Digital dashes were all the rage in the 1980s, when speedometers, trip computers, and touch-screen climate-control units started making their way into mainstream production cars (especially among luxury American automakers).
The Pick of the Day is a 1985 Buick Riviera convertible listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Longmont, Colorado. (Click the link to view the listing)
“Rare 1985 Riviera convertible,” the listing begins. “Runs and drives well.” One of the many high-end appointments that the Riviera boasted was a digital instrument panel.
The Riviera was Buick’s first entry into what became known as the personal luxury car segment, and the nameplate was first introduced in 1963. The word itself translates to “coastline” in Italian, and in line with the wealthy target market for this model, the marketing for the Riviera conveyed the appeal of the French Riviera region which has always been known for its vacation resorts and opulence.
Today’s Riviera comes from the final year of the sixth generation which was launched in 1979 on the General Motors E-body platform. The E-body was shared with the Oldsmobile Toronado and the Cadillac Eldorado, and this marked the first time the Riviera had front-wheel drive. A few years later in 1982, a convertible was offered, but it was sold in limited numbers and limited color combinations – it was only available with a white or red exterior, and all convertibles came with red leather interiors.
According to the Standard Catalog of American Cars by James Flammang, there were just 400 Riviera convertibles produced for the 1985 model year. To put that into perspective, there were 65,305 total Rivieras produced that year. That means only 0.6% of Riviera production was for convertible models. The seller of today’s Riviera is absolutely right about its rarity.
Appointments for the Riviera were indeed luxurious for the time, complete with power-retractable top, generous woodgrain trim, electronic climate control, and of course that all-important digital dash. The seller calls attention to some rust which is seen inside both door jambs. The underbody also shows some corrosion shown in the photos, so this Riviera could use some love to make it a show piece.
“Private owner sale, reasonable offers accepted,” the listing concludes.
Whether this Riviera makes you think of the glamorous life of the French Riviera or not, there’s no arguing about its rarity in the grand scheme of things.
The seller is asking $11,500 or best offer for this Riviera. To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.