GM engineers built a one-off Buick tire shredder

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

More than two decades ago, engineers at General Motors set out to create the personal luxury car that Buick truly deserves. They took a Northstar V8 from Cadillac and stuffed it into it Buick Riviera front wheel drive car. The car was supposed to be the future of the coupe, but it ended up becoming one of the last outgoing cars.

do you remember Buick Riviera? No no who – which Riviera, but one of the last breaths of death personal luxury cars from General Motors. In the 1990s, a variety of manufacturers were still catering to a dwindling market of buyers who wanted luxury cars, but with a two-door flavor. General Motors was entering the market from multiple angles with vehicles from a number of its brands. Buick went on the racket for the general with Riviera.

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

The eighth generation Riviera hit the road in 1995 for some tough competition. Cadillac has the Eldorado, BMW has the 8-Series and Lincoln has the Mark VIII.

Buick had plenty of sensual exterior styling and a lavish interior.

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

It’s even equipped with Buick’s 3.8-liter V6 that produces a respectable 205 hp when naturally aspirated and up to 240 hp when supercharged. This is a coupe that sprinted to 60 mph in under seven seconds and could reach a 30 mpg range on the highway.

Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to getting butts seats. according to The Riviera Owners Association, Buick moved more than 41,000 of them in 1995 before sales dropped to 18,000 the following year. Sales will never come close to the 1995 figure.

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

In 1998, a group of General Motors engineers felt that what the Riviera needed was more power. How will you get more power? More cylinders and more displacement, of course!

According to Old Mecum Auctions, engineers took the Northstar V8 from Cadillac, polished it, I dropped it in the engine compartment of the Riviera.

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

While the Rivera never got a factory V8, fellow G-platformers like the Oldsmobile Aurora and Cadillac Seville did. Not surprisingly, the mover seems right at home on the Riviera. Assuming the team chose the more powerful L37 Northstar, we’re talking about a 4.6-liter V8 that delivers 300 horsepower to the front wheels. This is more than enough to turn rubber into smoke and noise.

Then engineers gave the car a teal paint and one-off Budnik wheels. The final product was a prototype of the Riviera’s potential future and was shipped to SEMA in hopes of convincing GM brass that the Riviera really needed a V8 option. It was a $150,000 bet on the future of the Riviera.

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

Unfortunately, not only did the prototype fail to convince GM that it needed a V8, But the Riviera died only a year later in 1999. As noted by the General Motors Heritage Center At Micom 2009 AuctionNot only was the prototype original, but it was also another V8 Riviera, interval.

Image of the article titled General Motors Building Engineers One Time Buick Tire Shredder

Photo: Lee Auctions

What happened to the car after Sima exhibition? Not much is known about his whereabouts since then. figured on ebay and mecom in 2009then shuffled away until it appeared on Mecum again in 2015. It seems to have disappeared Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything about it. The car has a production PIN, so it can be driven like nothing else. Hopefully there is someone out there who still enjoys it.

If you know where this car is, email me at mstreeter@jalopnik.com. I’d like to know what happened to her!

hat tip to GM FWD Classic Assembly!