I Bought A 1971 Buick Riviera From Lou Glutz Motors and Barely Lived To Tell This Cautionary Tale

(submitted by Kyle Murphy)   On June 2nd, 2016, I drove by the Lou Glutz used car lot on Highway 99 around 4:30pm, as I had done every week day for about three months. The day only strands out to me because it was the first day they had parked a beautiful 1971 Buick Riviera (a former CC) out front. I immediately turned around and pulled into the dealership. My intent was to ask questions about it, inquire the price, and maybe if I was lucky, I’d get to sit in it. I’m still sitting in it, but it’s been quite the ride. As in, I was taken for a ride.

The man who helped me was very enthusiastic. He told me all kinds of things about the car, like how much work the previous owner had put into it, how new it was on the lot, and how I was the first person to even ask about it seriously. He came out of the office with a single piece of paper; printed on it was a long list of car parts. As we got out to the car, he opened the door and handed me the piece of paper. As I looked down at it and skimmed over some of the spreadsheet information, I noticed right away from the top, in big bold letters: Engine – rebuilt. Transmission – rebuilt. Brakes – replaced. Air conditioning/heating system – replaced. Etc.

As the list went on, I realized that almost everything had been either rebuilt or replaced, except the paint, which needed an obvious touch up, along with a few minor dents. So when I saw that the asking price was $11,900, I wasn’t really surprised, That was what the market value was currently going for these cars. Just as I got to the bottom of the list he turned the key and the thing started right up. Which for me, after driving a 1971 Plymouth Scamp since I was 18, was a huge surprise; not even my car ran that good. I opened up the hood and was impressed by the condition of the engine bay. I was almost completely sold.

At that point we started discussing numbers and values, to which they showed me this piece of paper that said everything had either been repaired or replaced and it was verified by a “professional estimate company.” So I couldn’t get anything off the asking price; how they saw it, it was worth more than what they were asking. At least this was their attitude. So I tried my dad’s old tactic of playing hard to get, taking a night to think it over, hoping to up my chances of getting the price a bit lower.

The next day they salesman gave me a call asking if I had made up my mind, which I was already on the fence, but it was something I felt I needed to have. My father owned a ’64 Skylark when I was a kid; he drove me to school everyday in that thing, tires burning and everything. So the Riviera really was a lot more to me then it might have been for other people. But this is my family’s curse, the love of old hot rods. The salesman gave me this pitch that if I wanted a chance at this Buick, I’d have to act now, because they already had two different people asking about it from other states, willing to pay immediately and have the car shipped to them. I panicked, I rushed to the bank, pulled out my down payment and got it before it was too late.

Of course this was just another tactic used on me to get the car sold. Maybe it was karma for trying to lessen the price, who knows. But I drove the car home, gave her an oil change, and started picking it apart.

(the original Lou Glutz Motors)

I quickly learned after driving it for a week that the engine had in fact not been rebuilt like I was told. Which should have been obvious when I changed the oil, (only about 2 quarts came out of a 5 quart engine). I also figured out that the transmission was in the same condition, almost no oil, with the original seals. When it all dawned on me five days after I had bought it that none of the work that had they had claimed to have been done was actually done, I drove straight to the dealership, with a very bad attitude. They claimed that the condition of the car when they got it checked out with the estimate, and regardless of what they had said to me at the time of the deal (in regards to what work had been done to the vehicle) it didn’t matter because I signed a piece of paper in the contract of any used vehicle that states I bought it “as is”.

This felt like I had been swindled, so I gritted my teeth and drove home. Well about two weeks later I was driving down Highway 99 at about 60 mph when I heard what can only be described as a very loud clunk. So I went to pull into the nearest driveway(rolling at about 10 mph) when I heard the pop, more like a gunshot. And just like that, the car fell the remaining four inches it had of travel straight onto the ground. I couldn’t even get a jack under it.

What had happened was the castle nut that held the lower ball joint together had popped off completely. The “suspension replacement” apparently meant that the suspension was taken apart and a few loops of the coil springs cut to lower it and then put back together. And it must have taken once or twice because the ball joint spindle had zero threads left, the castle nut was smooth on the inside. Meaning the only thing holding my front end together was a single cotter pin. I was furious, I felt as though I had been lied too. I read specifically that the suspension and steering system had been replaced.

This was what opened up an epic can of worms. I got the car up in a lift and that’s when the panic really set in. Nothing had been replaced except the exhaust system, tack welding together from auto zone parts. The carburetor had been upgraded, but installed by a three year old. The stock wheels were taken off, replaced with wheels from a popular tv show. The car was then washed and put on this lot, where I found her.

Where is she today? Everywhere. I drive it everywhere, and when something goes out, I replace it with proper new parts. Because I bought the car to keep, and drive. Treated right, they will last forever, and at least now I have my dream car.

When I took the car back, after the ball joint fell apart, the attitude I got in response for Lou Glutz was dismissive. They didn’t care that the car almost killed me, or my wife. They didn’t care that it was the only car I had to get to work. They didn’t care that I had just spent most my life savings to buy a car that was a complete lemon. When I asked them what I was supposed to do in this situation, they told me to find a better daily driver, and park her. After paying for a car that should run perfectly (or well enough to get me home), a car that should not have to have a multitude of parts replaced. It kills me every month when I have to pay top dollar for it, knowing full well I got ripped of by guys who tricked someone into buying something I loved under such false pretenses.

I wrote this because I hope that if anyone takes the time to hear my story, that they will really think about what you’re buying and especially who you are buying it from. The law in Oregon says that if a used car sold under the assumption that it will last, doesn’t last for three days, you can take the car back and get your money back. Three days, 72 hours, of a money back guarantee. If that cars engine seizes at hour 73, well you bought it “as is”; it’s your problem now. Anytime you buy a car, you can pay to have an independent professional evaluate it and tell you what the car is really worth. Don’t just take it from the dealership, or you will end up like me.


(This is a former CC that I shot on the street before it was sold to Lou Glutz Motors – PN)