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1978 Riviera 75th Anniversary Ed


Dynaflash8
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Last month I bought an absolutely pristine 1978 Buick Riviera 75th Anniversary Edition from the original owner.  He had paperwork to prove it too, and the car only has 37,850 miles on it and it looks it.  No scratches, perfect upholstery, new tires, wow.  The underside almost looks show condition.  There is a little staining on the trunk material, the remote passenger mirror doesn't want to move with the remote knob on the dash, and the radio was changed, but I got the radio.  It is a perfect fit into the dash, but of course the automatic antenna is no longer automatic...it's old school, pull it up and push it down.  Some had 403 Oldsmobile engines, but this one has a 350 Buick engine.  There is also an emblem on each front fender that has "75" in roman numerals.  There were only 2,899 of this special model built.  I'm a pre-war guy, but I just couldn't pass it up...it was in the local newspaper (no shipping), drove it home.  All of them were black with silver sides and a black vinyl top; all had real leather interiors, not vinyl, and a custom dash treatment and custom rally-type steering wheel.  I don't know weather to keep it or sell it.  The R-12 A/C still blow cold even.  It would make a great tour car, but I hate to be the one to run the mileage up on it.  Any ideas what I should do?  I guess I would sell the car if I could get around what I paid for it and somebody really wanted it, but yet, I'm not sure I want to.  I really think these cars are sleepers, especially one as nice as this one.  It's not a 50th Anniversary 1953 Skylark, but it is still a special commerorative model.

Our 1978 Buick Riviera.jpg

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I can fix the antenna.......as long as the mast is in good condition I have spare used parts to repair the other problems......one of the biggest is the grease in the gears hardens and the motor will not turn the gears.

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1 minute ago, Barney Eaton said:

I can fix the antenna.......as long as the mast is in good condition I have spare used parts to repair the other problems......one of the biggest is the grease in the gears hardens and the motor will not turn the gears.

It is okay the way it is with this gyp radio.  I probably need somebody to fix the original radio first, which was 8-track....maybe it's okay, as the 8-track was the only reason he removed it.  Heck, 8-tracks are a dime a dozen in all the old people thrift shops.  What I really need, if you have parts is the square reflector on the inside of the driver's door.  He cracked it with his knee, and glued it back together.  Almost forgot that defect.  This car is as near pristine as there is one, all said and done.  It is downright beautiful.

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1 hour ago, Pete Phillips said:

Put 20,000 enjoyable miles on it, get your HPOF or BCA Archival award for it, and it's still a low-mileage car, then sell it for what you paid for it. Nice find.

Pete Phillips

I guess.  Take a long time for me to drive it 20K maybe.  Sold AACA Director a 1981 Olds 98 Regency with 32K miles and he ran it up to 59K or so going on AACA Tours in what seemed like short order to me.  So, Pete, then, you don't think a Special Edition is a sleeper that will gain a bunch in desirability?  At least I can see it, drive it, put my hands and eyes on it, but I'd really rather have another 320cid 1941 Roadmaster or Limited...ha, especially a Limited.  By the way, Pete, this car can go into regular class judging and win.  I don't have to fool with HPOF; at least in my opinion.

Edited by Dynaflash8
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Standard catalog of Buick shows 1,400 made (20,535 total Riviera in 1978)  what is the correct number?

PS....20,535 Rivieras is almost the total production of Reattas in 4 years (21,751)

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21 minutes ago, Barney Eaton said:

Standard catalog of Buick shows 1,400 made (20,535 total Riviera in 1978)  what is the correct number?

PS....20,535 Rivieras is almost the total production of Reattas in 4 years (21,751)

Barney, I have a letter from Buick dated February 1978 stating they planned to build only 1,400 of these cars.  However, according to Terry Dunham's book, they did built 2,899.  The original owner told me that in mid-year the demand was so high that Buick doubled to production.  Ha, I guess they had enough parts to build an extra 99.  This car is much different that any of those other 20,000 Rivieras.  The interior is REAL leather, not vinyl. The dash is different, the steering wheel is different, it has the fender monograms, and the special color combination.  The original owner claimed that the silver color was 1977 Corvette, but I don't put much stock into that.  The interior is also a special pattern and all silver.

 

Earl

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1 hour ago, Barney Eaton said:

Did some of these cars come with real wire wheels?

Barney, I don't think so.  I quite sure some of them did come with chrome road wheels though.  I have an ad for one that shows chrome road wheels.  Also, the silver leather seats are tufted in squares.  Earl

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I had something similar for many years: 1979 LeSabre coupe Palm Beach Edition, with special two-tone yellow and white paint, unusual interior, special wheel covers, yellow grille, yellow bumper rub strips, 4000 built. They and this 75th Anniv. Riviera are wonderful cars to drive and to look at, but they are just too new and too late in the scheme of things to be worth much as collector cars. Others may disagree, but that's been my experience with late-model collectible Buicks. The low miles will make some difference from that, though.

Pete Phillips

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Sure hope you're wrong Pete.  I have to think the 75th Anniversary Special Edition has more punch than a LeSabre Palm Beach Edition.  The Palm Beach was just a sales program, and although the 75th Anniversary Edition was probably a sales promotion too, it was far more significant, I think, because it did celebrate a special Anniversary for Buick.  I don't know what they did for the 100th Anniversary, if anything.  The 50th Anniversary car was the '53 Buick Skylark, and you know how valuable they have become.  Earl Beauchamp

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Doing the math.....the 1978 should be worth $150K by 2131 .....maybe your grandkids will make some money off it.

I looked on Google and found that Bill Anderson said the wire wheels were a late option.......other pictures showed road wheels and wire hub caps

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1 hour ago, Barney Eaton said:

Doing the math.....the 1978 should be worth $150K by 2131 .....maybe your grandkids will make some money off it.

I looked on Google and found that Bill Anderson said the wire wheels were a late option.......other pictures showed road wheels and wire hub caps

He doesn't know what he's talking about.  This car was purchased in early March 1978 from the Buick Dealership with wire wheel hubcaps.  Now if you mean real wire wheels, I do not know, except to say I never have seen real wire wheels on a Buick of that vintage, only on a Cadillac.  But the 1978 Cadillac El Dorado could have them, so knowing GM, maybe they slid over to Buick.  I don't know what kind of math you're doing.  I bought a 1939 Buick in 1963 for $120 and now an average sedan brings $15,000-19,000, or at least that asking price.  And no grandchildren or great grandchildren to get anything.  My car looks like the ad.

1978 Buick 75th Ann Ad.jpg

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According to the production facts on three Riviera Owners Assn. website, 20,535 Riviera were built in 1978, of which 2,899 were the LXXV Anniversary models.  There were two rear window treatments, some had a chrome reveal molding whereas others have the vinyl top wrap around to the window.  All were painted identically black and silver.  And yes REAL WIRE WHEELS were an option.  In n1983, the XX ANNIVERSARY edition of the Riviera came standard with real wire wheels.  These were painted the lighter of the two colors of the two tone paint, they were not chrome plated.  

 

I know a few people who own these.  They tell me that with the 403 engine and the TH400 transmission, these are one of the nicest road cars that Buick ever built.

 

Ed

lxxv-d-side.jpg

$_1.JPG?set_id=880000500F

 

1983 Rivieray XX Anniversay edition.  502 built.  Real burled walnut dash and door panels, suede and leather seats, two tone paint, REAL WIRE WHEELS, leather wrapped steering wheel, 140 mph speedometer, wilton wool carpet (in the trunk as well.) color coded bumper strips, brown trim rather than chrome. Unique grill for '83 (standard in '84)

12296299406_498a7e68cf_b.jpg

008.jpg

 

Edited by RivNut
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Seems like CAR AND DRIVER did a road test of one of these LXXV Rivieras.  This would have been the GM "B" platform, as LeSabres, Delta 88s, and Caprices.  Not bad cars, BUT this year of Riv on that platform make it unique.  A Riviera that I would have liked to own, back then, if I'd not already had a new Camaro in '77.

 

The wire wheel option would be rare, I suspect?  I would have suspected a HD THM350 rather than a THM400, but I never did see one of those back then to see under it.  Either way, not a bad deal.

 

Rarity and distinctivity does not always equate into "collectible $$$$$" down the road.  The  non-monetary rewards are the nice comments one might hear at car events.  "I didn't know Buick built a Riviera like tat!  NICE!"  for example.  Which would be a signal to continue telling them about how special and rare the car really is.

 

"Collectible"-wise, this Riv would be similar to te 1979 Chrysler Cordoba with the "300 Package".  Both unique and collectible models of normal cars.  Worth keeping and enjoying (with discretion).  Then finding another enthusiastic purchaser who will care for and appreciate it for what it is, a few years later.  IF you bought it "right", keep it nice, at least it should not depreciate (it'll ALWAYS be a low mileage car).

 

Thanks for the pictures!  Congrats on a great "find"!!

 

NTX5467

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Something even more rare along the same lines was an option available in '85.  It was the W15 package option.  It was the same style interior as found in the '83 XX Anniversary edition, but it was an interior option for a base Riviera, no special editions, or ?????  It too had the leather and suede seats, burled walnut dash and door panels, same carpet, wood steering wheel, etc. but it had the standard 85 mph speedometer and the outside of the car was a solid color - probably a limited number of colors to match but nothing special.  The leather and suede were different shades than in the '83 XX Riviera.

 

24262478641_65b1d2ccce_b.jpg

 

Everyone on these forums should "come on down" (scroll down) to the Riviera Owners Forum and learn some more about some of the unique Rivieras that were built.  One year, either 75 or 76 (?????) you could order a white Riviera with red interior and get the optional rally wheels with the webs painted red instead of black.  Sorry, no pictures.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

My car has a Buick 350.  I would not have bought it if it had had the Olds 403

Is that because the 350 has 20% less horse power or because the 403 is an Oldsmobile engine?  That same 6.6 liter Olds was the engine that Pontiac used in its 6.6 Tran Am. (Smokey and the Bandit car.)  Lots of cubes / hp for a "small block."

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6 hours ago, RivNut said:

Is that because the 350 has 20% less horse power or because the 403 is an Oldsmobile engine?  That same 6.6 liter Olds was the engine that Pontiac used in its 6.6 Tran Am. (Smokey and the Bandit car.)  Lots of cubes / hp for a "small block."

I'm not into racing.  I'm an old man.  I was looking for some better gas mileage than I get with my restored 1971 Riviera 455.  And I liked the fact that the car was all Buick.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Just found this on Craigslist not far from me (central NY).  Being 1 of 500, what's the consensus on the asking price?  The last thing I need right now is another Riviera, but I do like the '79 -85 FWD cars and this would seem to be the one to have...  It even has the real wire wheels Ed mentioned!

 

http://syracuse.craigslist.org/cto/5678880873.html

 

Edited by EmTee
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Take 85 crisp one hundred dollar bills to your local GM dealer, fan them out, and say "Boys, I got some cash for a car." Then you get a good respective of the value for a very clean car, collector or otherwise. A nice car from 5 to 10 grand. is a good deal. In 2011 I paid $8500 for a really clean '94 Impala SS. The dealer started a $13,000 when it first showed up. When my wife needed a new car I almost gave it to her, but got her a Tahoe instead. The catalytic, safety bumper cars forward, in my opinion, are not something you are going to scoop up for a future collector market. They are just cars one buys because they like them. The 30 and 40 year old's today are not younger versions of us. They won't treasure the newer cars. When laws are being passed about who gets $15 per hour there are a lot of other priorities for the kids. One of mine is paying $2500 a month for rent in Boston. Five old cars like the old man bought with money from the Reagan era isn't in their agenda.

 

It's late lunch time. I think I'll get that Chevy out for a ride over to the next county. There is a long stretch where I can give it a real kick in the ass and make the digital speedo blur. My wife says "Mr. Daily, you have a nice car here." whenever I do that. 350 Buick engines do that too.

 

If nothing else, you know how much one Impala sold for.

Bernie

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7 hours ago, DShip said:

EmTee...IMO $8500 is a reasonable price for that edition Riv.  But, special edition parts, such as wheels, wood dash and leather/suede seats, etc, are next to impossible to come by for this Riv.  

My car doesn't need any of those things....in fact it needs nothing at all. 

 

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On 7/5/2016 at 9:25 AM, Glassesguy said:

Nice car, Earl. I see you're planning to come to Allentown. Will you be driving this Riviera?

No, it's in FL and I'm in VA.  Took my 39 Buick back to Florida since I had to pass a Cancer screening...which I passed, but I didn't want to trailer it back up here.  The Rivvie was too new to me, in that I'd only driven it around the block, so I brought our 2001 Park Avenue back.  These Park's are wonderful cars.  Expect to see all of you next Thurs - Saturday

Earl

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On 7/22/2016 at 7:49 PM, EmTee said:

Just found this on Craigslist not far from me (central NY).  Being 1 of 500, what's the consensus on the asking price?  The last thing I need right now is another Riviera, but I do like the '79 -85 FWD cars and this would seem to be the one to have...  It even has the real wire wheels Ed mentioned!

 

http://syracuse.craigslist.org/cto/5678880873.html

 

Em Tee,

 

Unlike the title of this thread, this is an 83 XX 20th anniversary edition.  502 were made.  A convertible version was the pace car at Indy in 83.  Unlike the production model, the pace car had A twin turbo V6.  These came with the 307 Olds motor. (Under powered for the size of the car.  You only want to own one of these if you live in the flatlands)

 

As previously said , unless the car is TOTALLY 100% COMPLETE you CANNOT, repeat CANNOT find replacement parts.

 

This car looks complete from the pictures that are available.  The most notable thing is the unpainted replacement bumper fillers.  Paint is a no brainer, the three color striping tape is IMPOSSIBLE to find.  It's not striping tape as you'd think, but rather a decal.

 

Differences between this and regular production 83 Rivieras that need to be present:

  • Wire wheels were part of the package, not an option. The beauty rings and hub caps are unique - make sure there are four of each.
  • Wood steering wheel, burned walnut dash and door panels.
  • Leather and suede seats.
  • Wilson wool carpet.
  • 140 MPH speedometer
  • Wool trunk lid cover with embroidery. 
  • Brown and gold bumper rub strips
  • Water fall grill (became stock in 84)
  • Hydrovac brake booster
  • Gold plated "XX" emblems
  • Head light and tail light bezels are painted body color
  • Rocker panels and other "bright" work is brown rather than chrome (tends to rust easily)

This is what I remember from 20 years ago, I've probably forgotten more than I remember.

 

IF I were to look at one of these again, I'd ask my wife to shoot me. 

 

I would spend extra time and money to find a good 78 LXXV.  At least those parts aren't unique, it's just how the parts were mixed and matched that made it special.  You will love the 6 liter engine, TH400 transmission, and rear wheel drive. 

Ed

 

PS - to be truly authentic, it should have Uniroyal Gold Seal tires - gold stripe, no white side wall.  

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Thanks Ed, I did notice the bumper fillers had been replaced.  I think the fever has broken for now and sanity (or as close as I can approximate) has returned.  I will pass on this one...

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You can find "base" 79 - 85 Rivieras in all conditions for a wide range of prices.  If you're thinking of getting one, just stay away from anything that has been labeled as a  special edition.  The base engines for the later years was an anemic V6, I'd pass on those.  The early ones had a 350 Buick engine rather than the 307 Olds.  They were pretty good cars.

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Take my word for it, you don't want to go through the mountains with one of them.  We drove our 84 back from the ROA event in Harrisburg in 06 and took the scenic  (mountainous) route back home.  18 wheelers were passing me going up those hills.  As long as you're not trying to meet a deadline, they're very comfortable cars to ride in.  I'd still opt for the 6 liter Olds with rwd.

 

Ed 

Edited by RivNut
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Beautiful car.  I can see why production was increased.  The paint scheme/color is the selling point for me.  Add in the two door.  Could have been over the top if Buick shoe horned in a 455!  Anyway, during these years I was a tire changer. I never once replaced tires on a Buick around these years with authentic wire wheels.   I have changed tires aplenty on Buicks with the wire hubcaps.  No doubt the true wire wheels existed for Buick. Do not recall having worked tires off and on true Buick wires.  

 

At the end of the day she is a wonderful find.  Enjoy!    

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  • 9 months later...
Guest fdxhawk5301

what is one of these in very good to excellent condition worth with the 403 and 65k miles ? I have my eye on one its sporting original paint, its the original owner .

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29 minutes ago, fdxhawk5301 said:

what is one of these in very good to excellent condition worth with the 403 and 65k miles ? I have my eye on one its sporting original paint, its the original owner .

If it checks out, go for it.  

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