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Last Generation Rivs


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There doesn't seem to be much discussion about '95-99 Rivs on here but what does one look for when buying one? Are the latter years more desireable due to lower production? Supercharged vs. non? I have driven a few in the 110-150K range and it seems they need front end work/?struts. Thanks for any responses.

It's better to burn out than it is to fade away

B Dub

Riv-less for now

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Seems like the first model year of the last gen Riv had the choice of the normal Buick V-6 OR the supercharged Buick V-6. This gave the dealers an option to order the "base model" with a lesser amount of options and a cloth interior at a very nice price. Only thing is they looked "inexpensive", with normal wheels and such. The bulk of those cars, that first year, were the fancier ones, though, which could also come with the normal V-6.

Under the skin, the Rivs were pretty much a 2-dr version of the Aurora . . . just no 4.0L V-8 version. To counter some "similarity" claims, there were different things that had different part numbers on them, but they all fit into the same place, giving EACH car its unique personality.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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My wife and I loved the look of this generation. This is unusual, because we disagree on many other generations: I love the first generation (especially the hidden headlights on the 1965), she loves the boat-tail, I love the 1979-1985 design (especially the T-Type).

We came close to buying a later eighth generation car (I refuse to give up hope that there will be another Riviera). We ended up not buying when Buick announced that they were going away - I remember sending Buick a very nasty note telling them they were losing their soul.

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Hello KS854EZ57. I suggest using the "search" function tab found at the top of the page. You'll turn up several extensive threads from the past, discussing purchase of a last gen. Riv, including pros and cons of the various years. Good luck! John

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I like that series. They drive great. I had one last year and gave it to my son.

Rust and age are the big problems. The subframe mounts, bolts, and rubber mounts are mostly in need of attention by now. Electronic parts and plastic stuff can be a real PIA. I would consider them a "commodity" type car; buy one and enjoy it while you use it up. They will be hell to keep for 30 years.

Bernie

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I think the '95-'99 Riviera is one of the ugliest cars ever produced. Thought they were a terrible way to go out. Otherwise, I pretty much like all the othr Rivieras, particularly the '67-'68.

To each their own. I thought it was a great looking car!

I guess like the Boattail Rivieras, they have a love / hate response.

I had a '96 I sold June of this year. Great car! Fun to drive!

Despite 208,000 miles on it, it ran like a Swiss watch.

When these came out for the '95 model year, a Buick dealer I drove by each day in downtown Mpls had one sitting on the showroom floor.

Each day I would sit waiting for the light at the intersection to turn, just staring and drooling.

Someday, someday.

I am sure I will own another in the years to come.

Edited by Sweepspear (see edit history)
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Pretty Harsh John

You can see alot on these cars at the Riviera performance web site and buick forums dot com.

Yeah, perhaps but I think they are just awful looking from the B pillar back. Don't mind the front at all. I'd rather have an Aztek than a '99 Riviera!

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Yeah, perhaps but I think they are just awful looking from the B pillar back. Don't mind the front at all. I'd rather have an Aztek than a '99 Riviera!

I think the back 1/2 is the best looking part!

My Wife always said the front end looked like an uncircumcised you know what. :D

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I think the back 1/2 is the best looking part!

My Wife always said the front end looked like an uncircumcised you know what. :D

Most people believe the 95-99 Rivieras worst part is the "catfish" headlights treatment and most feel the rear half is tastefully executed.

The Riviera has always been designed to lead not follow. It is arguably the LAST non Corvette clean sheet design from GM that amounts to anything. (Sorry Chevy Cobalt owners :P)

Love it or hate it, it is a designed car not a jelly bean shape that looks like everything else on the road. The dash was very modern and stylized for it's time as well and the V6 supercharged or not is more then adequate to propel this car into the 200,000 + mile range. Oh, and 26-28 mpg.

The original poster wanted comments on what to buy. Avoid the 95's. As a 1st year model they needed debugged and were on the cusp of a Federal OBD II emissions change which effected reliability and what caused the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT to illuminate.

The 96 to 98's were largely debugged car with more reliability. 99's are hard to find. These Riv's fail into the same dilemma that is causing REATTA's to be undervalued by collectors. They are still plentiful on used car lots and Craigs List ads.

The problem is that many will be long gone 20 years from now.

So what? Some have commented how hard it may be to collect these in the future due to computers and gizmos that don't haunt older Rivieras (as much).

Like Reattas there are a lot of worn out cars that are quietly going to the U Pick It yards and / or being crushed.

Which comes down to the ultimate issues. These cars usually can not be restored so getting clean originals is the way to go. But many I have seen have the 125,000 to 250,000 miles on them. This is the kiss of death for a car that you want to collect and not drive.

I don't want to put a seemingly decent 200,000 mile anything in my garage only to drive it 2,000 miles a year or so. I know the reliability will probably decline and the car will nickle and dime me.

On the other hand I can not remember the last time I saw a 95-98 (forget 99) Riviera with less then 100,000 miles. This can generally be the bench mark for "low mileage" in the modern era.

And there are VERY few 95-98 Rivieras left with true low mileage suitable for collecting. I have seen maybe 2-3 in the last 3 years with less then 70,000 miles and most of them are going to be 98's.

Ask yourself this. Can you picture trying to locate a 95-98 Riviera to collect? Or is that just too hard to wrap your head around.

I think it's a modern day collectible that will be missed in 20 years. They are also a great buy now. I will say this: if I have $3,000 (I'm cheap for sure) to buy a 95-98 Riviera I can collect or a running "driver" Riviera from early generations, I would probably go older. Not sure why, instinct maybe.

Say 1972 Boattail with decent driver paint and interior, 90,000 miles, well maintained, needs TLC $3,000 or a 97 Riviera, 90,000 miles, still looks nice all around, needs TLC in some areas $3,000. Tough choice and many are passing on the newer Rivieras.....

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I'm with John on the last gen Riv, but I wouldn't go as far to say I'd rather drive an A$$tek.

That, IS the ugliest thing to IMO EVER come out of Detroit. WTF were they thinking with that POS? I'd rather drive a Pacer.

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I remember when the last generation Riviera was introduced. The new body Eldorado had been introduced in 1992. I liked the Eldo a lot. I envisioned the new Riviera as a similar car with a Buick style waterfall grille. The sail panels and the chunky body would have given a familiar "solid" Buick look. I had two black Jaguar XJS coupes which had a similar shape and always kind of thought of them as UK Buicks by their shape and feel.

I was pretty disappointed with the Riviera in 1995. They grow on you but Buick just made too many other desirable cars in the last 100 years. There are better choices.

Which one of these makes the juices flow?

004s.jpg

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1996 BUICK RIVIERA SUNROOF LEATHER 114K NEEDS HEAD GASKET

It's just nice to able to pop open any Craigs List and find several collectible Buicks, in this case, the last gen Rivieras. Here is a nice one. Low miles at 114,000 miles. Nice interior and overall very nice no rust body. New tires.

Desperate (pretty much) seller would probably take $1200 cash for it. Have it towed to the dealer and "gone through" by replacing head gaskets, flushing the coolant system (which probably caused the issue in the 1st place) then have the small body denting repaired.

Work on usual maintenance like spark plugs, coil packs, battery, brakes etc over the next couple of years then you are pretty much done.

Drive it in rotation with your older Riviera and enjoy for several years to come. FWD, great gas mileage never goes out of style.

The Aztec is ugly but the Riviera will look nicer and nicer as the cookie cutter cars continue. I agree the Collectors Edition 2005 LeSabres especially in white pearl are nice cars, but they aren't clean sheet semi exotic designed sports luxury cars like the last gen Rivieras and the Reattas before.

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I'm with John on the last gen Riv, but I wouldn't go as far to say I'd rather drive an A$$tek.

That, IS the ugliest thing to IMO EVER come out of Detroit. WTF were they thinking with that POS? I'd rather drive a Pacer.

I actually think the Pacer, especially the wagon, is a decent looking car. Still not changing my mind on the 95-99 Riv, though.

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I will have to admit I didn’t like the body style when they first came out but as said before, “it grows on you”. I own all of the Rivieras pictured here, plus a ’65 and another ’95 that I am keeping for parts. The Black one is a ’95 with 59K miles on it, has had a repaint due to acid rain but is in very good to excellent condition overall. The other two are ‘99 Silver Arrows. The first is #152 has 71K miles, has had some touch up paint done, lots of cleaning and detailing, and is also in very good to excellent shape. The one on the end I basically bought to keep it from ending up in a junk yard, that is where I believe it was headed, and with only 200 of them produced I felt it was worth saving. Yes, no matter what I do to it, it needs paint desperately, what I will have is a 200K mile fully loaded Riviera. Whether they will be a collectable item in my lifetime, I can’t say, but I figured with a production of only 200 what the hell!

As far as purchasing one … yes, the ’95 had the most bugs and there were 41,422 produced, they worked some of the bugs out in ’96 and made around 18,000 that year. In ’97 they put in the better transaxle and changed the suspension, the problem there is that they realized it still wasn’t right and changed it again in ’98, so the suspension in the ’97 was only made that year which makes parts especially hard to find, that year there were right around 19,000 built. In ’98 it was pretty much right, the better transaxle, suspension problems corrected “again”, and they produced 11,000. When they had worked all the problems out in ’99 and decided to stop production they built a grand total of 1956.

That would be my input, obviously I like the body style, among several other Riviera body styles, but I definitely don’t think it is the “ugliest cars ever produced” that’s for sure!!!02710.jpg

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Thanks for all the responses. I guess I might want to clarify my original post. A few years ago I saw a last gen Riv on a dealer's lot but didn't pull the trigger. I don't even remember what year it was but I started looking on the internet and found a low mileage '85 close by in KC, Mo. I had it for about 2 years and put less than 2K miles on it. I never even had the oil changed. For some unknown reason and I wish I hadn't done it, I sold it a few months ago.

So now I'm wanting to get another Riv and thought the most modern version would be more to my liking. Of course it would be nice to get a Silver Arrow but then I would probably not end up driving it. I guess a nice, reasonable '98 or '99 or Silver Arrow (dream on) from the central US that I could drive and still be a Riviera would be what I'm after.

The King is gone but he's not forgotten

B Dub

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