Rare Ragtop: 1982 Buick Riviera Convertible

The big news for the sixth-generation Riviera was a change to a modified front-wheel-drive platform of GM’s E-body which also underpinned the Olds Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado of the same era. I’ve always thought that these were “right-sized” cars, not too big, not too small. Just right. This 1982 Buick Riviera Convertible can be found listed here on eBay in the Gateway to the West: Omaha, Nebraska. There is a single bid of $4,600 and no reserve. Thanks to Ikey H. for submitting this tip!

Buick’s sixth-generation Riviera was made for the 1979 through 1985 model years and other than the first-generation cars, they’re my personal favorite. Not many convertibles were made beginning for the 1981 model year and they’re rare to see today. They only came in white or red and either paint color option came with a red leather interior, yet another reason why I love this car. Some sources say just over 1,200 and others say just under 4,000 were made. One of those numbers is fake news…

This car looks absolutely fantastic and it has just a couple of little issues that should be easy to fix. The power antenna doesn’t work nor does the left rear power window. This car has never been painted or in an accident, but the seller mentions an unusual time-lapse in the DMV report. Apparently, the previous owner put the car into storage in 1998 and when he moved in 2005, the DMV reported the mileage as suspicious because of that lag time. If you look at the details and interior, it sure doesn’t look like a car with 170,000 miles on it. I’m inclined to lean towards the 70,000 miles listed as the correct mileage. Thoughts?

And what an interior. The E-body Riviera, Toronado, and Eldorado of this era would have been another group of cars that I drove a lot in my first job parking and washing cars at an indoor parking garage after high school. Maybe that’s another reason I like them so much. This interior looks incredible both front and rear and the trunk is more than big enough to load up the luggage for a cross-country road trip with the top down most of the way, hopefully.

The engine is an Oldsmobile 307 cubic-inch V8 which had around 150 hp and the seller says that it runs strong with no smoke and the transmission works as it should. Hagerty is at $7,200 for a #3 good condition car so this could end up being a good buy. Are there any fans of the sixth-generation Rivieras out there?

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Comments

  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice one, Scotty! For years I wouldn’t have thought twice about one of these, but seeing it with this dynamite color combination and the leather… that’s a lot of car for the dollar!

    Like 6
  2. Tim Vestrand

    I had one of these in a coupe version, the doors were ridiculously long and heavy. The drivers door wouldn’t stay latched, when I traded it in, as the salesman was driving it away, the door kept flopping open. Can’t imagine what a convertible would be like.

    Like 2
  3. Ben T. Spanner

    Ft Myers FL craigslist has a Toronado version with 75000 miles and an asking price of $7900. Looks like the same paint and same seats. These are usually white with burgundy upholstery, but iIhave seen a maroon Buick with burgundy leather.
    If you want an American convertible with V8, AC and a back seat, these will do it.

    Like 8
    • wjtinfwb

      Pretty sure the Toronado is a different, aftermarket conversion while the Buick was factory-authorized, along with the Eldorado version. Company in Florida, and I’m sure others, chopped the tops. They look a little lumpy in comparison to the OEM versions.

      Like 4
  4. Steve Bush Member

    Looks pretty good. Interesting to note the Riviera has three seatbelts in the back and individual switches for the power windows while the Toronado has neither as well as a much narrower rear seat. To me this makes it much nicer car.

    Like 1
  5. John Oliveri

    That’s hysterical, 150 hp runs strong, I owned a new 83 Rivera, that 307 motor only would serve 1 purpose and be useful, a boat anchor, terrible motor, was the last GM car I bought, went to Lincoln for the 5.0 in the 88 Lincoln MK VII, never looked back

    Like 2
  6. dennis wax

    Had an 81 in Charcoal, which was beautiful and extremely comfortable. Was a V6 and something snapped in the transmission every 3-5 thousand miles. Itwas a $2.00 plastic piece that cost a fortune in labor to replace. Was called a “metric” transmission. Reluctantly sold it and moved on.

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      You probably should have gotten someone to repair it that knew what they were doing.

      Like 4
      • John Oliveri

        Mine was brand new and it was junk

  7. Mike

    Nice car! Parents had an ’82 Eldorado coupe and had alot of engine/electrical issuses but it was fun to drive!

  8. ACZ

    Whoever buys this should check to see if the two bracing kits were installed. These were to minimize cowl shake without a fixed roof. The first year (1982) didn’t come with them. Later models had that incorporated into the build. The cars were built without any roof trim and then were sent to American Sunroof for modification where the top was cut off. This was done to keep everything straight until all modifications could be made. They were a really nice cruiser. I still have two 1985 Coupes. One turbo V6 and one 5.0l V8. Both are fun to drive and very reliable. One point, these are not hot rods, they are cruisers that get reasonable fuel economy. Want better performance? Buy a Grand National!

    Like 5
  9. George Louis

    The Steering Wheel center pad looks out of place. It does not match the seat color nor is it close yo the drivers door panel.. I got to believe that Gm did a better job than this matching interior colors.

    • Phil D

      The steering wheel in that car is absolutely correct. While you’re right about it not matching the upholstery, carpet, or door panels, look closely and you’ll see that it does match the instrument panel cover. It’s just more noticeable on that large, flat horn pad.

      Starting with the 1981 models, GM began using darker, complimentary shades of the selected interior trim color on the instrument panels and steering wheels of all but the darkest trim colors to cut down on the reflection of those items in the windshield, and the Maple Red trim in that Riviera was “medium” enough to get that treatment.

      Like 1
  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $8,125.50.

    Odd amount…

  11. Little_Cars

    Shill bidder at the last minute, for .50 cents. LOL

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