Sunday, December 28, 2014

5k: Front Wheel Peeler: 1998 Buick Riviera

 The Buick Riviera was born in 1963 as a handsome and successful pillarless hardtop coupe from GM.  The old gal soldiered on for years and eventually made the switch from rear to front wheel drive early for a full sized coupe and lasted until its 8th generation (1999) before being sent to the glue factory for good.  But, the last generation Riviera offers a strangely appealing package for a very basic price.  Find this 1998 Buick Riviera currently bidding for $6,500 with 1 day to go, here on eBay, located in Orange, CA.

This 8th generation Riviera was the launch vehicle for GM's new G-body platform (GMX690), which was based on Cadillac's K-body architecture and lasted until 2011 when it was superseded by the Eurocentric GM Epsilon platform.  The William L Porter designed coupe marked the end of an era for GM's big luxury 2-doors and is sorta cool to see on the road today.  This one has 20k miles on the odo and is probably the nicest one for too!

The 8th generation Riviera is powered by a supercharged version of GM's legendary 3800 pushrod V6 - displacing 3.8 liters and cast in iron, the Buick version was labeled L67 and uses an Eaton Gen III M90 roots supercharger to increase the NA 205 horsepower up to 225 horsepower...disappointing on paper, but the additional 50 ft-lbs of torque at low RPM creates the noticeable result of front wheel peel.

See another relic from the 90s for sale?


  1. I honestly believe that this is one of the most beautiful cars of it's era, along with the Lincoln Mark that looked rather similar but was blessed with rwd and V8ery. If this thing were rwd it would be a sleeper classic.

    1. I agree, I tend to look twice when I see them. It is a pretty car, thanks DT.

  2. I see one of these on my drive home from work every day and always think that it continued to do the Riv name proud (considering it's '90s 'murican contemporaries)

  3. I bought one for my 70 year old mom (she likes power). Paid $6k for a 30,000 mile creampuff. There are a few that were owned by older men wanting a 1970's luxury "sporty" car in the late 90's. They seem to have spent most of their time pampered in garages. It really moves, has a huge trunk, but there are three big drawbacks. First, this thing is deceptively long. It feels great in a straight line - smoooooth - probably one of the better highway cruisers that GM has built in the last 20 years. However, this is not an easy one to have in a parking lot - the ends can be are easily clipped by other cars. Second, the back seat is great once you get there, but access is not easy. Maybe I'm just too used to a 4 door car. The back seat in her car had never even been used. This is one where they should have sacrificed the back seat space to shorten the car. Finally, this is probably the last GM car with 2 enormous doors. Lay the door on the ground and you could park a Kia Rio on it without having it touch the pavement. Again, not the most convenient thing in today's parking lots. Am I the only one that thinks they are shrinking parking spaces everywhere, or are the SUV's simply getting wider? Do lots of road tripping? Then this is the 90's version of a business coupe.

  4. This is like an M. Night Shamamamalynan movie. Such beautiful potential up front, but a disappointing ending.

  5. I always thought GM made an honest attempt to revitalize their Riviera with this car, using the parts bin that they had at the time. Take a look at the dash on a '65 Riviera GranSport '65 Riviera GranSport which was the pinnacle of that model and you'll see the homage to that car's dash layout. The same thing with the separation between the back seats. Unfortunately, this is still somewhat of a grandpa mobile, whereas the original '53 Riviera and '65 Riviera were stud mobiles in their day.

  6. After having a '65 gran sport 360, this is a huge let down , but so much better than any after '71 for the reasons mentioned above, but also has one of the most dependable and efficient for the power drive trains made in America.
    You won't find more dependable, efficient comfort for the buck anywhere. So what if it looks like a tube sausage for a DD!

  7. Floppy slushbox wrong-wheel-drive big GM product.

    Better to preserve a Seville of that vintage if you're just contrary enough to want that one-wheel-peel-feel.

    These, the Reatta, the Allante, the FWD Continentals, none of 'em were worth the CAD time.


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