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Premium Member
12,557 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No, I haven't lost my mind, but I have found this, and many like connections.

Anyways I thought I'd share, despite probably being illegal. It's not my fault this particular PDF was open when I was taking screenshots.

And that SC is so hot.

11,898 Posts
Thanks for posting. A bit dated today but one can see how revolutionary the Northstar was back then.

My tastes are for the Lincoln.

Sucks that the G body Riviera was a bit late to this but definitely an alternative contender...and despite being a 4 door, the Aurora

7,289 Posts
FWD or not, that Eldorado was a really nice car.

13,043 Posts
Segment isn't 100% dead yet... just moved WAY upmarket. The MB CL550 and Bentley Continental GT are still duking it out.

Mark VIII was a technological tour de force, but it suffered for having a HUGE exterior, and a pathetically tiny interior and cargo space. Hard to park, and utterly impractical. Why buy a useless behemoth when you can get a BMW 535i that is as fast, handles as well, looks good, and has tons of space and practicality?

3,437 Posts
My collection of Motor Trends, and a few others, goes back to mid 1957. So I don't have connections, instead I have the real thing.

A lot of people underestimate the FWD STS and Eldo's of that period. I regularly blew the doors off some unsuspecting driver with what they thought was a hot car.

4,660 Posts
I really like the Lexus. I'm actually looking to see if I can get one.
The crazy thing is...we never got the "good" one from Japan. The Lexus SC400 is known as the Soarer in Japan. Some had the twin turbo I6 from the Supra hooked up to a manual transmission!

I love all of these cars (Eldorado, SC400, and Mark VIII). I don't see too many of either much anymore, but the Mark VIII stands out because their ass end is usually dropped to the ground! The rear air suspensions are getting old now....and many people around here just keep driving them all jacked up (or down lol).

18,488 Posts
Segment isn't 100% dead yet... just moved WAY upmarket. The MB CL550 and Bentley Continental GT are still duking it out.
But back then, there was the Mercedes 600 SEC and the Bentley Continental R :D

A relative had an SC400 when new, was nice. Today these cars are impossible to get because the ricer kids buy them because "OMG SUPRA SUPRA!!" I think they have chemical imbalance...

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18,488 Posts

11,898 Posts
The Northstars blow gaskets, the Marks have horrible suspension issues and other things, the Toyota runs pretty well but maybe trans issues
the answer to all your problems:


18,488 Posts
Wow that isn't really a flattering colour for that car is it? :D

That generation of Riviera really needs to be black and only black maybe with some chrome wheels of a different design like maybe the ones from a later Regal GS ;)

It is remarkable that the Riviera almost always looked so kickass. Like the first one, or the boattail cars and that "balloon with plaster inside" (actually that was the prototype process for the SC400) one

can I get a woot woot :D

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11,898 Posts
hell yea the Riviera was awesome

5,424 Posts
Great find!

I remember reading an issue of 'Motor Trend: Classic' (a recent publication, but now discontinued) where they put an Eldorado up against the Mark III and shed light on the whole 'King of the Hill' series that pit those two (well, the Eldorado and successive Marks) against each other time after time.

This article really starts to shed light on the inroads imports were making into the marketplace. It would be like Tom Cruise sitting down at a table with Paul Newman & Steve McQueen and pretending like he was hot ****.

@ Wescoent

I remember the few times I packed my Mark VII full of people, the passengers in back never complained about room. In fact, I remember one guy telling me how it bested his '00 Monte Carlo. I've sat in back as well on excursions here and there and can echo his sentiments. So unless the Mark VIII shrank when it moved up to the MN-12 platform, it's really nowhere near torturous unless you actually try to fit three people back there.

As far as your line about the Bimmer, it's really an Apples to Oranges kinda thing (though the same could be said about why I bought a Malibu over a Camaro..... ;))

6,957 Posts
The SC300/400 and Mark VIII are my favorite Lexuses and Lincolns, respectively.

11,898 Posts
It's a really heavy looking overstyled car IMO, more of a fad than a classic. The concept car you could own...

Or maybe it's just that cab forward design appeals to me in no way.
maybe, but I think the Riviera had always been a bit "overstyled"

Premium Member
12,557 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
For kicks here is the 1995 MotorTrend Riviera review, though it's text only (pdf takes forever to post, pics from internet):

Buick isn't afraid to take chances. Cars like the defunct Reatta reflect a drive to forge into uncharted regions of the consumer landscape (in that unfortunate case, one sparsely populated), while such styling statements as the wild Skylark exhibit a daring rarely seen from Detroit. When you look at the cars the company has created, the staid, mainstream-American image Buick holds for most buyers seems a touch surprising.

That image is going to be jolted still further by the new Riviera, the big luxury coupe that blends many of the best parts of Buick's aggressive styling attitude with solid engineering. As the finest and most memorable Buick to come along in many years, the '95 Riviera wraps high-value acoutrement in a bold, romantic shape that looks as if it could come from Lexus or Infiniti--or Mars.

Clean, simple, and graceful, the Riviera has a classic elegance that's likely to find its strongest appeal with more mature buyers. Body-color door handles and bump strips melt into the gentle curves of the flanks, while delicate chrome lines around the blackout grille, side glass, and full-width taillight compose the sole brightwork. Although it's the biggest car in its class, the Riviera looks compact from most vantage points, and only from the three-quarter rear views does its true bulk become apparent. It's a big car, in the grand tradition of the American luxury coupe. Only a few have ever looked this good. Among our staffers, the new Buick's exterior has multiple boosters and only a few vocal detractors. In a crowded marketplace, the Riv's memorable lines should work to its advantage.

As successful as the exterior styling is, the Riviera's interior is, to our eyes, less distinguished. Resplendent with round gauges, vents, and controls set in a sweeping wraparound panel, it looks less opulent than we'd hoped. The plastic (at least on our sand-colored interior) looked just like plastic. The steering wheel appears to be a single injection-molded part and speaks more of manufacturing efficiency than it does of luxury. The rich matte-finish leather seating surfaces are jarringly offset by the glossier vinyl used on the seat sides and backs. An apparent GM parts-bin escapee, the skinny black shifter pokes out of the hard plastic center console. And perhaps the worst transgression: There's no wood--not even fake wood--to lend some warmth to the interior. The cabin has a wipes-clean-with-a-damp-cloth ambiance that you'd expect in a Chevy Lumina. It was Buick's intention to reenter the luxury-coupe class with a decisive price advantage; from the ****pit, you can gee where the auto maker saved many of those dollars.

Thankfully, those bucks weren't saved on the functional stuff, for the most part. Carefully engineered power seats provide drive-all-day comfort, and a manually adjustable steering wheel lets you get properly situated. Satellite controls on the steering wheel for the sound system and climate control minimize groping, and the front-seat passenger has a separate temperature control. Huge numbers on the instrument faces are highly legible, but the tiny hash marks aren't. Additionally, proper hand position on the wheel obstructs your view of the tach and speedo. There's plenty of room to get comfortable in the front seats, and in back, there's more leg room than you'd expect from a coupe. Head room is the limiting factor for passengers over about 5-feet 10-inches tall, due to the radically sloped back glass.

The strongest impression you come away with after spending time in the Riviera is one of quiet solidity. This is something that was built in from the start of the project, not squeezed out of an adhesive gun late in the assembly process. Developed in concert with the new Oldsmobile Aurora sedan, the Riviera's platform reflects GM's increasing concern with getting the foundation right in the first place. With its painstakingly engineered unibody, this front-driver is unusually rigid. The remarkably stiff mid-size Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan was used as a target for GM engineers--one they claim to have hit. Buick and Oldsmobile both like to toss the 25-Hertz figure around for their new siblings as a measure of stiffness. A Hertz equals one cycle of vibration per second. A higher number is better than a lower one, since the drivetrain and suspension can feed loads into the chassis in the range of 7 to 15 Hertz. If the natural frequency of the body is well above this range, you end up with a quieter, much more solid car.

Buick engineers pursued stiffness with a vengeance, but they had to be efficient about it if they hoped to keep weight under control. Most of the brawn is built into the big rocker boxes on either side and in the central floorpan tunnel. Transverse beams in the pan help tie these structures together effectively. By using fixed rear seatbacks instead of flip-down arrangements, further strength was gained at the cost of some utility, but with little or no weight penalty. This logic also explains the relatively high trunk liftover. You'll probably appreciate the Riviera's structural integrity so much, you won't even mind tricking your golf partner into lifting the clubs into the trunk for you.

This rigid body shell rides on new MacPherson-strut suspension in front and a semi-trailing-arm arrangement in the back. Basic geometry minimizes bump steer and the resultant imprecision it produces, while carefully tuned suspension bushings foster compliance and road isolation. The setup is clearly ride oriented: Though rarely sloppy about it, the Riviera feels substantially looser in its ride motions than some other luxury coupes, with just a touch of classic American float stirred in. Unlike the domestic personal pleasure barges of yesteryear, however, the Riv stays composed if you push it aggressively.

At street velocities, it never misbehaves, though the Goodyear Eagle GA tires squeal early and often. Ultimate grip is a modest 0.78 lateral g, a number that further defines the Riv's luxury (not sporting) intentions. The steering, though accurate in its response, offers little feedback. Even the bucket seats, short on lateral support, deter fast cornering. The message is perfectly clear: The Riviera has acceptably good handling capabilities, but is intended to be driven in the middle of the performance envelope, not skidded around the edges.

That same tuning with the emphasis on normal driving applies to the powertrain. A V-8 would be nice to play with, but a V-6 makes a great deal of sense for the way most people drive. Your choice of two balanced-shaft-equipped V-6 powerplants motivate the new Riviera. Both are evolutions of Buick's pushrod 3800 engine; there's a 205-horsepower base motor, and a supercharged, 225-horsepower variant like the one in our test car. It's an $1100 option, and Buick says it shaves more than a second off the car's 0-60-mph time. Our car sprinted to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, swift enough to get your attention, but the better part of a second behind the V-8-powered class leaders. As an interesting aside, the Supercharged Riviera is quicker to 60 mph than the V-8-powered Aurora (8.2 seconds), even though the weights of the two cars are within 200 pounds of each other.

A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available. Except for some noticeable drivetrain lash during on-off-on throttle reversals, it's an excellent gearbox. Its smart shift programming takes advantage of the engine's strong mid-range surge, so that this V-6 acts more like a V-8. The only concrete tip-offs are audible: At full throttle, you'll miss the silky, muted roar of a multivalve V-8, replaced instead by the faint whine of supercharger laid over typical GM V-6 sound effects. Pleasant enough, but hardly emotionally stirring.

That simple assessment could be applied to the entire Riviera driving experience, if your tastes run toward coupes with the sporting edge of, say, the Lexus SC 400. If, on the other hand, you're drawn to the new breed of luxury coupes, but a put off by their aggressively sporting side (and ride), the Riv stakes out vacant territory on the personal coupe prairie. It's built to roll you down the road in distinctive style, and to let you gain admittance to the elite circle of personal luxury coupes for just $31,743 as-tested. Every other alternative costs more--in some cases much more. A loaded Lexus SC 400 approaches $50,000, an Acura Legend Coupe LS is more than $40,000, a Lincoln Mark VIII just less than that. You can come closer to the Riviera with decontented versions of these cars, or even GM's own Cadillac Eldorado, but the Buick's price advantage is simply too great to be completely whittled away. Deciding if it belongs on your shopping list depends heavily on your own priorities--and resources. Our guess is that a lot of drivers will find the Buick Riviera to be the ideal way to raise their standard of driving, with only a modest increase in their payments.


I guess I'm one of those detractors Karr mentions. While I applaud Buick's enthusiasm in the Riv's exterior design, the execution is a bit overwhelming. Not that every new car must follow the antiseptic egg form, but the Riviera's shape is too busy and seems to emphasize that it wants to look uniquely American instead of just trying to be a nicely styled coupe. The same can be said of the interior.

On the plus side, the super-charged engine is something Buick has always done well. Sure, V-8 power might have been a better choice considering the company this car wants to keep, but the 7.8-second 0-60 time registered by the V-6 is quick enough to satisfy almost anyone. If Buick's intention with the Riv is to attract younger buyers, it may take more than one new model to change the division's "older buyer" image.

And the 1992 SC400 review:

Few brand-new nameplates have ever come smoking out of the debut chute like Lexus did. First was the ground-breaking LS 400 Luxury sedan, a well-bred Japanese car that not only met the high standard set by Mercedes, but did so at a price that left enough change to buy two econoboxes for college-bound teens. And what the LS 400 did for premium sedans, the SC 400 does for sport coupes. We tested its pants off last year in the '92 Import Car of the Year event, and when the dust settled it wore the Big Crown. Seems too soon to be wrapping up its stay with us, but to the dismay of one and all, its long-term test is over.

The owner survey disclosed that apparently y'all aren't driving your SC 400s as much as we drove ours. The survey fleet per car average mileage is only 7616, while our long-term tester racked up almost 16,000 miles in the 11 months it was on our story clock. Our observed combined fuel economy is right in the EPA estimate though, as was that of the survey sample. The official federal fuel use estimate is 18 city/23 highway; owners reported city fuel econ of 18 mpg and a highway number of 22.1 mpg. Our logbook average for all kinds of driving was 18.9. Considering the primarily lead-footed city driving in which we commonly engage, this is ideal performance.

According to the survey and our experiences, performance is one of the reasons the SC 400 is so popular. One driver noted the sport coupe's suspension was demonstrably firm compared to the LS 400's. In instrumented testing, our car did 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds: the kind of performance that puts the "sport" in a sport/luxury tag. The quarter-mile clocking returned a figure of 15.4 seconds at 92.9 mph, plus outstanding braking from 60 mph at a brief 130 feet. With a skidpad performance of 0.86 g and a slalom speed of 63.9 mph, the car's sporty credentials are intact.

But performance, at 22.8 percent of the survey, was only a second-place reason why respondents stepped up to the Lexus store with about $43,000 in hand. Style, for 72.2 percent of the sample, placed first. We concur in that opinion. "The Lexus SC 400 serves as an icon that stirs the emotions," we wrote in our Import Car of the Year story (March '92). "An example of fluid and sensual style wrapped around the powerful heartbeat of a solid V-8."

Owners consistently raved about every facet of the SC 400. We recorded extremely high satisfaction responses in virtually every survey category. Example: 91 percent of the survey sample reported no mechanical trouble of any kind, believed to be an all-time record low in this category. Total responses detailing mechanical trouble were under 5 percent, which is so low it isn't statistically meaningful.

Another record was set for the "specific complaints" questions. It's entirely typical for the "no complaints" answer to score the highest--but it's never been an extraordinary 44.5 percent of the respondents. If the LS 400 was a home-run, then the SC 400 is a grand slam. "This is one of the finest production automobiles available," a physician respondent declared. "Lexus clearly did its homework and then executed the product to the highest standards available."

Our logbook records few references to glitches in the long-term tester. The steering wheel auto tilt-away feature was repaired once under warranty and the fuel door had an annoying tendency to stick closed, but our owner group was equally hard-pressed to name any major problem areas. Minor troubles were reported with door hinges, brakes, struts, batteries, and driveshafts, all non-specific and nearly invisible at less than 2 percent of the total survey respondents.

The car is as wonderful to drive as it is to look at, according to the survey. Overall comfort was rated as "excellent or good" by 98.4 percent of the survey. Only 52.9 percent thought rear seat comfort rated the same, and 37.7 percent reported average or poor rear-seat comfort. But one respondent, an IBM consultant who rated the rear seat as fair, also wrote in, "Who cares?"

This guy was interesting for another reason, because he's a witness at Ground Zero in the war brewing between upstart Lexus and aristocratic Mercedes-Benz. He reported that his two-person family unit also owns an '85 Mercedes 190E, and "... the service drives me nuts!" In addition to praising his Lexus dealer's fair pricing policy, this more than satisfied owner also rates the service experience as excellent. "They check everything, and they call to see if I liked their work," he wrote. "This is a great car. I intend to keep it as long as I can. It's the car I've waited for all my life." Respondents to the tune of 95.1 percent said "yes" or "maybe" to whether they'd buy another SC 400; 99.3 percent said they'd consider another Lexus product. It's abundantly clear that all forms of customer satisfaction are responsible for these high marks.

The comments from the owner body tell the tale much better than a dry recitation of statistics. "I've owned a 308GTi Ferrari, three Jaguars, four Mercedes (three SLs), and two Corvettes," wrote an attorney from Ohio. "The SC 400 is by far the best car I've ever owned. Bear in mind," he concluded with a bang, "I'm 71 years old." Fresh view from a peach grower: "I like my SC 400 so well I doubt I'll ever trade it."

Lexus SC 400 comes as close to being perfect as any car we've put miles on. And according to the owners survey, so say we all.


Why did you buy an SC 400?







Past experience--11.8

Would you buy another SC 400?




Would you buy another brand of sporty car next time?




Would you buy another Lexus product?




DEALER RATINGS` ` Excellent Good Average Fair Poor` ` Sales practices 58.7% 30.3 6.1 1.5 3.4` Service practices 77.8 17.6 3.4 0.0 1.1` ` PERFORMANCE/CREATURE COMFORTS` ` Excellent Good Average Fair Poor` ` Performance rating 90.6% 8.6 0.4 0.4 0` Fun to drive 91.7 6.4 1.5 0.4 0` Acceleration 83.1 15.4 1.1 0.4 0` Braking 76.7 20.3 3.0 0 0` Handling 87.6 10.9 0.8 0.4 0.4` Overall comfort 79.8 18.6 1.1 0.4 0` Rear-seat comfort 19.2 33.7 20.8 16.9 9.4` Overall quality` and workmanship 92.5 6.4 0.8 0.4 0`


Principal driver



Both, equally--1.2

Age of respondent










65 and over--8.8

Average Sales Price



Under $38,000--2.4








$52,000 and over--1.4

Average mpg



Total vehicle miles--1,995,378

Average miles/vehicle--7616

Model year sales to date--9627


Mechanical problems



Types of mechanical problems





Specific complaints

No complaints--44.5


Rear seat room--4.6



Trunk space--2.8

What changes would you like?

No changes--13.5

Passenger airbag--12.6

More power--11.3

More headroom--10.8

Outdoor thermometer--8.6

More rear seat room--5.4

Specific likes










'92 LEXUS SC 400


Body style--2-door, 4-passenger

Vehicle configuration--Front engine, rear drive

Engine configuration--V-8, DOHC, 4 valves/cylinder

Engine displacement, ci/cc--242/3969


hp @ rpm, SAE net--250 @ 5600


lb-ft @ rpm, SAE net--260 @ 4400

Transmission--4-speed auto.

Axle ratio--3.92:1


Base price--$37,500

Price as tested--$42,300


Total mileage--15,691

Test mileage--14,383

Fuel consumed, gal--767.5

Fuel cost--$1096.22

Additional oil/cost--None

Routine maintenance--$92.97

Additional maintenance--None

Previous maintenance--$41.67

Problem areas--Brake light

Total operating cost--$1230.86

Operating cost/mile--8.6c


Wheelbase, in/mm--105.9/2690

Length, in./mm--191.1/4854

Height, in./mm--52.6/1336

Ground clearance, in./mm--5.1/129.5

Curb weight, lb/kg--3575/1621.6

Cargo capacity, cu ft/L.--9.3/263

Fuel capacity, gal/lit.--20.6/78

Fuel economy

EPA, city/hwy, mpg--18/23


Suspension, f/r--Independent/independent

Steering--Rack and pinion, speed-sens. power assist

Brakes, f/r--Vented discs/discs, ABS

Wheels--16 X 7.0, cast alloy




0-60, sec--7.2

Quarter mile, sec/mph--15.4/92.9


60-0, ft--130

Lateral acceleration, g--0.86

Slalom, mph--63.9
Interesting how 72% of SC buyers bought it for style, goes to show the importance of car design in successful sales.

6,231 Posts
Interesting how 72% of SC buyers bought it for style, goes to show the importance of car design in successful sales.
True. The Lincoln and the Eldo are also really attractive cars, but ironically the Lexus is the one that kept the classic Personal Luxury Coupe formula of a really long hood and a small passenger compartment.

I need to buy one of these before they're all gone. If I could find a manual SC, I'd snap it up in an second.
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