Gramp’s Grocery-Getter: 31k-Mile 1989 Buick Riviera

  • March 11, 2021
The Rundown
  • 1-Owner w/ 31k Original Miles
  • 3.8L V6 165hp w/ 4-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Red Leather & Suede Interior
  • In-Dash 9” CRT Onboard Electronic Instrumentation
  • Dynaride Suspension System
  • Dash Cover & Car Cover Included
Why We Like It

Survivors of all stripes deserve respect. Diversity is the ability to appreciate the also-rans and much maligned, the ugly ducklings of the automotive pantheon. OldsmoBuick’s downsized E-Body offerings of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s check all those underdog boxes. From the exterior, we can see a taste of 2nd generation Regal, all dolled up and converted to front wheel drive. The red pinstripes follow those not so voluptuous curves, seeming to do better on the backside than the front. Looking straight from the rear, the Riviera is actually quite appealing, slightly Bentley-esque even, which almost makes up for the homely front fascia. Judging from the seller’s description, there’s a 50/50 chance the white wall tires are original to the build sheet, (check the date codes), but we’re guessing 19th week of 2002! Under the hood lies General Motors’ ubiquitous 3800 V6, one of the most produced engines in history, and this one isn’t even broken in yet. Haters gonna hate on the FWD, but having no sporting intentions means we can sidestep the entire conversation and move on. Along to more important things, step inside our mobile office.

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gramps-grocery-getter-31k-mile-1989-buick-riviera01111 bdetBnuExYlz 0CI0t2 1200x900Burgundy and burlwood...merlot and mahogany...inspirational pairings of the ‘80s upper crust. Yes, at this point it may conjure up images of Franzia and fiberboard, who’s to say? All that matters is the comforting feels that well up inside once you see that cockpit. In addition to the knockout leather and suede combo, the driver’s seat is 16-way adjustable, although don’t worry, shotgun still gets six. Front and center…is that a double-din Apple Carplay stereo? Nope, way better! Nine whole inches of cathode ray tube touchscreen infographics technology. It all works, go ahead, poke around. To restomod an Atari into that console would be the hipster passion project of 2021. Even without it, this Riviera could win any #RADwood honorable mention category, hands down. The digital dash evoking handheld video games from the same era, providing black levels and contrast values that modern displays would sell their souls for. The trunk obviously wasn’t used, or was only used to transport bed linens home from TJ Maxx, one of the two. Lastly, as far as the blemishes go, give grandpa a break, he knew the Riviera wasn’t fazed by a couple boo-boos. It’ll give the next owner something to do anyway.

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Valuation Verdict

This car is a steal. Where are you gonna experience the luxury and posh pizazz it offers for less? The beauty here is that the price will attract novelty buyers and serious shoppers alike. Hagerty’s price guide corroborates our initial impression, with #2 excellent examples fetching $7,400 and #3 good cars at $3,900. If this car is anything, it’s at least a 2.1, those little imperfections can get sorted in a few lazy Sunday afternoons. It may not have the broadest appeal, but it’s a worthy ambassador from an era that many at GM would try to sweep under the rug. We won’t let 'em. Fly the flag and cruise the strand, after you stop by the tire shop, of course!

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