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Evolution of the Riviera - 1985

by Sean Cahill #6613

Originally published in The Riview Vol. 22, No. 2 January/February 2006


1985 brought an end to the first generation of the front wheel drive Riviera. A car that made the Riviera faithful somewhat skeptical in the beginning, but proved itself with innovation after innovation, setting sales records, being an Indianapolis Pace Car, the first Riviera with V6 and V6 Turbocharged engines, as well as a diesel. It was a car who took a while for the enthusiasts to come on board, but once it proved itself, it became a favorite that was discarded too soon. Such are so many things in life, just when it got good, it went away for something less popular. Many Riviera fans never gave it a chance originally, and did not appreciate it until recently and now it is gaining in popularity.Those that kept the faith in the beginning learned that the new Riviera was something that they could be proud of, and soon had made a reputation as good as or better than the original.

Mid 1984 brought on a new feature that continued into 1985.The industries first on board cellular phone became an approved dealer installed option. For the 1985 model year, it was joined by the rare CRT Computer Command Center. This system was the most advanced of its day, with radio, climate control and other functions controlled by simply touching the screen. Approximately 100 of the new model year were so equipped, as it was quickly decided it was too expensive for production.

With this being the last year of this design, few other changes came about, and some effort was made to simplify the ordering of this model.The 5.0 V8 was now standard, and the 5.7 diesel was still an available option.The T-Type was available with the Turbocharged V6 only.There was a

limited edition option that included the burled walnut veneer on the dash and door panels, wood and leather steering wheel, and leather seats with suede inserts.

Production was impressive, and set the all time sales record for the Riviera, at 65,305 cars. Model sales were broken down into 1069 T-Types, and 400 convertibles, which 47 of those were Turbocharged V6 powered, making this also a year for some of the rarest of Riviera models. I find it hard to believe that the powers to be put this model out to pasture when it was at the peak of its popularity. With the current price tag of $27,457 for the Turbo Convertible, and $16,710 for the standard V8 Coupe, this again did not keep cus ­ tomers away from the showrooms with check books in hand.

Option prices included the Astroroof at $1195, the GM Delco/Bose music system at $895, Electric rear defroster $140, a delete radio option that would have put $275 back into your pocket, and many more that were added to most Rivieras sold.This was also the first year Buick sold more than one million cars in a single model year.

ED: In the next issue of the Riview, we will look at the all new design for 1986, and what happened to production num ­bers with this all new car. Also, look for a new series to be added, "The Rarest of Rivieras" will be a series on the Rivieras that never made production, or were produced in very limited numbers.

Total Production
Engine Size


307 cu. in. V8 (5 Litre) 140 1x4bbl  
4EZ67 400 Convertibles
49 with 3.8L Turbo
Option: 231 cu. in. V6 Turbo 180 SFI
4EY57 1,069 T-types 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—