Low-Mile Muscle: 1970 Buick Riviera

For the person who is searching for a classic where they can just climb behind the wheel and savor the ownership experience, then this 1970 Buick Riviera might be an ideal choice. This beautiful survivor has been owned by the same family since new, and during those years, the car has managed to accumulate a low 68,000 miles on its odometer. They have decided that the time has now come for another family to own and appreciate this car. It is located in Boise, Idaho, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $6,000, and at that price, I don’t find it at all surprising to see that the reserve has not been met.

Starting with what we can’t see, the owner provides a nice selection of photos of the Buick’s underside, and this is a car that is clean and solid. There are no indications of any potential rust issues, and nor is there any sign of previous rust repairs. Looking around the outside of the Riviera seems to reveal more of the same story. There are no signs of visible rust, and the Emerald Mist paint has a beautiful depth and shine. It is perfectly complemented by the green vinyl top, which looks to be faultless. The external trim and chrome appear to be spotless, while the wheels would seem to be free of any staining or curb strike. The whitewall tires are a nice touch and bring an added level of style and class to the car’s external appearance.

The 1970 model year saw the Riviera receive an increase in engine capacity over previous models. The 455ci V8 that found its way under the hood was the largest engine offered by Buick up until that point. The Riviera was not a light car by this point in time, so the 370hp that the 455 offered was more than welcome. Power finds its way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission. The Riviera also features standard power steering and the optional power front disc brakes. The general condition of the engine bay makes the owner’s claim that the car has covered a genuine 68,000 miles seem to be conceivable, and it also appears that he might hold documentation to verify this. One thing that we do know is that the car has recently undertaken a few extended trips, and it has apparently performed these trips faultlessly.

The interior of the Riviera is extremely tidy, but it does exhibit one very obvious flaw which surprises me in a car with such low mileage. The wear on the steering column where the keys have been rubbing is quite severe and detracts from an otherwise impressive interior. There is also some minor scuffing on the driver’s side kick panel, but that really seems to be about it. The parchment trim on the seats and door trims does look to be faultless, while the dash exhibits no signs of cracks or splits. The headliner is perfect, and along with the standard tilt wheel, the Buick also features air conditioning, a cruise control, and a power seat. The A/C doesn’t currently blow cold, so this is one of the few issues with the car that will require attention.

This Buick Riviera appears to be an original survivor that possesses the “wow” factor in abundance. It is the sort of classic that would seem to be the recipient of careful ownership and would attract more than its share of attention wherever it went. For the person who is looking for a classic car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed, this is one that would have to be a strong contender.


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  1. Moparman Member

    What a beauty! Personally, I don’t care for the vinyl top, LOVE the green, but this one is ready to drive and enjoy! GLWTS!! “-)

    Like 6
  2. Howard A. Member

    While I’m partial to the 1st gen Riv’s, nothing wrong with these, aside from the atrocious gas mileage. My ex brother in law had a ’71 boat tail Riv, same motor. It was the only car that got worse mileage on the highway than in the city. We figured about 6-7mpg. Still, when made, gas was still .34 cents/gallon, and was the best ride for the money. We’ll never see cars like this again, and like the author sez, here’s your chance.
    As a side bar, you members may not see it, but I’m curious as to the ads that pop up here now. “The Squatter Potty” pretty much says it all. :O
    I suppose, whatever pays da’ bills,,,

    Like 6
    • DOM63

      @Howard A. – $0.34/gallon in 1971 is $2.14 today. Don’t know where you live, but I’m paying about $2.40/gal today. Kinda close. I want this Riv!

      Like 1
  3. ccrvtt

    Who would order a car like this without power windows? Sounds like something my grandfather would have done. Pretty car, any faults would be easily remedied. Can it be converted to power windows for a reasonable price?

    Like 3
    • Howard A. Member

      I’ll field this one and you aren’t far off. Years ago, and this car qualifies for “years ago”, people were wary of certain options. I knew of older people, who wouldn’t have power brakes or steering, because they didn’t trust them. Power windows had the same fate. “What if there’s no power, how do we get out”? I think it would be a big job to convert them. I’m sure many a salesperson shook their heads at how some folks optioned their cars.

      Like 6
    • Miguel

      I more question how a personal luxury cruiser could be purchased without air conditioning.

      Like 2
      • redwagon

        Interesting question, let me take a stab at this. Late 1960’s early 1970’s was a time of prosperity in the farming community and many of these farmers had come through the Great Depression. Some like my in-laws had lost their farms, survived outside of farming and then got back into farming by buying one for sale in the early 40’s. LIke many folks who grew up or lived through the GD they new how to do without and spending on excesses seemed wasteful.

        Now about Keller’s Buick. This was a small Buick dealer that was established in the late 40’s by a family that already was running a John Deere dealership in Harvey, North Dakota. Harvey is about 70 miles southeast of Minot and 3 hrs west of Grand Forks, not a large town but large enough by North Dakota standards. Keep in mind that tractor allegiances run deeply in any farm family and my thought is that whoever purchased this Buick was happy to have a green that was pretty close in color to their John Deere!

        Anyway, if you need a car and you trust your local John Deere dealer with your tractor, and you dont want to travel to the ‘big city’ then it makes sense to order one locally or buy one off the lot. The dealer probably knew what would sell and power windows and AC really aren’t necessary if you live in North Dakota and are selling to a price conscience GD farmer.

        It makes me wonder if Keller’s Buick also had a GMC dealership – which is common in rural areas. They may have sold cars, work pickups and tractors all out of the same location in Harvey.

        This is all supposition, mind you, I know a little bit about farm history, and the thinking in farm households, plus I was able to find some info about Keller’s from a 2005 obituary on the web.

        Like 9
  4. Tripp

    I’m not a fan of these. I owned a ‘67, which had a much sportier dash and steering wheel and a lighter, cleaner looking front end. Also, what’s the point of one of these without a center console and shifter?

    Like 7
    • Shingo

      Certainly not as distinctive as earlier Rivieras, but I still like the exterior. The interior though looks like it belongs in a Skylark.

  5. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Nice car in great shape though I find the color a bit odd. I can’t recall seeing a Riviera in this particular shade of green before. The white interior really makes it pop, a nice contrast to the exterior. I like it but don’t think I could live with the very thirsty 455.

  6. David Rhoces

    If it has the automatic climate control ( can’t tell from the pics ) …the a/c might not be the problem … those controls were known for sticking

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      I don’t see a compressor under the hood, so I don’t think it has air at all.

      Like 1
      • VAR2018

        It has A/C. The compressor is on the passenger side of the engine. The big plastic housing on the passenger side firewall is another giveaway of a GM vehicle with air conditioning in this era.

        Like 2
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    It’s hard to account for taste. If you were a Riviera owner buying a new model every couple years this is what you got. I personally prefer the first gen Rivs over these. I love my 64 even though it’s needing a new paint job.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  8. Del

    Should be good if electrics have hung in.

    Like 1
  9. normadesmond

    They must’ve had another Riviera hanging on their keychain.

    Like 1
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    A/C compressor is very visible on picture 18 of 24.
    God bless America

  11. Brian

    Paint is not original, note seat belts and a couple of pic’s show a blue car. Beautiful just the same.

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