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Turbo-Charged V-6: 1985 Buick Riviera T-Type

Sixth-generation Buick Riviera’s were built from 1979-85. For most of the run, you could get them with a turbo-charged V-6, which was renamed the T-Type in 1981. This two-owner car is from the last year of this collection of Riviera’s, has relatively low mileage, and has had a ton of parts replacement and work performed by the seller. It’s available in Abington, Pennsylvania and here on craigslist where the price has been set at $14,300, but the seller is open to reasonable offers. Kudos to rex m for raising this one to our attention!

The Riviera represented Buick in the personal luxury car space between 1963-99 (although they skipped 1994). When the automobile was redesigned for 1979, it was the first time the Riviera used front-wheel-drive and also was the first FWD production model in Buick’s history. It again shared its platform with the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado. A new turbo-charged 231 cubic inch V-6 was available that was good for 185 hp. The Riviera was named Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year in 1979. The public reacted favorably to the changes and sales more than doubled to 52,000 units.

This ’85 Riviera T-Type is being offered by its second owner with just 58,000 miles on the clock. The body is straight, although the paint is either fading a bit or the lighting is bad. The car was rust-proofed by Ziebart when new, so the seller says there is no rust on the doors or the fenders. Those pesky fiberglass bumper fillers always seem to crack, and the seller says these are now new fore and aft and have been painted to match the car. Photos of the interior are few and dark, but we’re told the headliner has been replaced and the front floor mat has been resewn. The overall good condition to the car can also be attributed to being garage-kept for 30 years when not used.

The seller says he’s spent $12,500 on bringing the car up to snuff, which is 87 percent of his asking price, so there’s no fortune waiting to be made here. This list of parts and repairs includes the following:

  • New radiator, thermostat and cooling system flush
  • New braking system from head to toe
  • New fuel pump, injectors, filter, and rebuilt fuel sending unit
  • New alternator and ignition control module and coil packs
  • New KYB shocks absorbers
  • And an assortment of other things, such as a new wiper washer motor and a crank position sensor, not to mention a tune-up

The 3.8-liter V-6 used in the ’85 Riviera is the same in the Buick Grand National, but with a different turbo-charger. Only a small portion of the Riviera production in 1985 were T-Types as the seller says only 1,060 were made that year. While the ’85 turbo-charged Riviera seems to be a solid car, their resale values are not through the roof. Hagerty says one in excellent condition is $11-12,000, so while the seller may be a little optimistic, but just trying to recover some of his investment.


  1. rmward Member

    Looks like this was just featured a few weeks ago:

    Nice car either way and somewhat rare. Price seems high though

    Like 6
  2. Jcs

    Cool car, I thought that it would sell in the last go round. If it were closer I would drop 12K on this one in a heartbeat, and would probably be driving her home that day.

    I’m at 10K as i would have to ship her.

    Like 6
  3. Frank

    I agree that the seller is about 50% over a fair price and is trying to recoup what he has done to upgrade it. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a
    I also own a 85 Ttype with about 90,000 miles on it. Not sure why he had
    to replace all that stuff as mine is still running strong. Also with previous research I did in the past found that 1650 turbo rivs were built in 85.
    They are fun for a big boat but only the convertibles are worth that kind of money as there were only 49 made.

    Like 3
  4. Maestro1 Member

    It’s a smart looking car and overpriced. I’m not sure about folks who try to recover their investment in their machines; this is a hobby, not a finance market as hard as many are trying it to be one.

    Like 2
  5. Sam61

    The seller must have paid “shop rate” labor to Mr. Goodwrench at the local Buick dealership.

    Nice ride, like the turbine wheels. $8,000 imho

    Like 1
  6. JoeNYWF64

    Not sure why Buick would put not so classy non doorSKIN mounted mirrors like those on this car in ’85, when nice chrome & racing mirrors were still available.
    & very strange – why the hood does not extend to the windshield.
    You gotta admit tho, the COLOR KEYED velour interiors of many ’80s cars were very comfortable places to be!

    • Joseph

      The windshield wipers were “concealed.”

      • JoeNYWF64

        So were they on many many other cars roughly from
        ’68-’88(afterwards a lost art?), including 2nd & 3rd gen GM F-bodies, 70’s cudas & challys, ’71-3 mustang, & even the AMC pacer. & all of them had the hood reaching the windshield with an upturned lip at the end to hide the wipers –
        from the front view – if the recess mechanism was in good working order..
        The exception is this Riviera – & the ’68-72 corvette, but the latter had a sometimes troublesome “trap door” panel by the windshield that popped up & down – to fully hide the wipers!!, & may have given parking enforcement officials fits. lol
        This gen Riv only hides the wipers from the front view.
        & not the side
        & has no “trap door”.

  7. tmk

    Had a 1981 T-Type Riviera .All black with black vinyl roof with tan cloth interior sharp looking car .But hated the v-6 motor with the turbo. use it for down payment on a house.

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