This unsung convertible from Flint is still a bargain
Expensive and built in limited quantities, the 1982 Buick Riviera convertible was never meant to be a car for the masses. It may have ended up a footnote to automotive history, except for one thing: the luxury cruiser marked the first drop-top from GM since the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible ushered out an era.
Each Riviera convertible began as a coupe before being shipped to American Sunroof Corporation for modifications that required 300 parts and 10 hours of labor to complete. The base engine was a 252-cu.in. V-6, rated at 125 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque, but buyers wanting more performance could opt for the 307-cu.in. V-8, rated at 140 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque.
Priced at $24,064, the ’82 Riviera convertible was nearly $10,000 more than a Riviera coupe. Initial production plans called for just 500 convertibles, but interest from dealers and consumers, jubilant about the return of an American luxury convertible, convinced Buick to build 1,248 examples.