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Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 10:34 a.m.

In browsing around idly looking for both a fun car and a possible Challenge entry for this year, I came across a mid-90's Buick Riviera with the L67 supercharged 3800 V6. It jumped out to me because it's an engine I have a good bit of experience with having redone the top end of the same engine on the Park Avenue Ultra's engine that I pulled as a potential engine for the DMC and it's well within Challenge money range.

However- even though I know that the engine can make pretty decent power, I'm not sure of just how well the rest of the car can be made to perform. The Riviera has the same wheelbase as the Park Avenue, and both are weighty boats at around 3,800lbs (ironically the Riviera is actually a hair LONGER than the PA...).

Can this thing be made to turn decently? I know there are plenty of power upgrades available, but it's the handling that I have serious questions about.

drdisque
drdisque HalfDork
1/25/17 11:17 a.m.

You can stuff quite a bit of tire under them, but gah, the weight and length you can't do much about.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav SuperDork
1/25/17 12:14 p.m.

I know that generation of Riviera just flat out looks good. That's about the extent of my model-specific knowledge.

Hmm, you know, despite being in opposite directions of I-75 from me, maybe you and Jerry should team up for a challenge build.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 12:24 p.m.
eastsidemav wrote: I know that generation of Riviera just flat out looks good. That's about the extent of my model-specific knowledge. Hmm, you know, despite being in opposite directions of I-75 from me, maybe you and Jerry should team up for a challenge build.

I rather like the way they look too- which is a part of why I'm considering it since it would also be something I'd be driving around. Since I expect I'm not going to be truly competitive anyway half of my choosing of a vehicle is how I think it looks. :P

I hadn't seen one up close but lucked out after seeing the listing to notice one in a parking lot while I was shopping and took a closer look at it. It's still a boat of a car, but it looks damn good and I can think of several really fun directions I could go with for a theme with it.

Plus with having the same L67 that is still at the top of my list of swaps for the DMC, I could use it as a test bed for power mods to the L67 before putting it into the DMC.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
1/25/17 12:35 p.m.

Style points if you come in with it looking like this:

Seriously though, I'm really not sure you could ever make an FWD boat like this handle the autocross well.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 12:57 p.m.
jstein77 wrote: Style points if you come in with it looking like this: Seriously though, I'm really not sure you could ever make an FWD boat like this handle the autocross well.

This is a shot in the dark, but I have a feeling I'd have a hard time finding racing tires to fit those rims...

trucke
trucke Dork
1/25/17 1:11 p.m.

I had a '95 Oldsmobile 88 with that sc engine. Yes it makes power, but the chassis was not good for autocross. Also the ABS just sucks. They stay on just a hair too long, like staying on when you want to accelerate out of a corner. That was the worst part about it! Well, it was until I threw piston through the block.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb Dork
1/25/17 1:22 p.m.

I had a 95 riv. It was the nicest car i have owned to eat up highway miles. It rode like a cloud and the seats were amazingly comfortable. Like my favorite recliner. I cant believe i never fell asleep at the wheel. The gauges were nice round ones, gm didnt try to get weird with them. They did add heads up display which i liked. Good power, good acceleration. It looked good too, it was black on black.

The bad news was that it was an aging gm luxury car. Just little things, like switches breaking loose from their bezels, things like that. It wasnt a handling car. It wasnt bad for its size, but its not at home on an autocross course. The rear suspension had coil springs plus factory air shocks. The shocks got rusty qnd leaked and the pump wanted to run all the time. I unhooked the pump because the coil springs were sufficient. The factory pcm has a 105 mph speed limiter, which was disappointing because it felt like there was a LOT left at 104.

Of all the cars ive owned it would be the one i would pick for a crosscountry road trip. I would buy another if i found a solid one at the right time.

EDIT; Dammit now i gotta go hit up craigslist.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
1/25/17 1:26 p.m.

Weren't they the same, mechanically, as the fullsizes?

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 1:40 p.m.
Knurled wrote: Weren't they the same, mechanically, as the fullsizes?

I believe they're pretty close if not identical. As I noted, the Riviera has the same wheelbase as the Park Avenue and is actually a bit longer- I'd be shocked if they weren't as identical as they could make them.

I've done a bit of searching around and it seems there are some tricks to make them handle a bit better, but as noted I wouldn't expect them to be as nimble as something like a Miata on the AX course. Doesn't mean it wouldn't be fun though. Hopefully the seller will eventually get back to me...

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 2:14 p.m.

Aaaaand, of course the car has sold. Will have to keep my eyes out though- I'm increasingly liking the idea of finding something else with an L67 in it to use as a test bed. Pity they never used the engine in any convertibles that I can find...

FooBag
FooBag New Reader
1/25/17 2:29 p.m.

Given that it is a G-body, I'd assume the handling parts from a Bonneville SSEI or GXP would bolt right up. I'd suspect a lot of the GXP's have ended up in junkyards already since they were saddled with the Northstar engine. They had upgraded struts & I think some aluminum components that earlier G-bodies didn't have.

Wxdude10
Wxdude10 Reader
1/25/17 2:33 p.m.

You could always get a Reatta convertible and do a L67 swap. I think Buick had that as a test mule at one point...

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 2:39 p.m.
Wxdude10 wrote: You could always get a Reatta convertible and do a L67 swap. I think Buick had that as a test mule at one point...

Great-looking car, but yikes! According to Wikipedia they made less than 2500 of the convertibles- I don't think I'm finding one for Challenge money (or for what I'd spend on a DD convertible at the moment either...).

penultimeta
penultimeta Reader
1/25/17 2:46 p.m.

The answer is taking the l67, ditching the super charger for turbos, and popping it into a 4th gen f body. I'll go away now.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 3:06 p.m.
penultimeta wrote: The answer is taking the l67, ditching the super charger for turbos, and popping it into a 4th gen f body. I'll go away now.

Thinking about it, wouldn't a blower be a better form of forced induction for AX than a turbo since it's providing boost from the get-go instead of having to spool up like a turbo?

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
1/25/17 3:08 p.m.
Ashyukun wrote:
Wxdude10 wrote: You could always get a Reatta convertible and do a L67 swap. I think Buick had that as a test mule at one point...

Great-looking car, but yikes! According to Wikipedia they made less than 2500 of the convertibles- I don't think I'm finding one for Challenge money (or for what I'd spend on a DD convertible at the moment either...).

Just out of curiosity, I jumped on Atlanta Craigslist and found that there were just two Reatta listings. Here's a nearly perfect convertible, and the owner wants $17,000 for it. Or you could buy two hardtops for $1300, which looks like it could be an interesting Challenge entry.

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
1/25/17 3:22 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt:

Even better if the Reatta still has a functioning CRT...and you reprogram it to play Pong.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/25/17 3:40 p.m.
MadScientistMatt wrote:
Ashyukun wrote:
Wxdude10 wrote: You could always get a Reatta convertible and do a L67 swap. I think Buick had that as a test mule at one point...

Great-looking car, but yikes! According to Wikipedia they made less than 2500 of the convertibles- I don't think I'm finding one for Challenge money (or for what I'd spend on a DD convertible at the moment either...).

Just out of curiosity, I jumped on Atlanta Craigslist and found that there were just two Reatta listings. Here's a nearly perfect convertible, and the owner wants $17,000 for it. Or you could buy two hardtops for $1300, which looks like it could be an interesting Challenge entry.

That convertible looks NICE... SWMBO would love it if I got that (except for the price).

If the hardtops were closer that would be an interesting entry. There is one hardtop near me for Challenge money- but there wouldn't be enough in the budget to be able to do much with it.

penultimeta
penultimeta Reader
1/25/17 7:55 p.m.

In reply to Ashyukun:

Probably. But a stock m90 won't clear the f body firewall. I suppose you could notch it or fab up a different bracket, but why waste forged internals on 2oo something horsepower.

Wxdude10
Wxdude10 Reader
1/25/17 8:49 p.m.

Holden had the supercharged 3.8 in some of the RWD cars in Australia. It had a bent intake on the rear to clear the firewall. There was a prototype 4th gen Firebird with one of those V6's in it. Pontiac did it without punching a whole in the firewall... So, it IS possible...

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
1/26/17 3:37 a.m.

If I was looking for a theme to build a Riviera

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
1/26/17 9:02 a.m.
Wxdude10 wrote: Holden had the supercharged 3.8 in some of the RWD cars in Australia. It had a bent intake on the rear to clear the firewall. There was a prototype 4th gen Firebird with one of those V6's in it. Pontiac did it without punching a whole in the firewall... So, it IS possible...

I've seen pictures of people who have installed them in a longitudinal application as well, but it's usually involved heavily modifying the intake end of the M90. It's something that I'll have to address if I put the L67 into the DMC though I think it has more clearance there than an F-body, but for the Challenge I'd not be looking to do major engine swapping- I'd prefer to get something that already has the L67 and just be modifying it.

pres589
pres589 UberDork
1/26/17 9:26 a.m.

Never done this on anything, but wondering if the double up sway bar trick would work on this platform. Next would be getting rid of the rear air springs if they're still there on whatever Riv gets found and putting proper straight rate springs all around the thing. Then it's adding plenty of tire.

The thing about these motors is how they sound like garbage without a turbo to chop up the exhaust stream. Otherwise there's a lot to like about them, especially the blower cars that didn't get bean counted into bad head gaskets, plastic intakes that like to fail, etc.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
1/26/17 9:34 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/201x-classifieds/pontiac-fiero-3800-sc-swap-1500-nmna/125875/page1/

Link

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