1974 Buick Riviera With 6,489 Original Miles!

When the owner of this 1974 Buick Riviera discovered it hidden away in a barn in 1996, it has a genuine 5,400 miles on the clock. It had occupied that spot for more than 17-years when the original owner’s wife parked it following his death. The current owner has revived the car and uses it sparingly. As a result, the odometer has managed to creep its way to a mere 6,489 miles. He has decided to part with the classic Buick, so he has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the owner has set the asking price at $18,995. I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this fantastic survivor for us.

Seventeen years spent sitting in a barn hasn’t hurt the Burgundy Riviera unduly because the paint still shines beautifully. The owner admits that it has a few minor flaws, including a small amount of crazing in one spot. He believes that it wouldn’t take much effort to return it to perfection, but I would want to perform an in-person inspection before committing to that path. If nothing requires urgent attention, I would be tempted to retain the vehicle as an original survivor. The Riviera appears to be rust-free, and the owner now keeps it in a climate-controlled garage when it isn’t in use. The Burgundy vinyl top adds a touch of class to the exterior, and its condition appears to be as impressive as the rest of the exterior. There are no issues with the trim or glass, but there are a couple of interesting facts worth noting. When the Buick was parked in the barn, some charming person broke in and stole the original wheels. It isn’t clear which wheels the Riviera wore, so the owner has fitted the ones you see in the supplied photos. However, he has covered his bets by also sourcing a set of perfect original hubcaps. If the buyer wants to source a set of steel wheels, they will have the caps to fit them. That same individual also broke the trunk lock, so there is no barrel installed at present. However, the power lock works perfectly, so the owner hasn’t touched anything. That is one fault that I would fix because not only would it look better, but there is a chance that moisture could currently find its way into the trunk, causing potential future rust issues.

When I first looked at this Buick’s interior, I thought that it was flawless. However, there are a couple of issues for potential buyers to consider. The dash has some damage just to the right of the radio, which is the only fault in that area of the car. The owner says that there is also a crack in the armrest on the passenger door, but this isn’t visible in the supplied photos. The rest of the trim and upholstery is perfect, with no wear, tears, or stains. The air conditioning no longer works, and that is a slight mystery to the owner. He said that the compressor clutch started smoking one day, so he hasn’t used it since. That could be an issue with either the compressor or clutch, and it is a mystery for the buyer to investigate further. Otherwise, everything works as it should. I can see power windows, a power trunk release, a six-way power driver’s seat, remote mirrors, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and a factory AM/FM radio.

By the time this Riviera rolled off the production line, tightening emission regulations were beginning to bite into the performance of the humble V8. However, the 455ci version in this car still would’ve been producing 230hp, which was nothing to be sneezed at. The Riviera also comes equipped with a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. When the owner purchased the Riviera, it had been sitting for 17-years. He went through a meticulous process of reviving the vehicle but didn’t change any parts for the mere sake of it. His focus was on maintaining as much originality as possible, and he has been very selective about who performs work on the vehicle. He recently replaced the master cylinder and rebuilt the rear brakes, but most of the significant components remain untouched. It has only clocked just on 1,000 miles since 1996, which leaves the odometer at an incredibly low number. The owner says that the Riviera runs and drives perfectly, and he includes a link to this YouTube video. This provides a walkaround and gives us a chance to hear that beautiful V8 running. It sounds perfect, with no evidence of smoke or odd noises.

This 1974 Buick Riviera is an amazing survivor, and examples like this don’t come along every day. This car hails from the very start of The Malaise Era and from a time when the world was facing an energy crisis. Many owners saw them as too big, too heavy, and way too thirsty. Many larger cars from this era were driven into the ground before being driven to the nearest scrapyard. The Riviera did not escape this fate. This one is a rare exception, but its price is also a long way above what you might expect to pay for a ’74 Riviera. That begs the question of whether it is worth the asking price. Its overall condition is well above average, and its odometer reading is a long way below it. Values have been relatively static over the past few years, and the price isn’t unprecedented. The car has only been on the market for a few days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone snapped up this low mileage survivor pretty soon.


WANTED 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird Looking for an original 400 convertible, 3 or 4 speed preferred. No restomods. Contact

WANTED 1958 – 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible project Contact

WANTED 1973 Dodge Challenger Wanted – 1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye or 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS (must be reasonably rust free) Contact

WANTED 70 71 Chevrolet MonteCarlo Contact

WANTED 1988-1994 Toyota Pickup or 4Runner 200,000 miles or less, no rust Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    For 19 large, someone can go get the trunk lock fixed

    Like 32
  2. Ted-M

    Didn’t know they had the third brake light like the Tornado!

    Like 2
  3. Gary Rhodes

    The owner needs to repair the a/c, trunk lock and the interior pieces for that money. Crazy price on every day car

    Like 14
  4. billtebbutt

    The exact (parked) car I sideswiped in 1981, as a 16 year old behind the wheel of my Datsun 510 on a icy road. Right down to the colour.

    Back then, my insurance rate didn’t even go up ($125 per year)……


    Like 5
  5. Vance

    First year after the boat tail design along with the fugly bumpers makes this a regular malaise era bomb. There is no “POW” factor in this car. It’s just a run of the mill mid-seventies car with low miles that does not mean its worth 19 Large. Think about what 19 grand will buy you if you are a common visitor to Barn Finds. This might get 5-6 k just because of the miles and condition. It’s a nice car, its just boring.

    Like 8
    • Car Guy Beancounter

      Oh my God! That front bumper is hideous! And the rear bumper isn’t much better. Spoils the whole car.

      Like 3
    • ADM

      I agree. You can get a nice, late ’60’s Riviera, or Toronado, for that price.

      Like 4
  6. Patrick Curran

    Back in the day, if you ordered the Buick chrome wheels, the spare tire also came mounted on one. I wonder if that is why the trunk was broken in to? This generation Riviera was not as popular as the prior generations and is not as sought after. Its value is in the low mileage but I would say lower than what the seller is asking or will likely get.

    Like 2
  7. S

    All I can say is WOW! A really nice Riviera with a beautiful interior.
    Only 6500 miles is crazy!

    Like 4
  8. Steve Clinton

    The perfect example of GM ruining the classic looks of a car by changing the design.

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      It’s the goverment that ruined the looks by requiring 5 mph bumper front & rear in ’74 – there’s no way the car companies could make good looking chrome bumpers that could take a 5 mph hit.
      Some ’74s, like the challenger & javelin still had good looking older style bumpers, but they were being phased out & chrysler & amc decided to pay fines instead of complying.
      The government also was responsible for getting rid of hardtops, good looking steering wheels, good looking metal exterior mirrors, etc.

  9. Howie Mueler

    Yes very nice and crazy low miles, but not my cup of tea. For that money you can get a great newer Mustang.

    Like 1
  10. Jcjc

    Opinions are like belly buttons….
    I love this style, including the bumpers. Never liked the boat tails that preceeded this style. This one is worth 10g I suppose.

    Like 1
  11. Gerard Frederick

    Gang bangers in LA love these.

  12. John Oliveri

    My next purchase for classic cars is going to be a 71/73 Boat tail Riviera, if this was one of those the # would be much higher, but if you can tolerate the girth and bumpers on this one, 18 grand for a new Riviera is pretty fair

  13. Michael L Gregory

    I love the high-mount brake lights. I had forgotten about the Riviera having them as well as the Toronado. I drove a ’74 tricked-out Electra 225 for several years with this same engine. It was no slouch.

    Price is too high, but it’s a nice survivor.

  14. Anthony D

    I don’t believe the owner never had someone look at the ac. Anyhow, wouldn’t you want to fix it rather than give a vague explanation about it “smoking one day’ and “haven’t used it since”? Same with the trunk lock and crack in the armrest. Nothing wrong with starting high at $18,995…but he better be prepared to accept a lot less…probably 10 or $12k.

  15. Jonathan Elrod

    It’s the Idaho from the 3D era of GTA (2001-2006)

  16. Jonathan Elrod

    It’s the Idaho from the 3D Universe of GTA (2001-2006)

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.