Make Room: 1982 Buick Riviera Convertible

The owner of this Riviera has decided to sell it because they need to make room in the garage for their new SUV. I say park the SUV outside and keep this cruiser around! It appears to be in very nice condition with only 33k miles on the clock. These were special cars and the convertible top makes it even more so. It’s located in Lincoln, Nebraska and is listed here on craigslist with a $9,700 asking price.

This was the first convertible to come out of GM since 1976 when the drop-top Cadillac was chopped. These started life with a roof, but were shipped over to American Sunroof Corporation where they cut the top off and reinforced the body. Rivieras were higher end cars, so I’m sure these are relatively rare today. Especially in this condition! The seller doesn’t give us much information, but if the mileage really is correct, there probably isn’t much to say.

As with any low-mileage high-dollar survivor, documentation is key. Service records and such can really be helpful when trying to verify mileage claims. This car is new enough that you could even run a CarFax report to see if everything checks out. This car may be too nice to drive a lot, but it might be perfect for parade days and warm summer evenings. You will just need to convince your wife to park that SUV outside…

Fast Finds


  1. Elrod

    I was working as a Buick dealer tech back when these were hot. The customers were VERY loyal to these models! When the newer cookie cutter models came out to replace these – they were mortified! I can recall doing extensive renovations on these older models because the new ones were so hideous. The customers decided to keep the old models as long as they could. This was indeed the last of a very nice nostalgic breed.

  2. Bmac Bmac Member

    Had 2 of these, one lower mileage & the other higher mileage in the late 90’s. I think I paid around 2,000 for more used car, & 2500 the really nice one. They are nice driving cars, & fun with the top down letting what hair I had left blow in the wind. I think the price might be on the high side. You’ll have to deal with 80’s electronics and switches, “which is really fun”. But on the plus side throw your clubs in the backseat and go to the club in style.

  3. RoselandPete

    Handsome car. I’ve also seen pics of this era’s Toro convertibles which were also nice. Definitely let the SUV sit outside.

  4. Pa Tina

    I had a guy driving one of these rear-end my 1976 Corvette. The big bumper cover had nary a scratch. The front of the Riv was destroyed and coolant was gushing out of it. It took five minutes to convince the police officers that he hit me. Maybe the Riv need more reinforcement after the top was cut off. I drove away. The Riv left on a flatbed.

  5. Brakeservo

    The original build quality of these was so atrocious that the effect on my has never worn off – I just can’t bring myself to buy ANY American car after working at a Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealership from 1982 – 1984. The best made new cars we sold were left-over Fiats, branded either Pininfarina or Bertone . . . and that’s saying something!!

  6. aribert

    I was employed at ASC from ’89 to’96. These conversions were ancient history by then but I seem to recall a long term ASC employee telling me that this conversion program was sponsored / funded by the New England Buick Dealers Association (IOW, not GM). After 25 yrs, I might have my facts wrong.

  7. George

    I love the look of this particular year Riviera. I like all of the 60’s 2 late 70′ minus 1 or 2. The only thing I am not wild about–the seats look a bit cheap for the car. I’d want to switch them out for much nicer and well bolstered Cadillac or other great comfortable seats. Those in my 1966 Dodge Charger were more attractive and were comfortable and looked it. As for the price, Most of the prices I see appear to be ridiculous and I would probably not go much over a third of what a seller asks. I don’t know where these buyers are found but it sure ain’t here. My cars are always a deal and they are always nicer than I say they are always nicer than I say and I won’t sell a car that has a mechanical problem w/o giving full and accurate disclosure, normally having it fixed myself and I never an ugly color, but still hear squawking with many angry walk-offs. They look around and can’t find anything even close come back and I won’t sell it 2 them. They ask why and I respond: Would U? I’m selling a good car @ a more than fair price. U come on my property rank on the car/price/med in a very rude and offensive way, storm out look for another of which I have told U there R none. U come back & say U will buy it I say no because that was the $ then & as any court U cud have asked for a continuance which although I wud not hold the car 4 U without a deposit, U chose to behave in manner showing contempt 4 the court–which any fool knows even if he has seen only single movie where the Court is integral to the plot always brings a fine or jailing. And that this may be run more like a court than a back alley is certainly suggest by my shingled hanging on the gate. I mess with cars 4 the fun of it, my ruling re always fair measuring all of them facts (the market) and my ruling/verdict fair and reasonable. When it is not fun, then the person who makes it so, is found in contempt of court & fined and/or jailed. The owner-Judge assesses the fine for bad conduct, here found to be a reasonable 2K The defendant-U can either pay it ad by so doing kin addition to the asking price and leave with the car. OR not pay it and peacefully leave the Courthouse and grounds and your case will be dismissed OR were you not to pay the fine and not peaceably leave you would be jailed for trespass by the local police,

    • Brakeservo

      We all know the dangers of drinking and driving . . . well do we now see the results of drinking and writing??

      • George

        Court called to order. Plaintiff Brakeservo pleads as above set out. Defendant George answers. We don’t. There is a failure of proof on single Do you have any of your writings published in any instructional book or resource which are used in every state to guide multiple persons therein instruction and guidance on avoiding major pitfalls and loss of either livelihood or status? Defendant has no need and therefore no further responds. Directed Verdict for Defendant. Jury award: Plaintiff Brakeservo ordered to an award of zero dollars and in plaintiff’s image, no cents. to Defendant George. Basis for Zero award: Defendant’a reputation cannot possibly be damaged by such infantile, mindless balderdash. It Is So Ordered. Next case

    • Tom D


  8. George

    Okay Okay I am verbose as U all know and hence the spelling errors in the last half of the book due to
    shortage of editing time.There would have been 0 were the site to provide a larger box to write in so one sentence wud not over-lap the next, and where U could actually place the cursor on the word w/o having 2 guess which word the cursor might select is the one needing correcting..invariably not the one I, the author, chose. To avoid further irritation to my compadres, henceforth I’ll draft my responses on a separate site,one that actually knows how to spell & copy and paste them here. No, I can’t–I don’t find success in trying to shorten them.

    • Brakeservo

      Well actually, (without revealing too much) why yes I have been published numerous times in more than a few magazines but the last book was some time ago. Were you to see my photo you might recognize me from various appearances on Discovery, TNT Network, Velocity and before that, the Speed Channel. I am not beyond error as I do my own proofreading for this venue.


      coo coo

  9. WLB

    Huh, whut he say?

  10. Brad

    I worked at Bill Hembrough Buick (long gone now) in 1984-85 and his wife drove the exact same car for her “demo”. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was the same car. There weren’t many of these around.

    • rmward194 Member

      I remember Bill Hembrough Buick. It was not far from where I grew up! The Buick dealer I worked for sold one of these to a local businessman who rarely drove it. Unfortunately our dealer was obsessed with fuel economy and ordered every car with the 231 V-6 or a Diesel.

      Sadly the only Riviera convertible we sold to this man had the V-6. It was a great, low-mileage car when he traded it in, but we ultimately wholesaled it because no one else would buy it in a small town.


    I had a pewter hard top which was beautiful however it was stolen. It was found on the south side of Chicago and they fixed it but it was never the same. Traded it for a minivan.

  12. jaymes

    i remember arnold tearing one of these up(

  13. jeff

    there is one of these at the Dealer in town. Proudly displayed in the service dept.
    AS we all know — everything is for sale . So if someone were interested in this model of vehicle and you don’t want to go to Lincoln, NE .

    216 S. 1st St.
    Dekalb, IL 60115
    Sales (Call or Text): 815-739-6054
    Service (Call): 815-756-9500
    Service (Text): 815-739-6053

    • RoselandPete

      Jeff, Do you happen to know how much your local dealer is asking?

  14. Tom D

    Nice car, the price would match a clean 33k example, this looks a little more tired than that…bumper fillers all fail, otherwise pretty solid.

  15. Alan

    My uncle had one in the garage, that was also his bedroom.

  16. Black Cat

    Well, on this one, I have to say that Brakeservo and George were more entertaining than the Riv. Still, a very nice (yawn) car.

  17. ACZ

    These were extremely nice cars. I still have two 1985 hardtops. One is a T-type turbo, the other a V8 gas. They are truly great cars.
    As far as converts are concerned, the 82 was the first year. Some of these had what was called “cowl shake”. Those familiar with converts understand this. When you remove the roof, you remove a structural member of the car. When ASC made these (and they were destined to be converts when assembled – see the …67…. in the VIN. That is a convert. 57 is a coupe) they were not big on strengthening the body and frame to compensate for the lack of a fixed roof. Buick and Fisher Body engineered two kits (numbered #1 and #2) to add the needed beef. Use of these was determined after inspection and diagnosis by a Fisher Field Engineer. By late 83 these mods were rolled into production vehicles.
    As a matter of record no converts were made with diesel engines. Most were gas V8s and if you find one with a V6 Turbo, that is EXTREMELY rare. Only a handful were made. There may also be a few with a 4.1L V6 (I can’t remember).
    This was not done through any dealers. This was strictly Buick Motor Division.
    There were some local coachbuilders that did some convert conversions on different models (Regals in particular) but those were just local hack-jobs.
    I hope that info may help someone.

    • Tom D

      I only have experience with the ASC Eldo, my ’85 has large bent rods welded to the frame, but over the right road conditions, will exhibit some cowl shake. I think the ASC convertibles are better engineered than the H&E ones…and I’ve never seen an ASC Toro?

  18. Concinnity

    This model is also the same as that in the movie ‘La La Land’ which won six Oscars last year. Driven by Ryan Gosling right from the first scene. (Where, after the elaborate dance routine, no-one seems to get back into that E30 convertible.)

  19. David Miraglia

    always liked this version. Understated and not overbaked

  20. JAMES

    I remember my stepdad had a white 1965 Buick Riviera and he let me use it to go on dates. I always liked the long center console with floor shifter and the airplane like slide controls under the dash top, not to mention the massive V/8. I really do not like tthe body and interior style changes made in the newer models. Its also like the Chevy Monte Carlo changes from the first year production. G M is still trying to maintain a resemblance to the early 1970,s Monte Carlo,s but failed miserably.

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