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.”

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 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 coupe turbocharged—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.

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. 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.

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. 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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1984 Honda Civic CRX hatchback coupe

“Are you using the right car for your gasoline?”

Even for the 1980s, the 1984 Honda Civic CRX two-seater was absolutely tiny, with a length of a little over 12 feet and a weight of around 1,800 pounds. The CRX debuted as a new model included with the introduction of the all-new third generation Civic line.

There were two engine choices for the CRX in 1984. The CRX HF (High Fuel economy) got a 1.3 liter/82 ci inline four with a three-barrel carburetor and all of 60 bhp—but this got you 46 city/52 highway by the standards of the day (still 38/47 by today’s standards). It also got you a 0-60 time of about 12 seconds.

Moving up to the DX got you the EW1 76 bhp 1.5 liter/91 ci inline four with a three-barrel carburetor—enough to reduce the 0-60 time to a little over 10 seconds and still get 32 city/38 highway by the eighties standards (28/35 by the current standard).

A five-speed manual was standard, but you could get a three-speed automatic with the DX—though I’m not at all sure why you’d want one. All CRXs included a front air dam, rear spoiler, flush-mounted glass, vented front disc brakes, and front and rear stabilizer bars.

The first generation CRX found its markets and sold quite well, with over 48,000 in 1984 and a total of 218,000 over four years. In 1985, the fuel injected 91 bhp Si would come along—but that is a topic for another blog post.

I see early CRX’s occasionally, but they’ve become rarer and rarer on the roads in the northeast. I have yet to see one at an auto show, but I’d love to.

Make my 1984 CRX a DX in blue (with the standard metallic gray lower rocker panels), please.

Updated February 2019.

1984 Nissan/Datsun 300ZX hatchback coupe

“Every move you make, every turn that you make confirms you are in the most technologically advanced Z car ever made.”

This Nissan/Datsun 300ZX is not the one with all the glamor—that 300ZX was the one that followed in the 1990s. For 1984, Nissan moved from the inline 6 of the 280ZX to a 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection, available either naturally aspirated (160 bhp) or turbocharged (200 bhp). The styling was completely and controversially revised for the first time in the history of the Z car—a massive revision akin to that of the Chevrolet Corvette for the same year. Base price was $15,800 for the base coupe and $18,200 for the turbo.

The 300ZX to have in 1984 was undoubtedly the 50th Anniversary Edition (released to celebrate Nissan’s half-century) which was an absolutely loaded turbocharged model with a Light Pewter Metallic and Thunder Black color scheme. All Anniversary Editions came equipped with in-car 3-way electronically adjustable shocks, Bodysonic bass speakers in the seats (individually adjustable for driver and passenger from the console), mirror-finished t-tops, leather seats, sixteen-inch aluminum wheels, and flared front and rear fenders. Other equipment included a digital dash with MPG and compass readouts and steering wheel controls for the cruise control and the radio.

The only option available on the Anniversary Edition was the choice of a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission.

1984 Nissan/Datsun 300ZX 50th Anniversary Edition, courtesy of Mercennarius at the wikipedia project.

5,148 out of the 75,351 (!) 1984 300ZXs produced for the US market were Anniversary Editions at a non-trivial list price of $26,000 (about $58,800 in 2014 dollars).

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a base 1984 300ZX in #1/Concours condition is $18,100, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $6,600. Values for the Anniversary Edition are about $2,500 additional in any condition. 300ZXs make regular appearances in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, though you have to be careful to check under both Datsun and Nissan. As I write this in November 2013, there’s a 50th Anniversary Edition with 86,000 miles for sale in Hemmings for $9,000.

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