Northstar-powered 1998 Buick Riviera prototype - Click above for high-res image gallery
As we approach the big SEMA show in Las Vegas next week, it's time to look back at a previous star of the show. Sometime back in the mid-80s the decision was made that Buick would abandon V8 engines and instead be the home of the V6. Even for top models like Riviera and Park Avenue, turbocharged and supercharged versions of the long-lived 3.8-liter V6 would serve propulsive duties. Needless to say, not everyone in the bowels of the Warren Tech Center agreed with this approach.
In 1998 a group of GM engineers felt the Riviera should be powered by no fewer than eight cylinders and knew full well it was possible. The Riv of that era shared its platform with other models like the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Aurora, which of course were powered by the still contemporary Northstar V8. A single Northstar Riviera example was built as concept and trotted out at the 1998 SEMA Show.
Upper management did not agree with the premise and only a year later the whole Riviera program was euthanized. Somehow, that one V8 powered Riv survived and managed to get sold outside of GM on a salvage title. If the styling of that last Riviera doesn't give you convulsions, the car only has 10,200 miles on it and the Buy It Now price is $20K. The current bid of $3,550 hasn't yet hit the reserve so it's anyone's guess what this will go for – if it goes at all.