1965 Buick Riviera

Owner Insight: 

I purchased the car, sight unseen from a husband and wife in Illinois; gentleman by the name of Bill Parker.  I had every intention of flying up to view the car, but after speaking to Mr. Parker a few times I realized this man was as honest as the day is long.  This was back in mid September of 2012.  I had the car delivered to the local DMV parking lot where I registered the car, installed the license plate and drove away.  The next day I delivered the car to a shop in my home state of Florida.  After months of restoration I sent photos to Mr. Parker and followed up with a phone call, it was good to speak to Bill who was excited to receive the car update.  The restoration (rest-o-mod) process continued, again months later I called to share further news with Mr. Parker…I was shocked to find out that he had passed away.  Apparently the car was sold to help pay medical bills.  Some things are meant to be; I believe that I was meant to connect with Mr. Parker.  In current times the car is at Fantomworks in Norfolk where the final restoration phase is close to completion.  Among other improvements is the replacement of the LS1 with a LS3 High Performance engine.  Dan and the Fantomworks team have been great to work with.  I particularly    have enjoyed my friendship with “Dramatic Dan”; always ready to share with me in great detail where I fell off the turnip truck and according to Dan hit my head.  All kidding aside, Dan is a quality man who insists on quality work.  In closing, I am certain, that when Norene (wife) and I will take the Riviera on a road trip in rural central Florida searching for a new beer stop (that will inevitably have the name “Gator” in its restaurant name) Bill Parker will be smiling.

–Donnie M.

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The Riviera was introduced on October 4, 1962, as a 1963 model, with the 325 hp (242 kW) 401 cu in (6.6 l) “Nailhead” V-8 as the only available engine, fitted with dual exhaust as standard equipment, and the turbine drive the only transmission, at a base price of $4,333; typical delivered prices with options ran upwards of $5,000.

With the same power as the larger Buicks and less weight, the Riviera had sparkling all-around performance: Motor Trend found it capable of running 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 8 seconds or less, the standing quarter mile in about 16 seconds, and an observed top speed of 115 miles per hour (185 km/h). Fuel economy was a meager 13.2 miles per US gallon (17.8 L/100 km; 15.9 mpg-imp). Front leg room was 40.1 inches.

Inside, the Riviera featured a four-place cabin with front bucket seats separated by a center console with floor shifter and storage compartment that was built into the instrument panel, and bucket-style seats in the rear. Upholstery choices included all-vinyl, cloth and vinyl, or optional leather. A deluxe interior option included real walnut inserts on the doors and below the rear side windows. Popular extra-cost options included a tilt steering wheel, power windows, power driver’s seat, air conditioning, a remote-controlled side view mirror, and white sidewall tires.

Changes for 1965 included the introduction of the “Gran Sport” option, which included the dual-quad Super Wildcat 425 V8, a numerically higher 3.42 axle ratio, and stiffer, heavy-duty suspension. The stock dual exhaust pipes were increased from 2.0 inches (51 mm) to 2.25 inches (57 mm) inside diameter and had fewer turns to reduce backpressure. The 401 cu in (6.6 l) V8 returned as the standard Riviera engine and the Super Turbine 400 transmission now had a variable pitch torque converter like the old twin turbine Dynaflow had two years before. Externally, the headlamps were concealed behind clamshell doors in the leading edges of each fender, as in the original design. Further back, the non-functional side scoops between the doors and rear wheel arches were removed, and the taillights were moved from the body into the rear bumper. A vinyl roof became available as an option, initially offered only in black, and the tilt steering wheel optional in previous years was now standard equipment.

The 1963–1965 Riviera met with approval from all quarters, and has since earned Milestone status from the Milestone Car Society. Jaguar founder and designer Sir William Lyons said that Mitchell had done “a very wonderful job,” and Sergio Pininfarina declared it “one of the most beautiful American cars ever built; it has marked a very impressive return to simplicity of American car design.” At its debut at the Paris Auto Show, Raymond Loewy said the Riviera was the handsomest American production car—apart from his own Studebaker Avanti, that is, the Riviera’s only real competition for 1963. The first-generation Riviera is considered a styling landmark, and is quite collectible today.

Read more about Rivieras here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Riviera