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Evolution of the Riviera - 1990-91

by Ed Gunyo #101

Originally published in The Riview Vol. 23, No. 3 May/June 2007

The 1990 Riviera 4E-Z57-V-6 continued the extended tradition of the 1989 transformation. The extenuation of the body gave the Riviera a much better ride and drive. Minor details followed the 1989. More chrome was used on the headlights and rear taillights, and new colors were offered for the first time since 1988. New interior designs gave the Riviera more appeal with redesigned dashboard, side panels and console area with armrest, cassette tape holder, coin holder and ashtray. Standard were window and mirror switches, now incorporated in the door panels.

Keeping with the previous year, the 1990 Riviera had a leather steering wheel, Dynaride, a Gran Sport option and optional inflatable restraint system. The car also came with the pass-key anti-theft system. The Delco Bose audio system was still optional, along with the new 14-way power seat, which replaced the 16-way seat on the previous year.

Mechanically, the 1990 came with the same 3800 V-6 motor as the 1989. It was well-equipped at its base price of $34,050. Options that really took a toll on the wallet were the leather and suede seats for $550, sunroof for $1,230, and cellular phone for $1,975.

Overall, the Riviera was very much a continuation of the 1989 model. The NHTSA has had more than six problems with the car. More problems came in small details in 1990.The production was up to 22,526, at a base price of $23,040, which was a continued increase in sales since 1989. Buick adopted “The Great American Road” as its sales theme, and the 1990 Riviera was indeed a car for the road.

The 1991 Riviera was a continuation of the 1989 model. With its distinctive style, pure luxury and great ride, it is a true Buick. Dynaride, six-speaker concert sound 11, 4T60-E electronically controlled four-speed transmission includes new improvements. Better handling with on-center feel and more quiet insulation made the 1991 feel like a very quiet car to drive down the road.

The best improvements came with quieter anti-vibration motor mounts and cup holders, which in 1991 were not available on many models.

The mechanics had not changed and the quiet, reliable 3800 V-6 port fuel injected engine was standard. The Grand Touring Suspension was optional. The Riviera did receive a new 3:06:1 drive ratio, which gave the car a bigger start off the line.

Production dropped to only 13,168 Rivieras in 1991. NHTSA results were positive, with no major recalls.

The 1990-’91 Rivieras continued the great tradition
of a new symbol of American Quality.

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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—