True Time Capsule: 1968 Buick Riviera

Every now and again here at Barn Finds, an unrestored classic will come along that makes our collective jaws hit the floor. This 1968 Buick Riviera is just such a car. What you are looking at is a 51-year-old car that still wears its original paint and trim, and it looks stunning. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, you will find the Riviera listed for sale here on eBay. The opening bid for the Buick has been set at $10,000.

The basic story behind this Buick is a pretty special one. The car was ordered in 1967 by a gentleman who was a World War II veteran. He wasn’t your average veteran, having been the recipient of a Bronze Star for bravery. Anyone willing to drive an ambulance across a mine-field to rescue a downed pilot certainly not only deserves the Bronze Star but our total admiration. He then collected his new Buick on Christmas Eve 1967, and it remained his cherished pride and joy until he recently passed away. During its lifetime, the car has been pampered, and this is obvious when you look at the level of shine on the original Verdoro Green paint. The tan vinyl top also looks spotless, and this really is a car where the presentation is close to perfect.

You only have to look at the interior to see that the Buick was a much-loved vehicle. The interior is spotlessly clean, and the upholstery is perfect. After a lot of searching, I was able to find a small dirty mark on a seatbelt, but that was about it. There is a pretty comprehensive set of photos in the listing, and I’ve included a few extras at the bottom of the article. It’s when you see a spotless ashtray that’s never been used, and when you see the scuff-prone bottoms of the door trims looking new that you realize that a car has been loved. Looking at the rear seat, I have real doubts that it has ever been used. The Buick isn’t loaded up with luxury features, but the air conditioning and cruise control are nice additions.

Maybe the engine bay doesn’t present as well as the rest of the car, but judging by the general condition, it probably wouldn’t be terribly hard to rectify this. It just needs a bit of a clean. This car drips originality, with the entire drive-train being numbers-matching. That means that you get a 430ci V8 and a 3-speed automatic transmission. The only non-original items on the car are the tires, the battery, and the stainless steel exhaust. We don’t get any information on how the car runs and drives, but it does come with plenty of documentation and a full service history which dates back to the initial purchase of the Buick. I suspect that this will verify the fact that the car has covered a mere 36,000 original miles.

I think that we’ve all seen plenty of vehicles that have been referred to as time capsules, and the vast majority of these have undergone some form of restoration. I think that this Buick is a car that deserves the title of time capsule, because it is unrestored and original, and the car’s condition is close to how it would have been the day that our proud war hero first took delivery. I wish it a long and happy life with another owner who cherishes it as much as the original owner did.


  1. BillM

    Beautiful! I would purchase this over anything being produced today. What a nice piece.

    Like 12
  2. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    An iconic American car, remarkably well-taken care of with an American hero as its sole owner.
    That’s “Grand Torino” stuff right there. Given the wherewithal we’d buy it in half a a heartbeat just as a way to say “thank you” to Mr Jolly and family.

    Like 25
    • John Oliveri

      Strange to see a Riviera void of power amenities, power windows doors tape deck

      Like 3
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        IMHO, It appears the owner preferred to be an extension of his pride and joy, to simply DRIVE.

        Like 4
  3. Howard A Member

    Beautiful car, lose the wide whites, grandpa,,,

    Like 19
    • Mark

      You definitely don’t want to do that. My white walls were the thing back then. Certainly appropriate to leave them on a car like this.

      Like 14
      • John Oliveri

        PS Whitewalls rule, gangster whites 1.5 inch whites, Vogues, please if you don’t like whitewalls go to the foreign car page and leave us alone

        Like 9
      • Howard A Member

        You can like what you want, but by 1968 wide whites had gone away. Reason I say they look out of place, is I never saw a Riv like this that had them, even on Google images. Thinner whites, but none with wide. Maybe on a ’61 Imperial, but not this.

        Like 12
    • triumph1954

      Howard A! I agree. These whitewalls ruin a great car. Put correct whitewalls (thin) on it. Fantastic car with a great story behind it.

      Like 6
      • JayW

        I might leave them on as a homage to the original owner but to look correct it needs 1.5 inch whitewalls.

  4. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    The owner and the car have the “Right Stuff”, as did our leaders in those days.

    Like 17
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Absolutely, sir, as did the cadre of that era that gave us good mentors/leaders for many generations afterwards.

      Like 9
  5. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    A spare set of points and a condenser in the ash tray. Smart man, Mr. Jolly!

    Great owner, great history, and of course a great car. That all becomes a listing on BF that I am very happy to see.

    I’m not a fan of the tires either, but that’s a minor thing. I hope whoever next owns this car treasures it as Mr. Jolly did.

    Like 17
  6. Solosolo UK ken tilly Member

    Beautiful car, love the tyres and everything else about it.

    Like 5
  7. CapNemo

    The engine bay just needs a bit of a cleanING.

    Like 4
  8. HydTech

    Correct! Thank you!

    Like 2
  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Great looking car and should be a fantastic cruiser.

    Like 2
  10. Will Fox

    Lose the wide whites, and it’s probably sold! Is that paint original??! What ashine!! I’m not even a huge Riviera fan, but THIS….THIS I could live with!!!
    One gorgeous survivor!!

    Like 3
  11. PDXBryan

    Howard A said:
    “Loose the wide whites, grandpa”

    Before we get too condescending about generational stylistic differences, let’s not forget how truly ugly the current trend of ever lower profiles on ever larger wheels is. Someday (hopefully) they’ll be saying “loose the 22s, grandpa”.

    This is a stunning car no matter what kind of tires it’s rocking!

    Like 18
    • Mountainwoodie

      My guess is he didn’t have the HUGE gangsta whitewalls on it when he drove it back in the day. Way too flashy for 1968. If thelate owner was anything like his generational compatriot, my dad, at most he might have had standard thin whitwalls.

      Like 1
  12. Beaver Prince

    As a Buick lover i am a bidder there is very little I would do just a few personal things that i love BUT this car is a keeper! AS A Navy VET I would LOVE to HAve this just to keep and show as a VETS LOVE!!

    Like 6
  13. Beaver Prince

    I was just checking and as with most cars of this quility I would need a GO FUND ME page for the $$ to buy this one oh well as a 100% Disableb VET I will still drive my 2002 ford!

    Like 5
  14. Jack

    A Toronado in Buick’s clothing. What a beautiful time capsule…

    Like 3
    • ACZ

      Hardly. This is a rear wheel drive car. A good handling, good looking, powerful car with the engine in the right place, and facing the correct direction. The final drive is in the right place and all is right with the world.

      Like 6
  15. Stevieg Member

    Being a HUGE fan of Buicks as a whole, and Rivieras in particular, I just love this car! The story behind it makes it even better. I say a heart felt thank you to the original owner for his service, and to all veterans for theirs. I might be suffering a bit from the motorcycle accident, but I have a GREAT life otherwise, partly due to living in America. Life would not be as good here as it is for any of us if it weren’t for these veterans of our who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. Thank you all!
    I REALLY want this car!

    Like 7
  16. Comet

    Beautiful car, but is that weird cover over the A/C compressor supposed to be there?

    • ACZ

      At a guess, a guard to keep the oil from a leaking compressor shaft seal from being slung on to the hood pad.

      Like 1
  17. John M.

    A very nice vintage ride. 6 days are left in the auction and the bidding has already topped $18 grand.

    Like 1
  18. Midnightdriver2

    Those long & heavy ac compressors were notorious for spinning out compressor oil when engaged…My guess is the owner wanted to protect the engine compartment & under hood area from the flying oil.

    Like 2
  19. Michelle rand

    Best car of this morning’s group. Love the colors.

    Like 4
  20. Fred

    The wide white walls are a matter of taste in my opinion ! I just love them…they make the car much nicer instead of all black rubber….and give any classic the extra touch !

    Like 4
  21. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    A cousin had one of these. I liked it but he didn’t. Always had trouble with the tail lights not working due to a problem with the wiring system (all wires molded into one harness.) Also he had to have the engine rebuilt a couple times due to excessive smoke. The 430 engine would push it down the road pretty good though, but he rarely drove it very fast, just puttered around town. I currently own a first gen 64 Riviera that I bought 8 years ago. It has the 425 nail head engine numbers matching turbo 400 trans. It was a Southern California car with only 27k miles at the time of purchase. It’s well optioned with p/w p/s p/b a/c p/seat in paint code nn coral mist top/bottom. Love this car.
    God bless America

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hey John, I have a small Riv trinket for you. Been waiting for a real fan. I am trying to get rid of some stuff before I check out and it all goes into a dumpster. Hopefully I have a long life yet! If your good with that send your address to my email. Free by the way. Post a pic of your rig if you can. Take care, Mike.

      Like 2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        That’s a really cool move on your part, leiniedude. You are a true car guy.

        Like 2
  22. SSgt G 911 Op

    Great car, great story! Lets hope it doesn’t just get put into cold storage, it needs to be driven and loved!

    Like 2
  23. David

    When I first saw your opening picture, it visually appeared to me as if the windshield was peaked with a forward V complimenting the front bumper — Man that would have looked good.

  24. Bakyrdhero

    Another vote for keeping the wide whites, and I don’t usually go for wide whites. I’m a fan of all things Buick and I love this one! Great story and of course…GET OFF MY LAWN!

    Like 2
  25. JoeNYWF64

    I’m surprised the inboard headlite POSITIONING met government standards – could be a risk at night with opposing driver on narrow 2 lane road misjudging the width of this car.
    Possible overheating issues with that front end?

    • Solosolo UK ken tilly Member

      The inner headlights would be the bright beams with the outers being the dipped lights.

      Like 2
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      ??Really, JoeNYWF64??
      Sooo, you’ve not seen cars with 4 headlights before??!?

      Like 2
  26. JoeNYWF64

    I’m completely aware that there’s 4 hidden headlites on this car & which 1’s are high beams & which 1’s are low beams.
    To me, though, even the regular low beams seem to be mounted too far away from either outer edge of the front.
    I know of no other make of car where the headlites are positioned like that.
    Sure it looks kewl with them closed, but is it safe at nite with another driver coming at you on a narrow road?
    The ’68 charger, for ex. does not mount its headlite buckets that close to the center of the car.

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      JoeNYWF64, that last reply was not intended to appear factious.

      Most of the multiple-headlight systems of that time had all four lights on with the high beams on, and with the marker lights/turn signals outboard as they were here it was easy to judge the size of the oncoming car. Should the owner of the car be negligent in its upkeep and fail to replace the marker lights when they burn out is a different matter..
      Though the headlights are centrally mounted, there is ample enough air moving in the engine compartment under and around the grill opening to keep the engine in its comfort zone, even across the Bonneville Salt Flats in August!

      Like 3
  27. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Gone, but not forgotten. Ended: May 05, 2019 , 3:25PM
    Winning bid:US $21,100.00
    [ 36 bids ]

    Like 1

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