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Projects 1964 Buick Riviera Project ~ From Start to Finish

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by DirtyDan, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. DirtyDan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2005
    Posts: 857

    DirtyDan
    Member

    I have to admit, I'm a bit of a sucker for before/after type makeover shows whether it be a house remodel or some fat ugly chick on extreme makeover who is turned into a supermodel w/ more plastic surgury than Michael Jackson. So as you might figure, I love to see peoples projects and the progress they accomplish and it is great when they post pics along the way. The only problem is, sometimes I loose track over time or the builder puts the project on hold or forgets to post the final product. So instead of posting pics as I went, I decided to wait until I had the final product.

    ..... So here goes....

    It was a little less than a year ago when I picked up this 64 Rivi from the local Craigslist classifieds. I purchased it from the grandson of the original owner who had big plans to restore the car and never quite got past rebuilding the engine. It was cheap and it was solid, but it sure was ugly. Paint was faded badly and the interior was redone badly sometime in the 70's. Yes those are cheapy autozone wire hubcaps and riveted on rubber molding going down both sides.

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    Dig the felt covered dash!

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    I figured I could cut the coils and throw on a set of supremes and call it done and have a nice little driver and maybe even sell it down the road and try to make a buck on it to fund my 36 project.

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    So that's what I did... heck it even made a brief appearance in the classifieds here. Well.... it didn't sell so I just drove it more and really started liking the idea of having a "late model" driver. But not being able to leave well enough alone I started polishing on that old paint and trying to bring it back to life with not much luck. It was a bad paint job when it was put on back in the day, and it was still a bad paint job no matter how much polishing I did. So I decided to look into getting the car painted. At first I figured I could do a cheapy "hot rod flats" paint job on it since the satin blue was kinda growing on me. But I happened to stop by a local guy who does paint work for alot of guys in the area and I showed him the car to get his opinion. It just so happened that he had an opening and work was slow this winter and we made a deal to redo the car. I kicked around the idea of keeping it blue but when we realized how straight the body was it had to be black!
    But... you cant put slick black over old paint...... so off it goes!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  2. DirtyDan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2005
    Posts: 857

    DirtyDan
    Member

    We were very pleased to find virtually no rust, rot or damage anywhere on the car. It was originally from Arizona and it showed once the paint was off. You can see in the layers of paint that it was originally dark blue with one repaint of a lighter metallic blue.

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    Several coats of high build primer

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    Lots of hours of block sanding

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    Everything Jammed in black...

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    Shot the final coats a week later, and after nearly 40 hrs of sanding and polishing later... the car is black, and boy it was slick.

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  3. DirtyDan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2005
    Posts: 857

    DirtyDan
    Member

    While the car was in the body shop, I decided to go ahead and redo the complete interior. I decided to keep it all stock and keep the original silver color. I ordered up a set of covers and new foam from Clarks Corvair and decided to try to do it all myself. It was a bit of a challenge, but by the time I got to the last seat I felt like a pro. I had to fix a few broken springs and replace all the burlap as well.

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    Of course the foam didn't fit worth a damn, so it had to be sculpted w/ a grinder to make it fit.

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    While the interior was out I decided to go ahead and purchase some insulation from "Lobucrod" here on the HAMB. Good stuff and easy to use.

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    Since this pic was taken, I have repaired that ugly steering wheel. It had a ton of cracks, but a tube of PC-7 fixed it right up, along with lots and lots of sanding.

    Also in this pic you can see I replaced that ugly felt covered dash pad. They dont reproduce them, and the one I had reupholstered looked like crap, so I had to buy a complete 65 parts car to score this one and several other parts I needed.

    My parts car:

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  4. DirtyDan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2005
    Posts: 857

    DirtyDan
    Member

    So, its a month or so later and the car looks great and I've been driving the snot out of it, but my cut coils ride like shit and it scrapes on nearly every dip in the highway... and thats a little scary when your going 70mph. I had resisted the urge to air bag the car because everyone said how big of a pain in the ass it is to do. There is not much room up front for shocks, so a lot of guys don't even run them, and nobody makes brackets for the Rivi, so I was a little put off by this. But after a few conversations with "Kustombuilder" here on the Hamb, I decided to go with an Airlift Auto Pilot system and use "shockwave" style front bags with the shock incorporated into the bag. I had plans to drive the car to a show 200+ miles away and I only had 2 weeks to get it done so this was the easiest way to solve my ride height issues. And since my 36 was tore apart in my dad's more well equipped shop, I had to do this one in my grungy 2 car w/ just jack stands and hand tools... no fancy lift or air tools on this one :mad:

    I have gone into detail on this part of the build for the guys who want to know how to air bag their Rivi's... so bear with all the pics and details.

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    I started w/ the front and it was simple... just remove the coil/shock, and replace with the air spring.

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    Had to drill a hole in the spring pocket for the air line... I used lots of rubber grommets and lots of insulated hold downs for the airline.

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
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  5. DirtyDan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2005
    Posts: 857

    DirtyDan
    Member

    I then moved on to the back, which was just a bit trickier since I just bought some generic bag brackets and hoped they were the right size. They turned out pretty close, but if i did it again I would make them 1" taller top and bottom.

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    Since there was already a stud on the top of the spring pocket, I simply welded a nut to the top bracket and screwed it on to the stud.

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    The rears will be bolted through the bottom of the trailing arm and later tack welded on.

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    Looks like I'll only be limited by the frame on how low to go...

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    I then mounted the compressor, tank, valves and computer to a piece of laminated wood that I covered in thick vinyl.

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    So with all the air line run and all the wiring hooked up, I set the car on the ground (literally since there was on air in the system), and turned the key on and it came to life. I actually hooked everything up right on the first try!

    Setting this up was incredibly simple... actually the complete install was really simple. We had a few problems w/ some wrong fittings, but we got everything sorted out in time for my trip to KC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  6. BettyRumble
    Joined: Sep 9, 2008
    Posts: 64

    BettyRumble
    Member
    from Tennessee

    Everything looks better lower. Looks good.
     
  7. DirtyDan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2005
    Posts: 857

    DirtyDan
    Member

    With the car being finished just in the nic of time, I managed to drive it 600 miles over Labor day weekend with out a single problem.

    So since I promised I would include the finished product... Here are some pics I shot of the finished car earlier this week in all it's frame laying glory.

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  8. Damn- that's beautiful!!
     
  9. Pothole 31A
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 318

    Pothole 31A
    Member

    Those cars a just so nice and the lines are perfect and with just a little work on them it seems like they just are full kustoms with just some basic changes.
     
  10. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,293

    Tony
    Member

    You've just built one of the slickest Riv's i've seen!
    STRAIGHT, SHINY black, silver gut and a slithery stance.....
    DAMN nice looking car you have there......

    Very nicely done!
     
  11. Kustm52
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,982

    Kustm52
    Member

    Damn nice... the only thing that would make it better is a set of cragar 30 spoke wires...
    Makes me want to do something with one of the junky Rivs I've got.
    Brian
     
  12. borndead327
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 1,388

    borndead327
    Member

    holy crap my pants just got tighter
    what size supremes you running?
     
  13. Awesome car. Gonna sell it now?
     
  14. Mootz
    Joined: Jul 20, 2004
    Posts: 945

    Mootz
    Member

    Great post and great transformation. That car is right on the money.
     
  15. LabRat
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,551

    LabRat
    Member

    Supersweet ! .......... Simple yet elegant , well done !
     
  16. TooManyFords
    Joined: May 21, 2008
    Posts: 553

    TooManyFords
    Member
    from Peotone IL

    That is one BEA utiful ride!
     
  17. wow! thats one bad ass rivy.. excellent job on the car ..
     
  18. The car looks awesome! You should paint the front drums black,so it doesn't take away from the look of the wheels. How does it ride?
     
  19. Well done.
    Your photos rock by the way.
     
  20. unibody
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 122

    unibody
    Member

    That is one sweet Riv man, well done!
     
  21. warren1328
    Joined: May 20, 2006
    Posts: 74

    warren1328
    Member

    Great job Dirty. That thing looks brilliant!
    Would love that shape coming out of my shed :)
     
  22. Fraz
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,818

    Fraz
    Member
    from Dixon, MO

    Whatchoo gonna do wif da parts car? I got dibs on suspension components and the rearend....hehehe.
     
  23. BigVinDaddyMac
    Joined: Feb 17, 2008
    Posts: 195

    BigVinDaddyMac
    Member

    Very nice....I would pamper that one with a featherduster.
     
  24. Jerry Nielsen
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 68

    Jerry Nielsen
    Member

    Car looks fabulous.You definitely have an eye for styling and detail.
     
  25. WOW from one part time body man to another that is alot of sheet metal to make straight and you can see yourself in it perfectly. Very nice job on the whole car.
     
  26. 1LOWCHIEF
    Joined: Dec 2, 2003
    Posts: 432

    1LOWCHIEF
    Member

    Wow... the car looks fucking beautiful, and you're no slouch with a camera either. I love the shot with the car in front of the graffiti wall.
     
  27. Just....bitchin'.....feck, if I had it to do again....

    +1 even though I like the look of natural aluminum.
     
  28. Kustom7777
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,171

    Kustom7777
    Member

    i LOVE posts like this,,,,
    you should be proud of that car and all you've accomplished,,
    you made a plan and stuck with it,,the color combination is right on the money,,
    its a pleasure to work on a car with such a clean body, isnt it?,,,,im doing a 61 olds bubbletop (mild 60s kustom) for a customer with a body that is just as clean (9089 orig miles),,not a speck of filler or even a ding,,,,,,,,,beautiful job,,,one of my favorites on the hamb,,honestly
     
  29. Eagletucky
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 726

    Eagletucky
    Member

    Wow, that looks great.

    That Airlift kit is a snap to install, isnt it? Got mine from Kustombuilder as well. I put one of those in my 60 LeSabre last year, havent had one problem with it since.

    Nothing looks better that a slammed black car, nothing.:cool:
     
  30. Congrats on the Rivi...just finishing up my 63...fun suckers to rewire huh? Still working out the kinks in mine...interior lights everywhere, power this, power that...blah blah blah...yours looks killer...nice shots of your ride...especially the one next to the grafitti
     

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