Turbocharged T-Type: 1985 Buick Riviera

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The 1980s were known for a few things: big hair, jean jackets, and new wave music, among other things, but to Buick enthusiasts, it meant one thing: turbocharged V6 powerplants. Buick was sticking turbocharged V6s into seemingly everything it offered and playing with the boost to see just how close they could get to making the Corvette sweat. While the Grand National and GNX are the first cars to come to mind, the boosted six also found its way into the high-end Riviera, known like all the others simply as the T-Type. Find this survivor-grade example here on craigslist with just under 60,000 miles for $14,300.

While V8s were still often seen as the fastest way to more horsepower, Buick was eager to prove other options existed, and they did it convincingly with their turbocharged models. While the Regal, Grand National, and GNX were all obvious models to equip with the turbo V6, they didn’t stop there, offering it in luxury-minded offerings like the Riviera coupe, along with 49 examples of the Riviera convertible. As the seller notes, the hardtop wasn’t exactly mass produced with the turbocharged V6, accounting for under 1,500 cars made in 1985. This example is said to be rock solid and laser straight, along with numerous recent cosmetic and mechanical improvements.

That includes new front and rear fiberglass bumper fillers, a trim piece often found in terrible condition by this juncture. The seller provides a long list of other improvements he’s made, which includes a new headliner inside the cabin and new replacement front floor mat. The Riviera has been garage kept for over 30 years, which is evident when looking at the highly preserved interior. This includes minty seating surfaces and carpets; undamaged woodgrain-style trim; original T-Type steering wheel; and a crack-free dash. I doubt many of these Rivieras are still being cared for to such a degree, so this one is a standout in more ways than one.

While the Riviera used a different type of turbocharger than the Grand National, this model is still a bit of a sleeper considering the luxury-oriented appearance and barely noticeable T-Type badges. The seller includes a long list of repairs, including new fuel injectors; new ignition control module; new alternator; new coil packs; new idle air control valve; new front and rear KYB shocks; and much more. This is a tough car to price as it is undoubtedly rare and features legitimate claims to being a limited production performance car, but I have to imagine the market for a Riviera of this generation grows smaller every day. What would you be willing to pay for a rare Riviera like this?

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  1. Maestro1

    Somebody jump on this car. I don’t have the room. I think less than asking price is more appropriate, but go ahead; you won’t be disappointed.

    Like 3
  2. Blakehasasoul

    Twice the price of the riv t-type earlier this last week, but hey 6k more means no hanging dash wires. What was up with all of this blood red velour back then, more seriously, why do I miss it so.much now! Those upright backlights used to bug me. After a few years of 4 door coupes ( a sin and oxymoron against the word coupe) i kind of missed the chopped of roof. Funny how the 78- century and cutlass salons failed with their fastbacks! They’d rule the roost today! Had the same worthlessly trunk openings to boot! (TO boot, get it, pun intended) why do i want this riv so badly?

    Like 1

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