Loads of Chrome! 1958 Buick Super Riviera

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The U.S. economy experienced an economic downturn in 1958, its first real crunch since the ramp-up after World War II. This especially hit the auto industry, which saw sales drop 30% from the year before. Buick fared worse than others, selling 241,000 cars in 1958 vs. 700,000 at its peak in 1955. The ’58 Buicks were bolded-styled, and chrome was shoveled on, which may have been a turnoff for some buyers. The mid-level Super was only available as hardtops which were all called Rivieras like the seller’s car. It’s quite the looker at 20 feet, but once you check out the interior and undercarriage you’ll find some problems brewing.

Buick’s Super was sandwiched between the entry-level Special and the mid-level Century in the lineup. Perhaps the Super could be thought of as a fancy Special and was powered by a 364 cubic inch “Nailhead” V8, a powerful engine that was needed because the cars were quite heavy. On the front end, amid all the chrome, were quad headlights which had finally been approved by the DOT and now used by lots of automakers. Despite dismal sales overall, Buick managed to produce and sell 28,000 Super Riviera 4-doors and 14,000 2-doors like the seller’s two-tone example.

We don’t know the history of this Buick other than it runs and has 78,000 miles on the odometer.  At first glance, it looks quite beautiful, but the inner rocker panels have rust issues that have turned into holes. Yet the paint and bright work all look stellar, so you’d think this is a mover and a shaker at first. The interior has issues, particularly with the front seat and carpeting. Yet the back seat looks perfect, so hopefully you can find some matching material.

Besides the Nailhead V8, a DynaFlow variable pitch transmission is tucked in under the hood. The seller says the car starts, moves, and shifts on its own – but doesn’t go beyond that in describing its mechanical health.  If you can sort out what’s going on under the sheet metal, this could be a great car to restore. It can be found in Norco, California, and is available here on eBay where the current bid is $10,000 (no reserve).

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Comments

  1. Will Fox

    I’d never seen the pale pink matched with the copper before, but it works to these eyes. Overall it appears very solid, and those rockers with rust holes should be able to be replaced. I hope the floors are solid enough. The ‘rust’ colored seat fabric I have seen before as being reproduced, but what I saw was a blue color. No worries, as this would be a stellar project to spruce up possibly for the `25 show season? I bet it’s like driving a cloud.

    Like 7
  2. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Needs some Bleche-White for those tires! The white wallls look awfully yellow! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 6
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    The leader of the ’58 class of ugly cars closely followed up by Chrysler and Ford. They all had pretty good looking cars up to that point and finally went back to something you wanted to look at in the ’60s.

    Like 1
  4. chevelle guy

    i remember being a little kid in the 60s and being scared of those things .. all those Buicks had scary faces…
    ill take one now tho… got over the fear

    Like 11
    • normadesmond

      yes! yes! yes!

      Like 4
  5. HoA HoAMember

    Uncle Bills car, almost, his was a 4 door, same colors. Who was Uncle Bill, you say? The farm I lived on in N.Wis., Uncle Bill was one of the original kids from the farm, of like 8, that never married or moved away. Lived into his 90s. Sound familiar? Anyway, he had a ’58 Buick like this, that sat in the weeds as long as I can remember. One of the many projects he never got around to. When I moved there in 2015, I asked, where’s Bills car? The doofus nephew said, they had a farm scrap drive a while back,, and the Buick, along with their dads AA Ford dump truck, were hauled away.

    Like 6
    • Nelson C

      Seems like there were many Uncle Bills back in the day. Never married and lived on the farm all their lives. I can think of at least two cousins like that. Good guys. Just not husband material.

      Like 3
  6. Thomas Crum

    I disagree with the writer’s identification of the Buick Super being between the Special and Century. These Buicks shared the same wheelbase. The Super series shared the same wheelbase as the Roadmaster but only had a 2 barrel carb. Roadmaster had a 4 barrel. The same difference between Special and Century. 1958 was the only year Buick offered an even more luxurious model called the Limited with different side styling

    Like 0
  7. UDT FROG

    Strange color but should sell well. the car itself for me does not present well, and I love Buicks.

    Like 1
  8. Thomas Crum

    My father purchased a 1956 Buick Super in a special color combination: pink and blue. The standard combinations were pink and white and blue and white. The car was a prior factory exec driven car. I used to drive it to the car wash and the guys would ramp and rave over the car. Mother hated to even ride in it.

    Like 0
  9. Phil

    There is something strange about the 2 tone paint: the code on the data plate is N-P, N = Garnet red / P = Reef Coral. These are indeed the colors of the car but the first letter indicates the lower (main) color and the second the upper (=roof) color. So it should be P-N according to the photos !!!

    Like 0
  10. Terrry

    If you think this car was drenched in chrome, it’s even uglier sister, the Century Limited, had so much tinsel it had to be rationed for Christmas that year.

    Like 3
  11. Gary RaymondMember

    Growing up in the late 60s, a neighbor of ours was a Buick guy…bought my first car from him, a 57 Buick Caballero wagon. He also had a beautiful blue 58 Buick Riviera sitting in his year…I can still remember that gorgeous body and gleaming chrome. I asked him what he was doing with it; “it has an electrical problem, I’m parting it out” 😢

    Like 1
  12. Cole

    Where is the thumbs down button on another dudes comment ?

    😉

    Like 0
  13. Bill Hall

    To redo the chrome on a 58 Buick you have to have at least an extra MILLION $$ sitting around.

    Like 1
  14. Christopher Douglas

    Just as a clarification – the Super did not fit between the Special and the Century, it was above the Century and just below the Roadmaster. Dimensionally, it was a bigger car than both the Special and the Century

    Like 2
  15. Tim Mack

    “A homage to the god Chromius” is how Car and Driver described the ’58 Buicks, and the further up the line you went, the more chrome you saw. I think I remember that there are 180 squares in the grille alone!

    Like 2
    • HoA HoAMember

      The 1958 “Fashion-Aire Dynastar Grill” had 160 individual squares, somewhat toned down for 1959.

      Like 1
  16. Thomas Crum

    The 1958 Buick Limited had small chrome “vents” instead of the big heavy rocket shaped chrome at the rear. It was very dignified compared to the other four Buick models offered. Special, Century, Super and Roadmaster.

    Like 0
  17. BobMck

    I would love to own this car.

    Like 0

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