Sitting Out Back! 1970 Buick Riviera 455

Buick dived into the personal luxury car market in 1963 and immediately struck gold. Perhaps because not only were they luxurious automobiles, but they were also powerful machines with some of the biggest engines that Buick offered. The honeymoon was over by 1970 as sales that year was only about what they sold in 1964, so an entirely new car was on the way for 1971 with boat-tail styling (but that’s another story). This 1970 Riviera has been sitting out behind the seller’s place of business for five years or longer. It’s time for it to go before Mother Nature consumes it. Located in Denver, Colorado, this Riviera is available here on craigslist for $11,000. Thanks for the tip, Barn Finder Gunter Kramer!

The third generation of the Buick Riviera was ending when this car was built. It would borrow styling cues from GM head designer Bill Mitchell’s 1968 “Silver Arrow II” concept car. Exposed quad headlamps were almost flush-mounted with a new front bumper that wrapped around and over the new vertical bar grille set between the headlamp pods. The 1970 model would receive Buick’s new 455 cubic inch V8 which was rated at 370 hp. While things were looking up, sales dropped by 15,000 units over the prior year. So a big change was coming for 1971.

This Riviera belongs to the boss of the person who placed this listing. It’s been sitting out behind their shop for the past half-dozen years and doesn’t look bad for the experience. Sure, the tires are flat and it’s going to need a new battery and the old gas replaced with new. The boss can’t sit in a car this low anymore, so it’s time for the Buick to move on before it goes to pot. The gold paint may be okay, at least for now, but the vinyl top has developed some cracks. There is no reference to rust, and we don’t see any from the limited views provided of the car.

The interior might be the best part, with no apparent issues reported or seen. The car has less than 90,000 miles on it, so it’s been well-used but maybe not worn out. The key will be how the car runs once the seller or buyer can get it started again. Hagerty estimates that one of these Buicks is worth about $11,000 in Good condition, but since this car isn’t running, Fair would be more accurate at $7,000. Sounds like some negotiating on the price is needed.


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  1. Big_Fun Member

    I’ve owned one, and that engine is the same they had in the ’70 GS455. One interesting exception is an electric fuel pump, located in the tank, of course. Unique oil pressure switch – designed to not start if no or low oil pressure. Many have thought fuel pump when it was the switch…
    Carpet replaced with black instead of the lightercolor, but that can be changed out.
    I spy cruise control- tilt wheel was standard.
    Polarized styling – but my favorite year. 2.73 standard, 3.42 optional. Being it’s in CO, it may have deeper cogs being the higher altitude.
    Hmmm. I may have make some room…

    Like 11
  2. Vance

    This car is lost in transition, it looks like a humped back Skylark. I love Riv’s, but they had a couple of years they dropped the ball. This is one, and then the LeSabre look a like. It’s different, and that not a bad thing, it just looks awkward. Kudos to whoever wants it, you don’t see many.

    Like 4
  3. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Russ makes a good point on the value, especially since it’s not in running condition and has just been sitting for 5 or more years. It will be difficult to check and see what works and what doesn’t, how good the motor is or the trans. It does look pretty good and if you like this gen Riviera, it could be a nice find. Not running, I wouldn’t chance 11 large on it; maybe somewhere around $7,000.

    Like 2
  4. RichardinMaine

    This is a perfect example of GM styling leading the charge downward. The first two years of the Riv could not have been better, but this is bloated and overwrought. The 80’s would only get worse

    Like 3
  5. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I am STILL kicking myself for getting rid of my ’70 Riviera. The ones I see now all have bench seats, column shift, skirts.
    Mine was a sportier version with buckets, console, floor “sickle” shift, power everything.
    I bought it for $600, late 90s early 00s. Put $4000 into it. Sold it for $600.
    Now, a non runner is going for $7000-$11,000.

    Like 4
  6. Don Eladio

    Actually, the best year for the Riviera, save for the grille and fender skirts. No skirts and a GS, and you’re golden. Quickest one by far. Actually, 3.91’s were available from ’67 or ’68 on through ’70, although a very rare find. I have a 3.42 Posi unit out of one of these 9 3/8 Buick axles that came out of a 10K-mile ’69 Riviera GS, many years ago. The 3.91 gears are VERY valuable, if you can find them. There is zero aftermarket support for these axles.

    Like 1
  7. JCA

    Quickest or not, make mine a black ’67 GS. Timeless design…

    Like 2
  8. John Oliveri

    This is a one year look, boat tail was coming, which I prefer and want one badly, but I would take a loaded 69 over this one, not crazy about the skirts or the rear of it

    Like 1
  9. dwcisme

    A college chum had one of these in the late 70’s. It sagged a bit on the right side. Turned out there was about 100 lbs. of bondo (expertly formed) all the way down the rear 1/4 and the frame was slightly bent. He got a shop to replace the fender and straighten the frame for about what the bondo would have cost not to mention the hours forming it. I liked the look of these cars but wow! are they ever big.

  10. JoeNYWF64

    This looks like the overweight father of a Buick Regal!
    Not unique enough IMO, compared to prev Rivieras & the ’71-’73s.

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