40K Mile 1985 Buick Riviera T-Type Turbo

We have seen a few Oldsmobile Toronados of the 1979 to 1985 era here over the last few years but not as many Rivieras. These were gorgeous and luxurious cars when they were new and they still are today. This 1985 Buick Riviera T-Type Turbo can be found here on eBay in McKinney, Texas. There is a $6,900 buy-it-now price listed or you can make an offer.

This is the last year that these big, beautiful Rivieras (or, Tornados or Eldorados) were made before GM went all microcar on us for the 1986 model year. I remember seeing this era of Buick Riviera in the early-80s with a beautiful two-tone paint scheme and I’ve wanted one ever since. I’d better get on it while I’m still young enough to drive. Hagerty is at $5,100 for a #3 good condition car and $11,600 for a #2 excellent condition car so they may be right on the money with their buy-it-now price.

The photos are a little or a lot faded out here, for some reason. Maybe from having the sun peeking in the lens or who knows why but I sure wish that this beautiful car had better photos. The dark red color is fantastic as are the turbine wheels. These Rivieras are front-wheel-drive as they would be until the line ended in 1999. The first five generations were rear-drive beginning with the 1963 model year. They think that the shown 40,500 miles are accurate and this car looks like it’s in outstanding condition but it’s not perfect.

The interior looks great with lots of classic velour upholstery. The seller mentions that the AC works but the heater has been bypassed so if you’re planning on using this front-wheel-drive car for your winter driving duties, be prepared to wear layers, or else you’ll have to dig into that heater core or whatever the issue is with that. As with my old 1984 Cadillac Seville, the power antenna doesn’t work on this car but that shouldn’t be too big of a deal to fix. The factory CB radio does work which is cool but I’m wondering if the microphone hanger “button” on the back is missing, they don’t show it mounted on the dash clip.

The big deal with this car is the turbo engine. The turbo Riviera was named the T-Type beginning in 1981 and although 200 horsepower isn’t exactly neck-snapping power in a 3,700-pound car, the turbocharged 3.8L/231 cubic-inch V6 has some oomph. The seller says that they went through the fuel system and this one is ready to go. Have any of you owned a Riviera T-Type?


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  1. nycbjr Member

    I like it! Tho I also like the smaller ones too, they were lookers!

    Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    I was working at a local mini market the summer before I went to college. The year was 1984 and the owner of the store showed up in his new 84 Riviera in a really nice dark blue metallic. He was beaming showing off his new ride and several of us walked out to appreciate his new car. Unfortunately while the car was parked in the direct sun you could see several areas where the base coat was too thin causing the primer to show through. Poor guy was devastated and I would be too. GM wasn’t on their best game back then. Pretty car though. I always thought Buick had the best lines in this chassis. Didn’t they also offer a touch screen CRT as a option? One of the first of its kind.

    Like 6
    • Ralph

      The CRT was standard on the downsized 1986 Riviera, though Buick made about 50 1985 Rivieras with the CRT as a test run for the 1986 models, I don’t think any of them were sold to the public.

      Like 4
    • Gremlin X

      He must have been devastated indeed. All that work and he ended up with little more than a glorified 1970 Chevy C10 with primer spots in terms of paint. These weren’t cheap when new either. Don’t recall the price but probably would have been well over 50 grand in today’s money.

      Like 6
      • Hank Kaczmarek

        I was selling these in 84-85.
        Ave Price was 23-25K.
        Interest rate for a GOOD buyer was 9.9%
        I had buyers put down 5K and STILL had a 400.00 plus monthly note.
        I had an 83 Convertible. I LOVED it.
        BUT—-The Weatherstripping is not reproduced by ANYONE. When I worked for Steele Rubber I TRIED–they wouldn’t do it.
        The hardware (Handles, latches) etc for the top is nearly impossible to find. ASC only carried the parts as required for 10 years after the first one was made.
        The touch control Heat/AC control wiring under the dash is famous for blowing up.
        As much as I’d love to have one again, the above and the bazillion vacuum lines running the EVAP and ECM sensors make it a no go. IMO the BEST looking of all the Riv’s./

        Like 7
    • Robert May

      1986 Riviera was the first touch screen in any consumer product. I worked at Buick Cadillac dealer from 1985-1988. Interesting to see the transition from the big Riviera and El Dorado to the small ones.

      Like 1
    • ACZ

      These were not painted in base coat/ clear coat. Linden, NJ used dispersion lacquer on these. Unusual to see what you are claiming from that plant.

      Like 2
  3. Rosko

    Love these cars. Beautiful for their time.

    Like 3
  4. wifewontlikeit

    $6,900 for velour galore and a CB RADIO? “Breaker, Breaker…let’s go cruising!”

    Seriously, relatively easy to maintain, Detroit big boat floater would be fun for parades, Hot August nights, etc. Bang for the buck. Riveras are finally going up in value. GLWA (I would go for it, by, as you may know, my wife…)

    Like 4
    • jeffro

      I must be married to your wife’s twin sister

      Like 1
  5. Steve Clinton

    Has there ever been an uglier dashboard?

    Like 2
    • Dave

      Yes. 👀

      Like 8
  6. jwzg

    The devil inside me wonders if that transaxle would tolerate a more modern version of the turbo 3.8 (1986-87)?

    Like 6
    • Hank Kaczmarek

      If I was to get another one, I’d put a 60’s Toro 350/350 in it and forget all the Emission sensors

    • ACZ

      Easily. The 325-4L was pretty strong. Similar to the 200-4R in the GN.

      Like 1
      • jwzg

        @ACZ…that could be very interesting.

        Like 1
  7. jwzg

    On other thing…where’s the power brake booster on these things?

    • alphasud Member

      They are using hydro boost which runs off the P/S pump instead of engine vacuum.

      Like 4
      • ACZ

        Right. And the hydra boost was also used on diesels. Under boost conditions, there is no vacuum, just pressure, so no assist would be possible.

  8. Doug Walters

    $5900 BIN for a perfect cruiser.

  9. JoeNYWF64

    There’s definitely room in those quarters for the side rear windows to roll down.
    Disgraceful not only that they don’t on Buick’s flagship, but did in ’72 & earlier on virtually all GM hardtops!

    Like 2
    • Henry M Kaczmarek

      The back windows on my 83 CVT rolled down!

      Like 2
  10. Finn McCool

    My dad had a ’79. He and some friends all bought one when the model change were introduced. They were all management/engineers at the Buick engine plant (#36) in Flint. Dad’s was dark blue with a light blue landau. Dark blue interior.
    Beautiful car. Pricey though. I believe the highest priced Buick that year. I remember he paid just under $10,000, because my grandfather had a fit he would pay that much money for a two door, being a father of four.

    Like 1
  11. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Always wanted a convertible version of one of these; I don’t think they made a T-Type convertible tho

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      The convert with the turbo didn’t have the T-Type designator. It was a model EZ67 with a 9 code engine. There were only a handful made in 84 and 85. Once in awhile you see one pop up for sale, usually on eBay.

  12. OhU8one2

    My Mom had the Eldorado version. I loved the car,especially the carpet. And yes. I drove it around barefoot all the time. This Buick is perfect for the price. Wish I had the space.

    Like 1
  13. AndyinMA

    200 hp in 1985 was pretty good

    Like 1
  14. nlpnt

    It’s too bad these were stuck with such a rectilinear roof that clashes so badly with the flowing lower body.

    I really don’t see why anyone buying new back in the day would’ve shelled out for these over the much cheaper G-Special coupes unless they absolutely had to have FWD, in which case a loaded 2 door A-body wasn’t as much of a step down as the price differential would suggest.

    The ’86s were an improvement in that respect, at least they looked all of a piece and didn’t look naked without a vinyl roof option, but their worst sin was coming onto the market a year after the very similar and, again, much cheaper N-bodies. If they had come out before, they might’ve done better.

    Like 1
  15. ACZ

    Scotty, I ordered and bought one new. Drove it as a company car, first. I still have it. I love that car. Great handling(stab bars as no as your forearm). Minimal body roll, but yet very comfortable with the torsion bar front suspension. This is a “hot air” turbo so not as potent as a GN but still pretty strong and not as nose heavy as a V8. Mine has every option except the C68 climate control. That was on purpose.
    Sticker on it was $22,900.

    Like 1
  16. Frank

    Nice Car, Good to see they are finally going up in price. I have an 85 but not quite as as clean. mine is also that color with maroon leather interior.
    Re convertibles, They made 49 so are extremely rare. I believe ASC did the conversion to convertible.
    They only made around 3450 coupes total from ’84 to ’85, about equally split (1650 in 85). Mine has 92,000mi. Still runs great.
    RE hot air motors, Remember the ’84-’85 Grand Nationals had the same motor. Back about 20 years ago there was a guy in Arizona that had one of these running in the 12’s in the quarter mi. Changed several things (computer chip, elec fans and the biggie needed stronger axle shafts).
    The difference between this and 86-87 engines is the cam, intercooler, intake and turbo, different coil (can be upgraded thru casper electronics) computer chip and elec fans.

  17. Jasper

    These look so nice WHEN they don’t have the landau top and all the baby dolls and door knobs. Wire wheel covers, I’m talking to you! A smooth top and these turbine wheels do wonders. Seems GM was still hung up on waning trends. It might’ve payed in image dividends to have pushed more that looked like this, instead of the obviously higher profit “funeral home” spec most went out the door with. Now, how about an Eldorado Touring Coupe!

    • ACZ

      The “higher profit” “funeral home” spec is what sold in much higher numbers 35 years ago. How you define “higher profit” is anyone’s guess. Profit was the same on an EZ57 or an EY57. Additionally, the only thing “funeral home spec” applies to, that I know of, is a hearse, and they didn’t build those on the E chassis.

      Like 1
  18. Bhowe Member

    Why can we not get a velour interior anymore on a car. instead we get hard seats with “fabric” with the consistency and comfort of burlap. Very much like this car

    Like 2
  19. John Oliveri

    I had a new 83, w a 307 what a POS, beautiful car, but the motor was a anchor, terrible time in GM history, they changed the hoods and trunk lids to a lighter metal, paint checked, just a terrible time, kicked open the door for Foreign cars, cause I never bought another GM again, hung out w Lincoln’s till 2005, went foreign and never looked back

  20. John Oliveri

    PS, if you can grab a 79, that had the 350 in it, much better than the 307

    Like 1
  21. md

    Kind of odd the sticker lists the sport suspension and 205/75 tires. When you ordered the sport suspension on the Toro or Eldo, you got 225/70’s

    • ACZ

      You got me looking at the window sticker again. Couple of interesting things. It shows a 4bbl carb. Those stickers were to have been replaced by dealers due to the error. But, this was a GM allied division company car. It was shipped to Delco Moraine in Dayton, Ohio. It also shows to have 4 wheel disc brakes, which was an option. This a pretty loaded car.

  22. George mattar

    Beautiful but typical GM junk. Cheapest plastic dash ever. A guy wanted to trade a perfect 85 Riv and cash to get my perfect 1970 GTO in 1987. I said no.

    Like 1
  23. John Oliveri

    Build quality was horrible, motor was horrible, 307 junk, rear level ride horrible, paint quality horrible, I was 22 when I bought my 83 brand new, got rid of it for a Lincoln LSC MK VII few yrs later,

    Like 1
    • Blakehasasoul

      Am I the only person that noticed the wiring hanging under the passenger side dash by the door? Missing courtesy light, culprit of the hvac? Still a good looking car. Anytime i see an old gm product with flexible bumper fillers intact i get excited. Nothing worse than a 70s caddy when those fillers go!

  24. JBD

    I went through the GM LINDEN Plant when these were new. Amazing cars as I’ve never seen them rust. Frames & body panels were dipped and fit/quality was better than typical GM of the era. One QC fact was they were run on a treadmill/dyno to 105 mph. If they were going to break it would happen on the assembly line. So much for engine/driveline break- in as in the owner’s manual.

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