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Tom

Opinions on '83 Riv Convert Value?

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I'm going to go look at an '83 Riv Convert this afternoon. Car has 26,000 actual miles and is supposedly all orignal. White with maroon interior and has the V8. Only thing supposed to be wrong with it is a cracked bumper filler. Current owner has had it for 12 years. Got it from AZ. Asking price is $8500 which seems reasonable, but I'm not a Riviera expert.

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Tom,

I've owned three of these cars (83, 84 and 85) and would buy another one in a heartbeat if I could get a good deal.

Based upon that, please buy the car to enjoy; not to make money. While the Rivs are rarer than the Eldorado convertibles, and have a MUCH better engine, the comparisons of what they bring at Kruse and other collector auctions makes no sense.

Is $8500 reasonable? To me, that is pushing it; I would search the Kruse sales results on their Web site, and look at the listings in Hemmings. Of course, remember the prices in Hemmings are asking, while Kruse reports what the car actually sold for.

Also keep in mind that if you buy a 26,000 mile car, you almost CAN'T drive it if you want to protect its' value because its' value is tied to the low mileage.

As for what to look for, remember that these cars have very troublesome electrical systems. Make sure every single electrical component works flawlessly, including every power accessory.

Good luck.

Joe

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Reatta man, thanks for your comments. I looked at the car and it didn't live up to my expectations. It did appear to be a 26,000 mile car, but the current owner has kept it stored outside during the summers under a tarp. The tarp and bungee cords that hold it down have taken it's toll on some of the paint, although it has it's original paint job. There are a number of scratches and scuff marks in the paint. Nothing overly serious and since it is white could probably be touched up. The drivers seat did show some wear in the leather, but not all bad. Woest part of it was that almost all of the bumper fillers weren't just cracked, but were missing chunks. The convertible top looked good, but the back window was yellowed and would need to be replaced. Car seemed to run good, but A/C didn't work. Compressor would cycle on and off, so just may need a charge, but it also made a chirping noise when it cycled. Wire wheel covers all showed curb rash and it had raised white letter tires instead of white walls on it. Car just really needed a serious detailing. You could tell it had not been taken care of. Owner said it had been appraised at $13k last year and when he tried to sell it before, he was offered $9500 by another member of the BCA from Northern MN. He should have jumped at it. Don't think it's worth more than about $5K as it is.

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Glad you walked away.

This car REALLY sounds like a 126,000 mile car. Since '80's Buicks didn't have the sixth digit (over 100K miles) until late in the decade, the only way you could be sure is to run a CARFAX and hope someone had registered it along the way with the mileage recorded.

Based upon what you said you saw, I would have offered him $3,000 on the spot due to the condition. If I owned the car in the condition you described and someone offered me $9,500, I would have RUN to the bank to cash his check. But, as we all have learned, 99.9% of those "offers" are usually just parking lot talk, and not serious money offers.

Good luck in finding one.

By the way, if you want a project car, look under "Parts Cars" on ebay. A guy has one in Austin, TX and he is asking $1,750 for it. It needs paint and some leather work, but for that kind of money, you could spend a few bucks to fix it up, make it a good daily driver and still not have your entire retirement fund spent on the car.

Joe

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Tom, For $8500 you should be getting a car that is almost a #2 and probably a high silver or low gold. It should not take much to really spiff it up. We have one that we paid a little less for and put in a couple of K+ to bring it up to a GOLD, (I hope). I migfht find out at the next National meet if there is ever a judged one (GRIN, GRIN, GRIN) It got silver in Batavia last year. If you want a rundown on what we did to ours, get me off list and I'll outline it for you.

I know people in Minnetonka by the way. I hope to see them in a couple of weeks. They are coming down to Buffalo for a wedding.

Stevo

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Stevo, thanks for your comments. When I saw the ad, I had pictures of grandeur in my head, thinking it would be an exceptional car and maybe if I bought it right, I could make a couple bucks off of it. I've seen clean, low mile Riv converts for sale in the $10K and higher range, but doesn't sound like they're bringing those prices on any kind of a regular basis. Guess it wasn't to be. While I would really like to have a Riv convert from this era, I don't really have room for it and wouldn't want to have to let it sit outside.

Interesting that you have friends from my neck of the woods. Guess it really is a small world.

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Tom - I have an '82 Riviera convertible that I will sell for $9,500 firm. Mileage is about 38,000 (I will have to check exact figure later). This is a white car. Paint is original. Bumper fillers are all intact. Car is excellent and original. Convertible top is correct white and it was a new replacement for original top in the year 2000. Rear glass is not yellowed; a correct Riviera convertible top is glass only. My car is a 307 Oldsmobile V-8. I am third owner; car is an always western and dry car. Original selling dealer was Walt Adams Buick in Glendale, AZ. Car sold again in 1987 in Phoenix & moved to Denver. I bought car from Denver in 2000 and moved it to Cheyenne, Wyoming at that time. Car has most options available in 1982. Ranchero/J. W. Whitehead/Cheyenne, WY/BCA 33109/jwwwy@hotmail.com

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These are pretty nice cars, when they are in good condition. They should be great cruisers, but "performance" was not a priority back then (with either the V-6 or Olds 307 V-8's "blazing" power).

As these were "conversions", I think I'd be more concerned about the integrity of the body and such. Even when they were new, you (many times) could see a very faint horizontal "line" on the windshield header where they chopped the top away and put the convertible top latch panel in its place. I recall seeing that on Buicks, Cadillacs, and Oldsmobile versions--back then. I think that was the only really visible place you could see the "conversion" verification.

As with most convertibles and t-top cars back then, there should probably be some small wedges on the door frame (quarter panel side, near the striker, usually above it somewhere) and matching wedges on the door shell itself. If they are missing, body flex issues could arise and cause panel alignment/door closing issues. They look kind of "Mickey Mouse", but they are there for a reason.

I'm not sure what other structural stiffening additions were made on the cars, but there probably are some somewhwere, I suspect.

Compared to what these cars might have sold for 10 years ago, they could well be undervalued in current times. I've seen many that were really nice cars go "for sale" for quite some time, then probably removed from the market or sold at a significantly reduced price. IF and when the economy finally "booms" EVERYWHERE again, I suspect their price will rebound--just my gut suspicion as when things slowed down was when the actual selling prices similarly decreased, be that as it may. Therefore, finding one now (regardless of model year) and keeping it nice as you drive it, fixing and refurbishing a little every so often, could make for a nice investment in future years--playing the market cycles in the process.

One thing I've noticed in the "Old Cars Price Guide", of late, is that for a particular body series of a particular model, the variance between the three or so model years that car was built on that body series all pretty much have the same value (probably not varying more than about $500.00, first year to third year of production). Therefore, unless there is an attraction to one specific year, if you happen to find one a year or so off, either way, it might be worth considering the alternative model year vehicle.

Just some thoughts . . . ONLY thoughts,

NTX5467

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