Ahoy! 1973 Buick Riviera Survivor

The 1971 to 1973 “boat tail” Buick Rivieras were controversial both at the time and in the present day. While some enthusiasts love the distinctive rear styling as envisioned by Bill Mitchell and executed by Jerry Hirshber, others find it very distasteful. I am in the former group, and this car in particular caught my eye because it has the slightly more subdued rear styling that was only used in 1973. It’s up for auction here on eBay and resides in Rome, Georgia until a buyer is found. The starting bid is $7,500 and there’s a buy it now of $15,000.

We are told that this car is a 39,550 mile survivor vehicle with no rust. The seller got the car back on the road after an extended hibernation period but the car still sports it’s original paint and interior, although the paint has been touched up in spots and a few dings are present. I wish the photography was better and that there were some closeups of any damaged spots–we really can’t tell enough about the condition of the car from these shots.

I was pleased, however, to see some under car views, which are pleasingly untouched. The car is said to have been in Georgia all its life and the underside might just confirm that.

The inteior is completely original, and from what we can see of it is immaculate. As the seller says, “…no rips, tears or scuffs.” It sure looks comfortable, at least for the front seat occupants.

We’re looking at a 455 V8 with a four barrel carburetor, which has been rebuilt. All belts and hoses have been replaced, along with some gaskets, resealing the transmission as well as tune up components. As a special treat for us Southerners, the air conditioning has also been completely serviced as works very well. The seller even has a lot of original literature that they are including in the auction. Overall, this looks like a great example of a boat tail Riviera–do you want to go boating?

Fast Finds


  1. Sam

    You could buy these for almost nothing in the late 70’s…..I graduated high school in 79. A lot of my freinds were thrashing late 60s/early 70s Mopar, GM and Ford muscle cars.

    I see several styling ques in the 71-73 gen from the 53 Buick Roadmaster convertible that were repeated across Buick products through 55 or so.

    I’m a big fan of the big personal luxury cars. I would add this to my fantasy garage of a French Connection Lincoln, 66 Toronado, 67 Eldorado, 61 and 66 T Bird, 62 Imperial Crown coupe….

  2. RoselandPete

    I loved the boat tails when they first came out and I still do. One car writer wrote that if a Corvette were the size of a Cadillac, this is what it would look like. I worked for a janitorial company when I was in high school and the company owner bought a 71. He let me drive it around the block one time and I couldn’t believe how smooth it was–I never forgot that car. In 2001, I finally found a 72 with less than 10k miles on it–still had the original bias ply tires which I kept. In these days of boring car design, these old boat tails certainly stand out. You will never mistake them for another car which is more than I can say for the vast majority of vehicles on the road today.

  3. Rob

    I have always loved the lines on these beasts. Besides the Grand National, the only GM product I would want to own.

  4. ccrvtt

    The General certainly has done some daring things for a great monolithic corporation. This design ranks up there on a scale with the ’59 Chevrolet, the Pontiac TransSport, the Reatta, the ’80-’85 Seville, and many others. Of course nothing really achieves the pinnacle of the ’66-’67 Riviera in my opinion. But the fact that this car exists is a tribute to American exuberance. Nice find.

  5. Non

    I used to think boat tails were ugly but now I own one and love it.

  6. dwilson

    I had one of these back in the early 80’s. It would pass just about anything but the gas station. I got it from one of my grandmothers church buddies who could no longer drive. I remember it was a great car.

  7. Moparman Member

    I can still recall my disbelief as Jeff Bridges trashed one out in 1974’s “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot”! :-) https://youtu.be/E4wCieUQ46k

  8. MDY

    My uncle had a 71 in the same color, which he let me use while I was finishing college in the early 80s. What a cruiser! I would drive the back roads at 90 MPH. It was so smooth at speed. Several times I slept in the back seat rather than make another trip home. it was his third Riv…he had a 66, a 69 GS and this 71. These were truly great cars.

  9. whippeteer

    I always liked them for being an over the top design. I remember a cartoon in one of the car magazines of one with a flying bridge in the back sections. Ah the days of the land yacht.

  10. BronzeGiant

    The first generation, which we sall the “stinger tail” with the offset license plate mount, is still my fave. Beautiful cars.


    My uncles had a black on black 71 GS. I will never forget that caras I was young and impressionable. I thought it was the Bat mobile. They are getting hard to find now, but I think by 73 the styling jumped the shark.

    That grill is ugly and the faux wood trim is not as pretty as the turned aluminum.
    If you look at the new Buicks I wonder what they are trying to do with the styling. BRING BACK THE RIV IDIOTS

    Like 1
  12. Big Ed

    I would guess the timing is right now. Some raw fuel exploded in that right muffler!

  13. landt

    I’ve owned one each of the 71-73 Rivieras. 16-17 mpg around town on regular is/was great for big cars with 455s. My ’71 was one of my all time favorites, featuring the most radical styling. ’72 was more tame, ’73 suffered from 5mph bumpers.

    Unmodified, the 455 is strictly a torque motor. A “boy racer” will destroy it in a heartbeat due to inadequate oiling to the cam galley at higher rpm. It’s fixable through an external oil line, but in stock form it’s a weakness for cars that aren’t driven sedately.

    The most desirable cars would have bucket seats, featuring a console with the “basket handle” shifter.

  14. Rich 1

    A beautiful example of a great design! It looks “legit” to me and I know these cars. The boat-tail Rivs are under-appreciated and sure to increase in value as they become more scarce. It costs a small fortune to properly restore one of these, and this one has all the factory correct pieces, and looks to have been well-preserved (lack of corrosion).

  15. Rustytech Member

    This was one of the better efforts of 1973, a good looking and well engineered car. I would love to have it but not at the buy it now price. I’d say $10 to $12k tops.

  16. GOPAR

    Man, that things fast! According to the photo of the speedometer on the ebay site, it’s running 80 in park.

    • RoselandPete

      LOL That’s nothing. Wait till you see how fast it can go once it’s in neutral. Actually, I think you’re looking at the speed alert. :)


    I was 16 in 1971. Dad brought a new 71 home, and I got to drive it often. So often, that with about 10,000 miles on the clock, he took it in to the dealer, trying to get an explanation for the right rear tire being worn out before the other 3. Sorry Dad.

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