Cave Find! 1968 Buick Riviera GS

Some back, I reviewed a ’66 Buick Riviera and I made reference to it as, what I thought, some of GM head stylist Bill Mitchell’s best work. A contributor advised that the inaugural Riviera year, 1963, was really his best work as it was the first Riviera. I’ll agree that the ’63 was Mitchell’s doing but as to which is the best styling-wise, it is always going to be a subjective call. Continuing in the vein of that ’66, here’s an updated version from the tumultuous year of 1968 and it is a GS (Gran Sport) equipped variant. Located in Portland, Oregon, it is available here on eBay for a current bid of $10,555, six bids tendered so far.

So, what’s special about a “GS” Riviera? It’s a package that consisted of a tauter suspension, steeper final drive ratio, limited-slip differential,  70 series tires and the appropriate but subtle badging. There is no difference beneath the hood.

Right out of the gate, there is a one hour and eight-minute video of this car available here. If you are like most,  you probably don’t have an hour+ to sift through a pedantic video that has a lot of unnecessary, footage. What I could endure didn’t tell me a lot more than the accompanying images would indicate but there were a few nuggets of pertinent information.

First up, the 360 gross HP, 430 CI V8 engine runs! The seller got it started for the first time in years as this GS was parked in what the seller refers to as a “cave”, more like a concrete bunker, though I’m not certain for how long. Nevertheless, its storage arrangement doesn’t appear to have caused any harm. Once the engine fired, it was pretty noisy however, I could tell immediately that the big Buick V8 was making a lot of valve lifter noise. I wouldn’t be overly concerned at first but I’d change the oil and try again to see if the lifters pump up. The car does move under its own power as the seller was able to back this Buick off of the trailer he used to remove it from its long-term hibernation. That being the case, it seems that the Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic transmission is functioning (it moves forwards too). This Riviera is, as is typical, an A/C equipped car but the compressor is beltless, so something’s probably up with it.

Appearance-wise, this GS is still pretty presentable. It is listed as having 28K miles but there is no certification that it is actual mileage, just a “low mileage” claim. There are some minor bumper-car kinds of scrapes and dents but none of the damage is major. The seller mentions, and I would agree, that the Medium Teal Blue finish is still pretty strong, a testament to GM’s 52-year-old lacquer paint. The seller advises that this Riviera is rust free and there is no evidence of a corrosion or rot problem in either the listing’s images or the video. The seller does wrestle a bit with the hide-away headlights and they, unfortunately, are inoperative but it could be something as simple as a relay. The Buick “mag” style wheels look great on virtually any Buick model and it’s good to see this example equipped with them.

The interior is late ’60s Buick all the way. It is a nice quality, silver-blue vinyl upholstery (a shade that Buick referred to as  “platinum”) environment but all of the material is in nice shape – it could use a good cleaning but significant repair does not appear to be necessary. The strato-bucket seats with the center console are a preferred arrangement over the strato-bench choice.  Curiously, the carpet has been removed, no speculation as to why. Its absence does give the viewer a good look at the solid floors, however. In the video, the seller mentions that the headliner is also missing.

There have been two more bids tendered since I started this article so there is some definite interest in this Riviera GS; the bid amount would appear to be pretty healthy for this car. There are still four days to go so this Buick will be worth watching. It could prove to be a good buy for a gentleman’s muscle car don’t you think?

 

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Comments

  1. DJS

    It needs a little work but other the a caddy this is class all the way style and HP . And comfort as well dad had one I loved driving it as a 17 yo . But the gas cost oh my. Still want to put it in my driveway. But have enough cars for now .

  2. Snotty

    Could you get the bucket seat console floor shift without the GS package?

    1
    • Bob S

      I’m thinking you can Snotty, but where’s Rex when you need him, lol!

      2
    • BOP_GUY Member

      Absolutely, yes.

      1
  3. Rhett

    Cool car, good options, nice color sceme. I’m with you, the 68’s are my favorite, followed closely by 69’s that they made a few less appealing tweaks to. I love Buick big blocks, but if they’re noisy it’s a red flag. Yeah, could just be rocker shafts but better count on something spendier. This particular car built well will move like it has no right to, there are plenty of full size street Buick’s running 11’s and 12’s. Cool car, I’d condider it..but not at 12k

    • Douglas Potts

      Please! The 401/430/455 were NEVER big blocks. That is a Chevy engine term.

  4. Dale

    That’s a 128,000 mile car if I ever saw one.

    2
    • Bill Hall

      Not necessarily on the mileage. It is an Original Oregon Car as the license plate matches the year of the car. It obviously has been in storage for quite a while but is a very nice car that deserves a decent offer.

      1
  5. rmward Member

    A 1968 Riviera is the first car I vividly remember as a child. My mother always liked “something different” Her choices were a Studebaker Hawk, (before I was born), 1968 Riviera, 1971 Eldorado Coupe, 1975 Eldorado Convertible, 1979 Eldorado(2). There were a lot of basic transportation cars in there that my father picked out and mom has moved on to Lexus.

    The ’68 Riviera we had was around for awhile being passed down to my brother. It didn’t have bucket seats or rallye wheels, but it was a cool car anyway. I remember many a road trips in our ’68 Riv. Too bad GM doesn’t make cars like this anymore.

    1
  6. local_sheriff

    I personally think the ’66 is the pinnacle of Rivs, with the stenciled hood lettering and last year for the Nailhead. I really like the looks of the ’68-’69 Rivs also, however at current bidding this one seems a bit too rough around the edges.

    There’s a seemingly very clean ’69 GS offered on ebay right now, located in NY at $14.500 BIN. IMO a much better value if you can live with green (which I don’t mind!) 😁

    1
  7. JoeNYWF64

    I would have to say this car has low beam headlites positioned further inward(with respect to the corners of the car) than any other car since or before. Not sure if they block the radiator enough to cause a run-too-hot issue during NIGHT driving.
    The feds must have been sleepin when this car was released, unless there was(still is?) no standard on HORIZONTAL positioning/placement of headlites?
    Still, the car looks super cool & futuristic, with its additional hidden wipers & ventless side windows.
    New carpet will do wonders for that interior!
    Can i assume fenders are hard to find & these might need to be banged out & straightened/patched?
    Not sure if these headlites can be closed easily MANUALLY like on a 1st gen RS camaro.

  8. John Oliveri

    There’s a video on you tube of this car getting pulled out of its hibernation, hope he didn’t run it long w/o pouring some mystery oil in its plug holes, haste makes waste

  9. Dave Rhodes

    take the money and run …. it will cost double that to restore it to show condition

    1
    • Bill Hall

      It does not need much restoration. What is so bad taking care of cosmetic issues and take care of mechanical problems? Then take for an occasional road trip as that is what these cars are for.

      2
      • Dave Rhodes

        depends on your definition of restoration

  10. Don

    I had a 1968 Buick Riviera GS back in the late 70s ! It was black on white mine had sport mirrors and the grill was black and the the rocker panels were black ribbed! Big block 430 4 barrel! My favorite car of all time !

    2
  11. Cam W

    The early Rivieras were distinctive, powerful, personal luxury cars.
    I have fond memories of being a car-crazy 10 year-old boy riding with my dad in many of these.
    My late father was a corporate lawyer that acted for some GM dealers, and had partial ownership with a few. As part of the deal, my mom and dad were provided with “demonstrators”. Mom got a brand-new, loaded station wagon every 4-6 months, and dad got Rivieras every 3-4 months.
    One evening, my dad had a brief meeting at the dealership, and I went for the ride. I was playing around in the show-room, and Dad told me to wait in the car . I got into “our” Riviera, and waited. About 15 minutes later, Dad hopped in and we began to drive home.About half-way there, I noticed a pipe in the ash-tray (Dad smoked big Cuban cigars).
    It was then we realized I had gotten into our previous demonstrator that had been sold.
    We rushed back to the dealership (which was about to close for the night), to be greeted by frantic staff and new owner that was sure his gorgeous new Riviera had been stolen after owning it a week. They were just about to call the police. Dad blamed me for getting in the wrong Riviera. I think they gave the customer a years free oil service to keep him happy.
    After the end of the boat-tail Rivieras, Dad went to Eldorados.

    6
  12. Ken

    WOW wouldn’t I love to find someone that would consider or be interested in trading for a full blown mechanical cummins diesel 96 dodge 1 ton dually. Something like this would be so much pleasure in working on to resolve the issues one would without a doubt run into in a car of this age and length of time sitting….WOW

  13. Chris M.

    Return this design to the cave! Not Buicks best lines by any stretch!

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