiggle room on price, so a $9,500 sale would seem like a potential sweet spot to go home with a reliable, classic coupe that will provide years of trouble-free motoring. Values likely won’t escalate rapidly any time soon, but if the next owner keeps his mileage to 1,000 or so per year, they won’t lose any money, either.

Fast Finds


  1. King Al

    If this was all factory, then it would be a decent squished Riv for maybe $2000. But, there are a lot of creases in the driver’s seat for only having 14K miles. The padded phony convertible roof, hokey wires. wide stripe tires, and faded 24k touch of pimp gold plated trim are all not OEM, and will tear, fade or corrode in short order. Furher devaluing an outdated 25+ year old car that was not even relevant when new. Buyer beware.

  2. RoselandPete

    I had an 86 and had no problems with the touchscreen which I thought was fun. The AC went out (under warranty) and the oil light did go on and off periodically and the dealer never could figure out why. The motor did develop some sort of knock around 65k and the mechanic said it could go at anytime so I traded it in. Other than that, it was a luxurious, smooth, and comfortable driver for what I considered to be such a small car. I wouldn’t mind owning another one (since I love Rivs) and I’d probably take a chance on this one but not at $9.5k.

  3. RoselandPete

    I took a look at the ebay listing and this Riv is listed as RWD. This flipper sure knows his cars.

  4. glenn

    wow now that is a nice car

  5. Elrod

    I was a dealer tech when these were being sold. They were the most hated POS car in the history of Buick. Longstanding customers walked away from the brand forever because of these cars. The center screens used to fail so fast, we trained the service writers on how to replace them in the isle while the customer stood by. This particular model is already in the books as the worst Riviera ever. RIP.

    • 200mph

      No kidding. My dad bought one… white with red leather. He was an “early adopter” of tech and his Riv went through three screens before he gave up on it.
      Sad that demand for “downsized” two door American luxury cars plummeted just as these came to market.

  6. ACZ

    Failure of the touch screen was very uncommon. Trouble with the system was often magnified by the lack of expertise of the individual working on it. They were not difficult to diagnose but there was NO shortcutting the diagnosis. The service manual was more that adequate to get you through the diagnostics, you just needed a little patience.

  7. L.A. Parrish

    I do own a,1988 Buick Riviera and it runs dam good touch screen and still running 225300miles.

  8. Oil Slick

    One of the forgotten yrs of the Riv. Why doesn’t Buick bring them back?

    • ACZ

      Low sales on 2 door cars. Same reason there are no more Eldorados and Toronados. Like any company that manufactures any product, you have to make money on it.

  9. David Miraglia

    liked the earlier Rivera version, never cared to much for the late 1980’s version.

  10. Bill Owens BillO Staff

    The 1979 to 1985 Riviera was a great looking car and sold well. I think what happened with the 1986 Riviera is they looked OK, but they copied the look of the Somerset Regal that came out in 1985. Why pay premium price for a Rivera for the same look. When they restyled it to make it look like the 79 to 85 Riviera, it was proportioned oddly.

  11. michael ferreira

    i bought this riviera to complete the GM “E” body collection i have. All of them have been great cars , reliable, good on gas and super comfortable.

    I can afford anything but prefer these cars.

  12. Jemzkin

    The ’89 Riviera is one of the best vehicle I owned since 1997. It got class and is very comfortable. only problem is the touch screen comes on whenever it feels like . All other functions and repairs are easily manageable doing 354K. Not too many on the road at present. It’s a Classic and plan keeping it for the next generation. ( It’s a dream car to many)

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