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Evolution of the Riviera -
1983 the 20th Anniversary

by Ed Gunyo #101, Regional Coordinator, "10,000 Lakes Chapter"

Originally published in The Riview Vol. 21, No. 6 September/October 2005

Ed Gunyo, "Test Driving" the 1983 Indy 500 Pace Car at the 2001 Annual meet at Lake Geneva WI

1983 marked a milestone for the Riviera.The 20th year of production, and the honored privilege to run as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 race.The Riviera had some new electronic innovations; optional digital readout instrument cluster in English or Metric, a new electronic tone warning that seatbelts were not buckled or the key was in the ignition.The exciting option was the GM Delco Bose stereo system that delivered 50 watts of audio output per stereo channel. (Note: the Bose system was an all-inclusive system where the radio, speakers only worked within the system, no radio substitute will work with the system). Riviera also returned to the assist strap to close the doors.

The celebration of Riviera’s 20th anniversary continued with Buick having two custom made Riviera convertibles for pace cars at the 1983 Indianapolis 500 race. For production Buick had 500 two-door hardtop copies made of the Indy pace cars. The model was called the “XX Anniversary Edition”. The production car had the same options the pace car minus being a convertible.The equipment included, true wire wheels made by the Appliance Wheel Company, body painted two tone beige with Anniversary grill and front end panel. (Note: the grill in 83 was standard in 84/85). Front and rear bumper stripes were brown with gold inserts. Rocker, belt and roof drip moldings were anodized dark brown. Fender, deck lid, side and grille emblems said Riviera XX, which was plated in 24-carat gold.
The hood emblem and wheel centers were also gold and were color and designed coordinated. (Note: the hood ornament in 1986-92 was very similar but silver). The interior was a medium beech special interior with suede seat inserts in dark brown with each seat numbered according to the production number of the car. Real English walnut wood veneer trim plates were standard, included was a real wood steering wheel with leather grips and 26 oz wool carpeting hand made in Germany.

Exclusive Wire Wheels

Riviera XX Brass Plaque on Glove Box
Also included were a 140 mph speedometer along with leather and walnut door and rear bolster trim. On the glove box was a brass plaque that said Riviera XX Twentieth Anniversary Buick Riviera with the Indianapolis 500 speedway logo.The trunk interior had the same wool carpeting as the interior along with a special trunk lid inside cover in carpeted wool with a gold stitched leather emblem that said Riviera XX. Also standard, rear window defroster, Gran Touring suspension with four wheel disc brakes, dual electric mirrors plus Uniroyal goldwall stripe steel belted radial tires. The standard engine was the 4.1-liter V-6 with the 5.0-liter V8 optional.The model was truly a unique hand made Riviera.Other changes were that the V8 was no longer available as an option for the T-Type and the diesel engine was only available in the standard coupe.

Riviera XX Interior

Indy 500 Pacecar Interior

Prices for the base Riviera was now at $15,238 and $15,906 for the T-Type. The convertible was now at a hefty $24,960. The T Type also changed with an electrically heated grid in the 3.8-liter V6 now preheated the fuel/air mixture for better response with a cold engine. Also the exhaust gas re circulation system was refined to regulate both timing and rate of exhaust gas flow back into the air/fuel mixture.The Turbocharged engine had a new piezo sensor In the Electronic Spark Control system, plus computer controlled EGR. The convertibles came in a choice of White or Firemist Red with White top and contrasting body side stripes. Interiors were in soft red Sierra grain leather and vinyl. Four wheel disc brakes were standard with the Gran Touring Suspension.

Total Production
Engine Size
50,234 (Includes 1,331 T-Type, 502 XX Anniv. Model)
252 cu. in. V6 (4.1 Litre) 125 1x4bbl  
Option: 231 cu. in. V6 Turbo 180 1x4bbl
1,750 Convertibles Option: 307 cu. in. V8 (5 Litre) 140 1x4bbl
Option: 350 cu. in. V8 Diesel   F.I.
Curb Weight

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Notice: BUICK and RIVIERA are trademarks of GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION used with permission. The Riviera Owners Association is independent and not affiliated with GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION or its BUICK MOTORS DIVISION    —Copyright 2007 Riviera Owners Association—