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Garage Find Buick: 1969 Riviera


Here’s the classic garage find! After having been stored in a garage for 12 years post being painted, this Riviera is ready for a new owner–or at least it’s seller thinks so! It’s located in Hardy, Arkansas and is up for sale here on eBay, where the starting bid is $3,500 and there’s no reserve.


It’s really hard to tell the quality of the paint from these pictures, but since the seller says that the car “doesn’t have a lot of rust” I’m got concerns about the condition of the body that could only be answered by personal inspection or a lot more pictures.


The dust from a real barn or garage find tends to obscure the real condition of the car. I’m sure many folks (and I’ve done this a few times) get so excited over finding a car like this, that’s been out of circulation for so long, that they overlook the issues that almost inevitably result from long storage.


The seller states that the interior is “fair”. Hmmmm. That’s not what I call fair, although it’s possible that the dash is pretty nice. I can’t tell from the poor pictures, but I am pretty sure that the seats, carpet and possibly steering wheel are going to need replacement. That won’t be inexpensive; the seat upholstery alone is $570 here, and the carpet is another $169 here.


Under the hood is looking a little tired. I’m guessing that’s the brackets that would normally hold an air conditioning compressor are there on the left, and the rest of the underhood items look pretty tired. The seller tells us that the car needs some brake work and that the fuel pump wire needs repair. They also state in the ad that the vacuum-actuated headlights are an issue as well, and that the exhaust is leaking at the donut gaskets. Overall, this looks like a car that needs some TLC, but the real measure of whether it’s worth it or not is the condition of the body. If I were interested in this one, I’d be asking the seller for some closeup pictures. How do you evaluate a real garage or barn find from a distance, or are you just dead set against purchasing a car from a long way away? I’ve purchased three cars from a distance; one I flew out to evaluate first, the other two I took the sellers’ words after looking closely at a lot of pictures. All three times I’m happy to say my sellers were telling the truth and all three deals were excellent from my point of view. I’d love to hear about your experiences, both pro and con. I’m sure there are lots of lurkers out there that are wondering what it would take to make sure a buying experience was a good one.


  1. DrinkinGasoline

    It is beyond me, how any owner, of any vehicle could be so indifferent as to allow the Driver’s seat upholstery to become so severely damaged ? I get that they give up on the mechanical’s due to scope of ability or funding but… the interior ? It is within anyone’s capability to care for upholstery. So sad.

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  2. Steve

    I’ve been screwed more than not.
    Trust no one and you will never be disappointed!

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  3. Dolphin Member

    The seller has revised the listing twice and added more information, like more pictures and the fact that he started it and it ran (despite needing the fuel pump electrical fixed—?). What would help sell this Riviera even more is:

    Get it out of the back corner of the garage and move it to the front where it can be seen and inspected by potential buyers and at least yard driven.

    There are plenty of pictures of the car covered with dust. Now wash it so people can see the paint and body.

    Take some better pictures with a decent camera, not with a cellphone, outside the garage. The repaint might be acceptable or even good, or it could have lots of orange peel. Right now, you can’t tell.

    Also, show the rust it has so you don’t waste peoples’ time—or your own.

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  4. Roselandpete

    Looks rough.

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  5. richard aufderheide

    Over the years, i have developed a good ‘bullshit meter’. If it’s ‘the best car/ example’ ever, but the seller knows nothing about it…he is selling for an ‘older friend’..or a widow of a friend…AND HE WOULD BUY IT HIMSELF (if only he had the $$ or garage space)… i have always been ripped off.
    If you find yourself 45 minutes later on the phone talking about other cars you, or he might have….issues, etc… i have not been disappointed.
    One of te first vintage cars i purchased was a 65 Rambler Marlin 4 speed ( my father had one). Guy was ‘super nice on phone…. but just kept telling me how great and rare car was… would interrupt me every time i tried to ask a question.. telling me ‘how rare and valuable’ car was … and how many other people wanted the car. He was in Fla..i lived in Mayland… he said there would be ‘absolutely no problem driving it home’. paid him ahead of time.. did not want to lose the ‘rare/valuable/ highly coveted car’. got there. could not keep it running.. steering all over road and no brakes to speak of. i ended driving it to Orlando…put it on the Auto train to DC.. and had a friend with a trailer help me get it home. lets say wife ‘was not pleased’ “i thought you said.. he said.. blah blah, blah.
    my feeling is if you find a car you want..you WANT the car… you won;t just wait around… so when i hear the “how many people have looked at it and want it.. but have not comeback with the $$ (always..they are coming tomorrow). If i go to look at a car i Always take $$ if for nothing else a deposit. so that line is a big red flag as well.

    What i have found.. is while watching Barret-Jackson and mecum… the hobby is being (IMHO) ruined. everyone wants to be a ‘flipper’ and truth/ morals have gone down drain.
    What you want: Last year at Hershey My son and i walked the car corral ~6 times over 3 days. all the new painted mustangs, camaros, etc were snatched up andheaded off to Sweden by Thursday. There was an old man selling a 67 ford Galaxie convertible with a 289 all weekend. His price went from 12k to 8 k… car was nice enough.. solid, original and he was the original owner. Don’t know if he eventually sold it…. but i told my son: “thats who/how you want to buy a car from’. ‘back in my day…you got your cars from older guys who owned them for years…knew everything about them… and basically were getting too old to enjoy the car anymore and just wanted to turn it over to someone who would enjoy it like they did. Unfortunately, those days, like the men selling off their cars are dying off. everyone is a broker/ dealer.. you see the same faces at every auction, show. the hobby is just not the same.

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