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1973 Buick Riviera: Ready To Sail


A few months ago Jeff did a review on a Boat Tail very much like this Buick 1973 Riviera that was “rough around the edges”. If we are to believe the seller, this original Riviera is, well, smooth around the edges except for the dent on the left front fender. The story is the original owner drove this Riviera until she was 92 and then it was stored for years. The current owner has registered it, cleaned it up and done the mechanical work. It is reported to run and drive nicely! It is a California car so it’s unlikely that it’s rusted. The owner has a large file of paperwork, which could show it had regular maintenance. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would do much to this very original car, but the color is certainly not to everyone’s taste! I can imagine the new owner having it repainted a color more to their liking, lowered a bit and adding custom wheels. What would you do with this? It’s overpriced a bit at $10,000 but it is very original. It’s in San Leandro, across the bay from San Francisco and listed here on craigslist.

front left


left rear


  1. Peter


    I’m not even sure it’s “overpriced,” if it’s really CA-rust-free, AND a survivor. (As we all know, the “Survivor” movement is one of, if not THE hottest trends, in the hobby).

    So here’s Hagerty:

    I say EMBRACE the “Olive-tudiness” of it! It is a product of it’s era–LOL!

    Of course, the ’71’s had an even sharper backend and, as in so many things, it’s all about the rear view, isn’t it?

    Scroll down a ways, to see a ’71’s rear view, in Olive….:

    Maybe a “Paintless Dent Guy/Gal” could do something with that front fender?

    If it were closer, I’d be temped to go check it out.

    Of course, the Seller says NOTHING about the engine/trans combo in it.

    Maybe he just needs some prompting?

    I hope one of “us” get’s it!


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    • Roseland Pete

      Shades of green seemed to be popular colors back then. My 72 Riv is a light metallic green called “Seamist” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I went with a 72 instead of a 71 for several reasons: the car I bought had 9,600 miles on it, all the 71s I saw had water/rust issues in the trunk area due to those vents, and the rear of the 72 is just as pronounced as the 71’s. I would have preferred a different color but I just couldn’t pass up a 72 Riv with 9,600 miles.

      I’m sure a body guy could fix the front fender but I don’t know if one of those paintless dent people could do it because the metal was much thicker back then.

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  2. JW454

    I like the color for what it is. Would I have checked it off on the order sheet? No, but, it’s here now so I say let it be olive green. These are decent driving cars and you can’t beat them for comfort. If I was in the market I’d have to put this one on the list for sure.

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  3. shiro1303 Member

    I also think its fine in this color scheme wish I wasn’t on the wrong side of the pond again.
    The fender dent should be an easy if the paint isn’t cracked

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  4. Joe Moss

    This was a fairly popular color when new. I may have the dent fixed-detail the engine bay and leave it alone. It may very well be worth the 10 G. if its something you want. Be hard to find a nicer original 73″ riv for sure.

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  5. don

    another flipper, 10k might be pushing it just a bit.

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    • Tirefriar

      Yes, it is another flipper who wants everyone to believe that he is taking a bath on the car. So how much did he have to pay for the car and get it roadworthy to be underwater at $10k? Me thinks he is out to at least double his money at the selling price.

      Having said that, $10k is not too outrageous. If the car is as described. I’m not sure if the paint less dent removal can take care of the left fender successfully, the metal was a much thicker gauge than on the tin cans we have today. I guess if someone has a Riv of that era on their bucket list then this should fit the bill nicely. If kept in great running and cosmetic condition, this car will be increasing in value over time.

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      • Utes

        @ Tirefriar……

        Not really…..that price is on the money.

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      • Tirefriar

        Utes, when it comes to classic cars NADA have a tendency to be quite off. My experience with NADA is limited to their valuation of Alfa Romeos. With AR, NADA values were quite often over the top for many years. I haven’t been back to check the prices with NADA, but years ago they valued Series 2 and 3 Spiders at about what they are selling now – now that the market has firmed up for these cars. Many a dealer, who had no knowledge of the Alfa market, ended up upside down on an Alfa trade-in by following NADA price guides.

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  6. Peter


    Thanks for the link, which further supports my feeling that this car may not be overpriced–at all.

    And @Tirefriar: I say, if the (alleged) “flipper” can double his money (or more), more power to him.

    In fact, I would LOVE to be that guy! LOL

    And if we were to be frank, isn’t that part of the reason many of us enjoy this site? (If not, I guess it’s just me then. Oh well, I’m often out on the “far side of the Bell Curve”–it’s actually more peaceful, at times). ;-)

    Blessed be,


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    • Tirefriar

      Reading a BS line ” Selling for much less than invested, I need it gone.” sends up red flags when it comes to a car like this. i don’t care if I’m buying a car from a flipper (as long as it makes sense), I do care if the “snow job” begins with the ad. As a buyer, I don’t need to know how much money is being made or lost on theta sanction.

      Also, important items such as working A/C are not mentioned in the ad at all – it can safely be assumed that it doesn’t work. Could be simple recharge of the existing system (R12can be had) or as complex and expensive as converting an entire A/C system to R134 (approximately $1200).

      As for the price, taking the visible damage into account – yes, that fender will need repair and refinish, new molding, blending the hood in addition to any other work the car will need due to age – bushings, shocks, etc. – I’d say $7k-$8k is its current value (again my opinion – body repairs, a/c, and other repairs will easily cost you over $2k) but it’s condition and records could warrant the asking price for someone ” in love” with this car. it’s my opnion and it should be taken at that.

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  7. Chris A.

    Compared to the ’60s Riveras, the boattails leave me cold. But this one in olive green works for some quirky reason. The lady probably stopped drivng when she hit something and dented the fender. $10K less the money to fix that fender, I don’t think Mr. Dent can help with this damage as it looks like there is a crease. Those spoke steel wheels and white walls are special to Buicks and are both sporty and classy. By the way, is there a leak at the brake master cylinder/booster mount?

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  8. Roseland Pete

    I don’t put much faith in those price guides. Years ago, when I was looking for a 71 Camaro RS, an old car price guide said that a 71 RS in #1 condition was worth $11k. Ok–great–now just show me where I could get one for $11k. I would have gotten down on my hands and knees and begged somebody to take my money if I could have gotten one for $11k.

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