1984 Buick Riviera T-Type

This 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.

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

For 1984, the T-Type version of Buick’s Riviera gained sequential fuel injection, yielding a respectable 190 bhp from the evergreen LD5 3.8 liter/231 cubic inch 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 fuel 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 turbocharged.

The $17,050 T-Type (about $39,500 in 2014 dollars) came with a blacked-out grill, amber parking light and turn signal lenses, black mirrors, and styled aluminum wheels on P205/75R15 tires. 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, re-calibrated 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.

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, there are folks saving the sixth generation Rivieras. For example, there’s strong discussion and support on the AACA’s Buick Riviera page. T-Types also come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds—when I first wrote this in October 2013, there was a red 1985 with 140,000 miles for available for $4,800.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Riviera T-Type in #1 condition is $13,800. 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.

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