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The nicest 79-85 Buick Riviera I have ever seen for sale

Drew Dowdell

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One of these poor Turbo-Rivieras... (an '83 iirc) turned up complete in a local junkyard and ended up

donating some generic GM interior pieces to my Fleetwood Brougham. Still have the Riviera emblem

from the dash complete with the Turbocharged(6) logo. :(

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A very rare case of a post-WWII FWD car that does not suck all that much...

I'd love to see it parked next to a Bustleback V8-6-4.

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Yes it is, this is a gorgeous Riviera. A TRUE Riviera, not some compact sized thing with a sideways motor.

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What is the reliability like on a 3800 turbo?

The 1978-1983 Buick carb 3.8 liter turbo(pre 3800) V6 was, like the 301 turbo of the 80-81 vintage, an engine that few people understood and knew how to properly service. Many were yanked in favor of a traditional Chevy 305 or 350 V8 and I have seen numerous examples with the turbo plumbing ripped off and a regular 4bbl manifold and carb in it's place.

These 2 engines were primarily GM's answer to the 70's fuel crunch to bring V8 power with V6 fuel economy with the Buick turbo and big 400 CID power out of a fuel sipping 301. The Buick carb turbo suffered from some reliability issues in it's early years, oil leaks, weak bottom end and lets keep in mind that these early Buick V6 engines were not balance shafted and the pistons were offset respective to there crankshaft throws which caused excessive cylinder wear. Carburetors were often not in proper tune, even straight off the showroom floor, fuel injection was a pipedream at this point for the intended price and turbos attached to carburetors did not equal combustion harmony. The other major problem with these engines was serviceability. Ever try changing the spark plugs on a Buick carb turbo? Good luck with the valve cover gaskets. Where is that EGR valve or PC valve? Vacuum lines ran everywhere and the introduction of the CCC computer command system in 1981 made things even worse. So what consumers were left with was an engine that was tougher to service with shorter intervals, poor reliabilty and very expensive to work on, lackluster performance compared to a traditional V8 and the added complexity of caring for that turbo to keep it alive. Of course much of that was resolved with the introduction of the 1984 SFI Buick 3.8 turbo as fitted to the GN and T-Types of that era that offered much better power, driveability, gas mileage and reliabilty and turbocharged engines were much more common at that time so people and mechanics knew more about them.

This Riv is in very nice shape and the engine looks to be unmolested and original. With the proper care and attention to service, it could live a long and healthy life in the right persons hands.

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