1984 Buick Riviera T TYPE coupe

This entry was one of my first posts on this blog. I’ve updated it to reflect both changes in my posting style and substantial improvements in available data. In hindsight, it turns out that it was also my initial inspiration for the Riviera Project I am currently working on.

“… the thrill of turbocharged performance and responsive handling.”

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For 1984, the T TYPE (their spelling) version of Buick’s Riviera gained sequential fuel injection, yielding a respectable 190 bhp from the evergreen LD5 3.8 liter/231 ci turbo V6. Performance figures for the later Riviera T TYPEs are hard to come by, but I’m betting that 0-60 mph came in between 9 and 10 seconds.

Fuel mileage for the big coupe was decent by the standards of the day: 14 city/21 highway (13/20 by today’s standards). With the 21.2-gallon gas tank, range was about 310 to 335 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. A T TYPE continued to be the only way to get your Riviera coupe turbocharged, though you could get a “civilian” Riviera convertible with the turbocharger.

The $17,050 T TYPE (about $43,600 in 2020 dollars or a little more than what a well-equipped 2020 Buick Regal GS goes for) came with a blacked-out grille, amber parking light and turn signal lenses, black mirrors, and P205/75R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch styled aluminum wheels. Additional instrumentation for the T TYPE included a turbo boost gauge and an LED tachometer. The 1984 T TYPE also included the Gran Touring Package, which featured stiffer springs, recalibrated shock absorbers, and larger diameter anti-sway bars front and rear.

Standard exterior and mechanical features on all 1984 Rivieras included a four-speed automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and power antenna. Inside, every Riviera had air conditioning, power door locks, and power windows.

An extensive list of options included electronic climate control ($150), rear window defogger ($140), and Twilight Sentinel ($60). Options available for every Riviera except the convertible included the Delco/Bose Music System ($895) and the Astroroof ($1,195).

Sales weren’t great—with only 1,153 made, T TYPEs accounted for only about 2% of the robust overall Riviera sales. T TYPE sales would continue to dip in the last year for the “big” sixth-generation Riviera—there were only 1,069 made in 1985. My theory is that there weren’t a ton of folks searching for a big (206 inches long and 3,660 pounds) performance-oriented (but not really high performance) coupe in the mid-1980s, and there was competition from vehicles like the brand new Lincoln Mark VII LSC.

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Riviera page from 1984 Buick brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project's amazing brochures section.
Riviera page from 1984 Buick brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

Unlike many other cars from the 1980s, folks are saving the sixth generation Rivieras. For example, there’s robust discussion and support on the AACA’s Buick Riviera page. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Riviera T TYPE in #1/Concours condition is $18,100, with a far more normal #3/Good condition going for $5,100. T TYPEs also come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors—when I updated this blog entry in May 2020, there was a black 1983 available on Hemming’s for $8,950.

Make mine the extra-cost ($210) Medium Sand Gray Firemist, please. I love those Buick color names and believe everyone should have at least one Firemist.

First posted in June 2014, updated in May 2020.

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