True Collector’s Item: 1978 Buick Riviera Anniversary

Wearing a two-tone-with a stripe paint job, vinyl roof complete with opera windows, and five spoke rally type wheels, this mint Buick is the epitome of late ’70s style.  This stunning example from the 1970s, which could be otherwise known as the decade of special editions, seems to have led an easy life as many relatively limited production vehicles did.  Described by the seller has a “true collector’s item” with only 2,899 produced, this 1978 Buick Riviera 75th Anniversary Coupe is being offered here on craigslist for a truly collectible price of $10,000. Thanks goes to Pat L for the tip!

While mostly consisting of a distinctive paint job, black trim, and a more luxurious interior, this special edition package also features four wheel disc brakes and a 403 cubic inch Oldsmobile V8!

Here is the only shot of the 403 big block Olds, which by the late 1970s was only producing about 185 horsepower, but more than enough torque to move this beast swiftly down the road I am sure.  You can see that some maintenance and repair work has been done including a newer alternator and the usual belts and hoses, etc.  Aside from the otherwise respectable well kept engine bay, I see what appears to be an upside down air cleaner lid, a free “performance trick” thought to allow more air into the carburetor.  However all it really does is encourage the engine to inhale more hot air from under the hood.  If I were the seller I would flip that air cleaner back over before showing the car to prospective buyers.

On to the interior, which includes a special gray leather upholstery with black trim.  The interior still presents well and despite not seeing the driver’s seat, I think it safe to say judging by the condition of the rest of the interior and the car itself, there probably won’t be any unpleasant surprises.  Exclusive “75th Anniversary” emblems can also be seen throughout the interior and exterior, always reminding you that you are driving a small piece of GM history.

The sport steering wheel and brushed aluminum dash could almost fool you into thinking that you were in something sportier and sleeker than a late ’70s Buick.  Sporty or not, this Riviera should make for a pleasurable and comfortable driving experience for its new owner, do you agree?

Fast Finds


  1. Moparman Member

    IMO, one of the last good looking Rivieras. Look at this link to show how ill proportioned it had become by 1984!

    Like 1
  2. DrinkinGasoline

    I have owned a few late 70’s Buick C and B bodies and this Riv shares the characteristics of those. And those were “very” luxurious, comfortable interiors, smooth ride, and when well tuned, decent MPG’s for the time if you kept your foot out of the firewall.

    Like 1
  3. RoselandPete

    I love Rivs but I always considered the 74-78 models to be the dark days of what was once distinctive Riv styling. They reminded me of LeSabres. I’ve come to grow fond of them over the last few years, however. Even though they’re not high on my Riv desirability list, I wouldn’t mind having one nowadays especially since there are so few modern day cars (ok–basically none) that I’d like to own.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I can agree, as they were essentially a two door B-body LeSabre with specific aft sail panel styling. And as far as today’s automotive styling is concerned….well, there really isn’t any. The technology has come a long way but the styling…not so much. Harley Earl is turning over in his grave. :(

      • Chas-NC

        As GM started the process of downsizing their car lines in 1977, they made the choice to move the Rivera to the B-body in order to keep the rear wheel drive and not have a 2 year gap in the product line till the all new 1979 body was released (along with corporate cousins Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado). That’s why it looks like a dressed up LeSabre. GM did give it some design cuesand trim packages that would make it stand apart from the LeSabre.
        And for 1978 you could buy the LXXV (75th anniversary) special edition model in addition to the other trim packages as well. Since this body style was just a 2 year production run, as they are now starting to become scarce, more people are looking and wanting them.

  4. William gossard

    Nice car except that HUGE front bumper. Those ignormose bumpers are what every one’s biggest complaint about most 73-80 cars are. And the 403 is a small block .

    • Mark

      That’s 1 of the biggest reasons that I don’t like this model or any other similar ones. The huge bumpers just looked terrible and ruined any styling they had.

      Like 1
    • SanityFactor

      Olds motors were all big blocks….350 to 455….difference was the raised cylinder to head ie mopar b vs rb block….same mounts…although id have to check on the 260ci…

      • Marty Parker

        Call them what you may but the 260, 307, 330, 350 and 403 were all the same size. Both 400’s the 425 and 455 were the same. Olds never used the term “Big Block”. That’s a Chevrolet term.

  5. Jk Novak

    I am refurbishing a 1995 Riviera with a supercharged engine. Sunroof, leather and heated seats along with a great stereo complete one smooth ride.

    • scottymac

      I was always torn by the styling of that generation Riviera, loved the front, the back, not so much. Now if we’re talking about one of the 200 made ’99 Silver Arrows, I might make allowances!

    • PaulieB

      I have a ’97 and really like it a lot. Great ride indeed. I bought it in May and it needs day at a time..

  6. Rock On Member

    I owned a 403 Oldsmobile for a number of years. The air cleaner lid flip does add noticeable horsepower believe it or not. But I would still put it on the proper way as not to scare any potential purchasers.

    • Jay

      It really did help performance and for one to say all it was put hot air back into the engine doesn’t know what you are talking about.

      Like 1
  7. Davis Jones

    Would love to own this particular car…My Grandparents.. Uncles… Parents all had Buicks of this time period..

  8. Derrick Rollison

    I’ve always loved the Riviera 70-78 , I’ve had the 72,76,78, 83 Rivvy convertible and I currently own a 74 Rivvy now , I loved the 75-76 Rivvy dashboard , I was wondering how hard to put that dashboard in my 74 Rivvy, but if I can find the 77-78 model I would like to buy one at a reasonable price but it’s not too many out here now,but that car is beautiful.

  9. Allan

    I had a ’78 for a while. I remember some sort of pointer built into the speedometer gauge that could be set at a specific speed. When you reached that speed, the buzzer went off. I had mine set at 75mph, since the speed limit was 55mph….

    • ACZ

      That was the “speedminder”

    • Bill Owens BillO Staff

      My mom and dad’s 1973 LeSabre had that. It didn’t have cruise control, so after speeds were lowered to 55 it really helped to remind you of your speed. Of course, passing a car on a two lane road, it would “buzz off” until you got back safely in your lane.

  10. John C Cargill

    The dealer I worked for at the time sold a number of these, I drove them when they were in for service. Gorgeous comfortable cars only the introduction of the 79 E bodies made them passe.

  11. Bradley Clark

    Rivs were extremely fine looking autos. This is not one of them. Shame they turned into glorified Cutlasses.

  12. Tommy D

    If only it had a sunroof…

  13. Rustytech Member

    I had a 77 Electra couple back in the early 80’s with the 403ci. While I too was not fond of those huge bumpers, I found the car to be a dependable, and excellent driving car. This, IMHO this is a very attractive car. I would be concerned about that front seat though. It looks like the lower cushions are yellowed badly, and it they could not be re-dyed they would be very difficult and expensive to match. All in all though I think this looks like a great deal at$10k

    Like 1
    • BP

      I think the yellowing is just the sunlight coming through the tint at the top of the windshield. Beautiful car, I could learn to live with the bumpers.

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