Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?
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Cadillac or competing brand model ? Why ? Discussion, Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues? in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; I've been thinking about a sporty yet luxurious American car that I can use for commuting, without worrying about reliability ...
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    devilleconcours100's Avatar
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    Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    I've been thinking about a sporty yet luxurious American car that I can use for commuting, without worrying about reliability or fuel economy. I'd love to have a Seville or Eldorado, but it seems like that the 95-99 Buick Riviera combines the best qualities of the Eldorado with the reliability of a Buick 3.8. The styling isn't quite as distinctive, but I can live with it.

    Opinions, Dave.

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    Destroyer's Avatar
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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Well yeah, pretty much. Kinda like an 80's Riviera or Olds Toronado convertible with a 307 would be a better choice than an Eldorado with a 4.1. Did they make those year Riviera's without superchargers?. If so that would be a good model to get cause the 3.8 supercharged models had some issues. Even supercharged it wont have the top end power of a N* but not having the fear of blown headgaskets is worth it to me.

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    I'm actually in the middle of this right now.

    I have a '97 Riv S/C w/50K miles and am in the process of looking for an ETC. The Riv is my 2nd 3800 S/C (the first being a GP GTP). Both are/were great cars. The main differences between the Riv and the Eldo that will be a reliability issue are the N* headgasket issue, and the complexity of the road sensing suspension (RSS) in the ETC. I've read that the 3800 S/C's transmission is weaker than the N*'s, but I don't think that it's a major issue.

    The 3800 has good power, especially right off the line -- but where the N* just gets going on the highway, the 3800 starts running out of steam. IMO it does not drive as well as the N* (which is the main reason I want the Eldo). And I hate the sound of the 3800 which sounds puny in comparison to the N*. Admittedly, I'm being pretty picky. The Riv drives very well on the highway. Both smooth and responsive. Obviously it's not a 5 series BMW, but it's not a Fleetwood either. The Riv is solid as a rock though.

    I would say that the Riv's styling is more distinctive than the Eldo's. There is nothing else like it, for better or worse -- you either love it or hate it. The Eldo is much more conservative. The trunk is spacious, but oddly shaped. It's very narrow at the back end. It is deep, though. The Eldo's interior, IMO is much better. The Riv's is pretty stark, yet it's very distinctive. Again, you love it or hate it. I like the Riv's interior, but I just like the look of the Cadillac interior better.

    The Riv does not have as many gizmos -- barely adequate stereo that is hard to upgrade due to the depth of the dash, no trip computer. TERRIBLE cupholder/cubbyhole areas for cell phone, etc. However, the CD storage area is easy to take out and makes a great place to install an XM radio. The Riv's front seats are comfortable, the driver's has both heat and lumbar (not sure if the pass seat had those as options), but I prefer the Eldorado's seats. It has actually very good rear seat room for a coupe -- better than the Eldorado. My Riv does not have a sunroof, but it has a TON of headroom.

    I bought mine almost 2 years ago w/38K miles for $7K. I've put on new tires, a water pump, new brakes, new battery (which is vented, under the rear seat, and expensive...), a subwoofer in the trunk, and the XM Radio custom install. It has never left me stranded other than when I needed to jump it before getting the new battery. The only thing wrong w/mine is that the fuel gauge doesn't work accurately. I just use the trip odometer and get gas when I hit 200 miles.

    I say all that to say that other than the reliability issue, the main benefit that the Riv has over the Eldo is the price. You should be able to find one for a few thousand cheaper than an Eldo w/the same year and mileage. I get about 15 MPG in town w/my Concours and I probably get 16-17 w/the Riv. On the hwy, I probably get 22-23 w/my Concours and 25 w/the Riv. The Riv does require premium fuel.

    It's a great car, I'm just ready for a change. My parents are buying mine as a 2nd car. I wouldn't recommend it to them if it wasn't a good car. If you can find one, it makes a great daily driver.
    NOW
    '04 Escalade EXT (8/07-?)
    '70 Grand Prix Model J (4/09-?)
    '95 Roadmaster Estate (4/10-?)
    '94 Roadmaster Estate (5/10-?)
    '08 DTS Platinum (2/11-?)
    '97 Riviera S/C ('06-08 and 8/11-?)
    '85 Toronado Caliente (4/14-?)

    PAST
    '92 Toronado ('95-99)
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    '02 Avalanche North Face ('02-04)
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    '00 Eldorado ETC ('08-11)
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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by devilleconcours100 View Post
    I've been thinking about a sporty yet luxurious American car that I can use for commuting, without worrying about reliability or fuel economy. I'd love to have a Seville or Eldorado, but it seems like that the 95-99 Buick Riviera combines the best qualities of the Eldorado with the reliability of a Buick 3.8. The styling isn't quite as distinctive, but I can live with it.

    Opinions, Dave.
    Check out this website, carsurvey.org, opinions of actual owners.

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    I've been considering a riviera myself, I prefer the 80 -85 myself,I like the squarish lines better,if you need one for being reliable though I can see going as new as possible,mine would be a second fun car.Does anyone know if the
    80's ones ever had leather interior with a consule?.

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    The '79-85 was a beautiful design (as were the Toronado & Eldorado). My parents had an '83 Toronado when I was growing up, which was very nice.

    That gen Riv Turbo/S-Type had bucket seats with a small console between the seats, but it wasn't a full length console and there wasn't a floor shifter. I think the Eldo and Toro had similar layouts in the Touring Coupe and Caliente editions.
    NOW
    '04 Escalade EXT (8/07-?)
    '70 Grand Prix Model J (4/09-?)
    '95 Roadmaster Estate (4/10-?)
    '94 Roadmaster Estate (5/10-?)
    '08 DTS Platinum (2/11-?)
    '97 Riviera S/C ('06-08 and 8/11-?)
    '85 Toronado Caliente (4/14-?)

    PAST
    '92 Toronado ('95-99)
    '99 Grand Prix GTP ('99-02)
    '02 Avalanche North Face ('02-04)
    '93 Roadmaster ('04-07)
    '04 Avalanche Z71 ('04-07)
    '00 Eldorado ETC ('08-11)
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    '71-72 Riviera
    '86-91 M-B 560SEC

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    I always liked the 79-85 E-Body (I've still got a 81 Seville, which was basically a 4 door version of the E-Body), but for a daily driver, I'll be looking for something along the lines of a 95-99 Riv. I would really prefer a non-supercharged model, which I understand was only available in 95-96, and was an rare model. I don't want the SC because of the possibility of expensive future repairs, but if I could find a well maintained SC Riviera, in the right color, I'd take it. I need something for a "commuter" car, but I still want something with a little "class", and that I wouldn't mind driving on a dinner date.

    Dave

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    creeker is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by devilleconcours100 View Post
    I always liked the 79-85 E-Body (I've still got a 81 Seville, which was basically a 4 door version of the E-Body), but for a daily driver, I'll be looking for something along the lines of a 95-99 Riv. I would really prefer a non-supercharged model, which I understand was only available in 95-96, and was an rare model. I don't want the SC because of the possibility of expensive future repairs, but if I could find a well maintained SC Riviera, in the right color, I'd take it. I need something for a "commuter" car, but I still want something with a little "class", and that I wouldn't mind driving on a dinner date.

    Dave

    Did the 79-85 have the S/C?. (good to know 79 is the same also,my car book didn't show a 79 picture).

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    In all honesty as a former Cadillac owner (a '98 Deville led me to buy a Lincoln), this is a great alternative to a N* powered car and is much more modifiable plus its RWD. This is my wifes '98 Mark VIII which currently has 24k original miles. These have a 280hp DOHC 4.6 much like the N* but they have no issues with headgaskets and the average guy can work on them. This is a base model but I gave it the LSC treatment with LSC moldings plus I painted the grill body color. Awesome cars, great power and reliability. We already put over 8k miles on it and have had no problems with it.



    This is my third DOHC Ford powered car and not the last. I currently have a '99 Vert Cobra and had a '95 Mark VIII.




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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by creeker View Post
    Did the 79-85 have the S/C?. (good to know 79 is the same also,my car book didn't show a 79 picture).
    There was a Turbo 6 in the '79-85 (during some but maybe not all years) -- but it was nothing like the 3800 S/C (either Series 1 or 2) in terms of performance. However, I think it had more HP than the V8s of the time.

    I don't think that engine was available in the Toro or the Eldo.
    NOW
    '04 Escalade EXT (8/07-?)
    '70 Grand Prix Model J (4/09-?)
    '95 Roadmaster Estate (4/10-?)
    '94 Roadmaster Estate (5/10-?)
    '08 DTS Platinum (2/11-?)
    '97 Riviera S/C ('06-08 and 8/11-?)
    '85 Toronado Caliente (4/14-?)

    PAST
    '92 Toronado ('95-99)
    '99 Grand Prix GTP ('99-02)
    '02 Avalanche North Face ('02-04)
    '93 Roadmaster ('04-07)
    '04 Avalanche Z71 ('04-07)
    '00 Eldorado ETC ('08-11)
    '95 Deville Concours ('07-11)

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    '71-72 Riviera
    '86-91 M-B 560SEC

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by creeker View Post
    Did the 79-85 have the S/C?. (good to know 79 is the same also,my car book didn't show a 79 picture).
    Anymore, color is the biggest issue I have w/finding Rivs. Mine is the tan/champagne color, which is acceptable, but not preferred, IMO. And those are about all I seem to find. (There's one on eBay now, but mine is in better shape.) Mileage is the other main issue. It's getting harder and harder to find one w/under 100K, much less 75K.

    I wouldn't worry about the S/C. As long as it's been serviced, and has a good belt. I put 50K miles on my GTP in under 3 years and never had a problem other than having it serviced once. And my Riv's S/C was just checked over and the dealer said it didn't need servicing again (it had been done once a few years ago).

    Far and away, most of the people that bought these new were "older" in demographic...I doubt they were drag racing like the GP crowd.
    NOW
    '04 Escalade EXT (8/07-?)
    '70 Grand Prix Model J (4/09-?)
    '95 Roadmaster Estate (4/10-?)
    '94 Roadmaster Estate (5/10-?)
    '08 DTS Platinum (2/11-?)
    '97 Riviera S/C ('06-08 and 8/11-?)
    '85 Toronado Caliente (4/14-?)

    PAST
    '92 Toronado ('95-99)
    '99 Grand Prix GTP ('99-02)
    '02 Avalanche North Face ('02-04)
    '93 Roadmaster ('04-07)
    '04 Avalanche Z71 ('04-07)
    '00 Eldorado ETC ('08-11)
    '95 Deville Concours ('07-11)

    NEXT
    '71-72 Riviera
    '86-91 M-B 560SEC

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Destroyer -- is there any way to get rid of the rear window seal pucker w/o replacing the window? (From what I've read, that's the only fix and it's $$$$.) My '92 Toronado did that and it drove me crazy.

    Although headroom in the Mark VIII has been more of a hinderance to my purchasing one. They are beautiful though -- if I found a '96 LSC w/the HIDs, I might have to get a spinal column reduction or something to comfortably fit into one (or at least shave my head so my hair doesn't hit the headliner).
    NOW
    '04 Escalade EXT (8/07-?)
    '70 Grand Prix Model J (4/09-?)
    '95 Roadmaster Estate (4/10-?)
    '94 Roadmaster Estate (5/10-?)
    '08 DTS Platinum (2/11-?)
    '97 Riviera S/C ('06-08 and 8/11-?)
    '85 Toronado Caliente (4/14-?)

    PAST
    '92 Toronado ('95-99)
    '99 Grand Prix GTP ('99-02)
    '02 Avalanche North Face ('02-04)
    '93 Roadmaster ('04-07)
    '04 Avalanche Z71 ('04-07)
    '00 Eldorado ETC ('08-11)
    '95 Deville Concours ('07-11)

    NEXT
    '71-72 Riviera
    '86-91 M-B 560SEC

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    And to the OP, regarding your 90% question -- I would definitely say yes. I would also say they were equal if you could deal w/90% of the performance of the N* w/the S/C engine. Since I bought my Concours, I've really gotten to like the N* (rolling the dice, yes, I know...).

    If you are considering, and in fact, preferring the non-S/C engine -- then I would say yes, they're equal for what you're looking for. The biggest difference at that point is whether or not you like the interior.
    NOW
    '04 Escalade EXT (8/07-?)
    '70 Grand Prix Model J (4/09-?)
    '95 Roadmaster Estate (4/10-?)
    '94 Roadmaster Estate (5/10-?)
    '08 DTS Platinum (2/11-?)
    '97 Riviera S/C ('06-08 and 8/11-?)
    '85 Toronado Caliente (4/14-?)

    PAST
    '92 Toronado ('95-99)
    '99 Grand Prix GTP ('99-02)
    '02 Avalanche North Face ('02-04)
    '93 Roadmaster ('04-07)
    '04 Avalanche Z71 ('04-07)
    '00 Eldorado ETC ('08-11)
    '95 Deville Concours ('07-11)

    NEXT
    '71-72 Riviera
    '86-91 M-B 560SEC

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    Well, I'm not crazy about the interior of the Riv (I prefer the rich trimmings and pure luxury of the Eldorado), I can live with it. With regards to a Mark VIII, I would love to have one, but what I have overheard about the Mark VIII, especiallly the Gen 2 models, are hard to get parts for, and have some quite expensive hangups (HID headlights, 4 Wheel Air Suspension, Electronics gremlins), and the fuel economy isn't much better than my Town Car. But, I've seen some examples that were clean for very cheap, so I guess it is worth discussing, also. Which do you guys think is the better value, the Mark VIII or Eldorado?

    Dave

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    Re: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?

    I see a lot of sagging Lincolns. Sort of like trading suspension problems for HG problems IMO. I have heard positive things about the Riv S/C. It worked well in the Park Ave too.

    My 82 year old neighbor has a last year made LSC (1998?), black on black, with under 9K miles on it that he bought new. That car still catches my eye when he takes it out for a spin. It does not sag...

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