Boat-tail Field Find: 1972 Buick Riviera

Buick introduced the Riviera as a personal luxury car in 1963 and it remained part of the line-up for the rest of the 20th Century. While most people think of the late 1950s when it comes to unusual styling, don’t count out the early 1970s and the Buick Riviera. In 1971, it took on a boat-tail rear section that harked back to the 1930s and had an expansive rear glass reminiscent of the ’63 Corvette Sting Ray. The seller, a dealer, got this 1972 Riviera along with a ’71 edition after it had spent some 15 years holed up in a garage. From Hatboro, Pennsylvania, the car is available here on eBay where the bidding stands at $3,700.

The third generation of the Riviera was built between 1971-73. The car was radically redesigned under the watchful eye of famed designer Bill Mitchell. While the Riviera had always had lineage to GM’s other two luxury cruisers, the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado, the Rivera would be a departure in styling. It was a “love it or hate it” ploy, but sales for all three years stayed rather consistent in the mid-30,000s, although below the generation that preceded it. The 1972 models were little changed except that the boattail would be toned down a bit from ’71 and yet again in ’73. Only one engine was available, the 455 cubic-inch, V8, which delivered 225 hp using SAE net power ratings.

We’re told this Riviera had been hiding indoors since about 2006 when the seller pulled it out and took possession. It now sits in a field with some other vehicles where it hopefully hasn’t been there too long. While the Buick is one of those “ran when parked” cars, it doesn’t do that now and there is no mention of what might be needed to get the old girl going again. The seller had to get a duplicate title made for the Riviera, so the titled mileage is 00000.

The dark green paint has, of course, seen better days and the contrasting beige vinyl top has given up the ghost. We see a few little dings here and there, but no obvious signs of rust. We’re shown a bit of the undercarriage and it appears crusty, but nothing that may have worked its way through the car. So, the physical appearance of the exterior of the vehicle might not be a big challenge.

It’s a shame the matching green leather upholstery has cracked and peeled away because – other than the carpeting — everything else in the passenger compartment may be okay. The big unknown with the car is its mechanical condition and no photos are provided of the engine compartment. It’s going to need some work, but if you can bring it back up to snuff, you’d probably be the only car guy in your hood to have one. In top shape, Hagerty believes one of these machines to be worth in the high $40,000s.


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  1. Sam Shive

    Love these Big Boats, but it’s going to take almost more than it’s worth to get back to running condition and being in Pa. getting it to pass inspection might be another story.

    Like 2
  2. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    $3700. This is SO tempting

    Like 7
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I always wondered how difficult one of these was to parallel park? That rear hangs out a long way past the rear and without any visual queues, IMO it would appear to be difficult to determine when the rear bumper is located. Car looks to have a lot of potential but it will take the right person to do it justice.

    Like 1
  4. Chuck Dickinson

    Just an FYI. The interiors in these Rivs were NOT leather, they were vinyl.

  5. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    86 Vette…..
    They are not that difficult to parallel park. Especially if you’re used to them. I guess always parking a small car might make this a little difficult at first.
    I’ve had two of them, ’71 & ’72. And a ’70.
    Being the Cadillac Diva I can drive and park anything.

    Like 10
  6. Paolo

    In California, at least, these quickly became popular with “greasers” and low riders. Typical modifications were lowering (before hydraulics), chrome reverse, Astro Supreme 5 spoke wheels with low profile, 1/2″ wide stripe white walls and often some very fancy custom paint. These came along as low rider culture was begining to boom and these were immediately accepted as suitable cruisers from brand new.

    Like 1
  7. Mark Bowser

    A lot of people love these cars, I’m one of them.

    Like 3
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $5,826.

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