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Projects 64 Riviera Build (pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Ol Six Shooter, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Hello all, so here's my first thread. I hope you enjoy this project as much as I will, and I hope to garner any advice and knowledge you have along the way.

    So as the title states, this thread, and my first real project is a 1964 Buick Riviera. (Pictures to come soon). It is a recent acquisition, and I had to buy it in proxy, but I will have eyes and hands on it in a day or two.
    Here's the scoop;
    Two owners before me. Originally came with the Super Wildcat, dual-carb option. First owners wife managed to blow the motor, and so it was swapped with the standard 425. Some years later it came to the gent I bought it from. He hadn't done anything to it, and it sat for some time. Just before he sold it, he started to take the trim off in prep for body work and paint.

    Condition of the car: Still wearing the heavily worn, original white paint. Rust isn't too bad all things considered. There's some at the corners of the doors, and the rear fenders. The worst appears to be at the cowling. I'm not too nervous about it so long as it hasn't touched the frame underneath.
    The windshield is cracked (anybody know where to get one?). The upholstery, namely the drivers seat and carpet, needs to be redone. Motor seems to run strong, but there's a small tranny leak somewhere. Otherwise mechanically sound. Not too shabby overall as far as I'm concerned.
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    The first order of business will be removing the rust, and rattle-canning (gasp!) to prevent any further rust until I can actually make the repairs.

    Oh, and a merry belated Christmas, and happy New Years!
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
  2. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,518

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    Congrats - look forward to pics and details on your project. yep, stop the rust for now, get safety and electrical done then mechanicals and cosmetics
     
  3. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Thank you. I just got a hold of it tonight, but it's too dark for good pictures. She fired up though! Expect an update tomorrow.
     
  4. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Got a little more in depth with the car and plenty of pictures. Rust in the trunk isn't too bad really. A few pin holes, and then two at the back of the wheel wells, but it's all coming off. The places with rust that I think might be troublesome are around the front and rear windows, a small part of the passengers rear quarter, and the rear lip that would normally be hidden by the bumper. There's a few spots were someone tried to do some bondo work, but that will be removed and done properly with real metalwork. The interior isn't too rough. The drivers seat is torn, and the rear windows don't work. The veneer is long gone. Carpet is a little ratty, but I'll be peeling that out to get to the floor boards anyways. It appears to have some aftermarket speakers installed, but they look to be something the original owner likely did.
    Almost all the trim is already off the car and sitting to the side. The front bumper looks good, but the back one has a few dings and the chrome is peeling in places.

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    And then the beating heart. Sure isn't pretty right now, but it runs.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
    jakespeed63 likes this.

  5. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Got the passenger and rear seats out. The seat frames and floor underneath were in worse shape than I hoped for. I wasn't expecting much better, but definitely hoping.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Happy New Years! Stay classy my fellow hokeys.
    [​IMG]

    It will be some time before I get to come back home and work on her again. Hopefully then I can pull the motor out, pull the body off the frame, and send it to be sand blasted. I'll be lurking on here until then.
     
  7. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,336

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Neat car Shooter,
    I have always thought those cars were strange. It's like they are from the future not just ahead of their time but really from the future. If I did not know about 'em I would date them to around 1972. They were way ahead of the times.

    I do not know what kind of skills you have or resources at your disposal. That car looks like a lot of work. When I was a few years younger than you I took my first old vehicle apart, a 1951 Chevrolet truck. I was going to do a full restoration. It never got put back together. I think about that truck often and what I should have done instead of what I did. The truth was it was beyond me at the time. It was way way more than I could chew.

    My advice. If the car is solid enough to drive with out falling apart, do simple stuff like clean it up, wire brush and paint the floor, tune it up fix the leak and drive it while you fix it. Build your skills up, research it and do not take so far down it will take months just to put it back together. Go slow and enjoy it.
    Good luck
     
    flynbrian48 likes this.
  8. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,824

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Word: You've got a pretty decent starter project there. Depending on your skill set, and support network (Dad, uncles, buddies, et al) I'd be very cautious about pulling the the thing completely apart. F1 put it very well, and while I've never abandoned a car I've turned into a pile, I have sold projects that I got tired of working on. Clean it up. Get it running as well as you can, detailed as well as you can, with as decent a paint job (prep it yourself and drive it to Earl Schieb if you can't paint) WITHOUT pulling the engine and especially not separating body and frame. There is nothing more disheartening than getting in over your head and ruining a nice car.

    Maybe this isn't your first project, or maybe is, but a frame off build of as complicated and big a car as that Riviera is a project that would make experienced builders think twice. I know I'm not separating the body and frame on my '63, I want to finish and drive the car in my lifetime, and I've got lots of frame up builds in my curriculum vitae.

    Be careful out there...
     
  9. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Thank you gentleman, I appreciate the advice.
    I have done a few small projects before this, but certainly nothing this in depth or of this scale. However, that is precisely the reason I bought the car. As much as I love cruising around in some old school cool, I love working on it as much or more.

    And after looking at the car in greater detail, I would not have been able to do anything "quick" and kept it on the road for long. I would not be able to maintain window seals with the rust on the frame. The floor pans would be gone soon, as would the trunk.

    Mechanically, the transmission needs to be rebuilt to say the least. She makes some funny noises. So I would be dropping it anyways. I really enjoy engine rebuilds, so I wanted to go back through the engine anyways and clean it up.

    On time consumption, that's a valid concern, but I would consider myself pretty patient. I searched for years just to find a car nearby in a price and condition I considered acceptable. A few more will fly by now that I have the car and can actually work on it.
     
  10. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Rivieras are beautiful cars. Congratulations in your acquisition and future endeavors. Keep us posted with your progress!


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  11. barfers
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Posts: 382

    barfers
    Member
    from Florida

    love them rivis
     
  12. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,080

    alchemy
    Member

    You will find rust in those windshield and back window troughs. All 60's GM products with the rust creeping out of the stainless will hold bigger rust under there. It's the nature of those beasts. They need a complete strip and sandblast, and seal with lots of good paint to prevent more rust.

    I've got a similar car that will get the complete teardown after I finish a couple more old Fords.
     
  13. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    That's exactly what I discovered and will be doing.
     
  14. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Ordered a new windshield, it should arrive in a few weeks. It will be sitting for a while, but until I get back home again, getting all the parts ready is all I can do. Now since I'm essentially back to the planning stage at the moment, there is a few things I would like y'alls opinion or thoughts on.

    • I'd really like to give it a different stance. Most of the Riv's you see sit stock or lowered, they look nice, but I want something different. I want to raise the rear end up a little bit, late 60's early 70's style. Other than getting some bigger wheels and tires in the rear, what suspension products or modifications are out there you think I could use?

    • Has anyone seen someone put 65 headlights in a 63 or 64? I'm not sure I want to do it, but I'm curious, and so far my searches are fruitless.

    Also, if you have any ideas or thoughts for the engine and engine bay, please share them. Although that will likely be done at the end of this project, I'm curious to hear what suggestions you might have.
     
  15. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,080

    alchemy
    Member

    If you want "early 70's style" then you will want some authentic air shocks. Not air bags, but air shocks. That's what all the dudes who scooped the loop around here used back then. Or long shackles, but I don't think those would work too well with coil springs. Not that some of the dirtballs wouldn't have tried them.

    Note: I typed the above loaded with sarcasm. I personally do not think a jacked up back end on a 60's Riviera is a good look, and cannot condone such practices. o_O
     
  16. JohnnyGretsch
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 90

    JohnnyGretsch
    Member



      • I don't know how good a 70's style jacked rear end would look on a Riv, but what about a mild rake, ala this Galaxie? Put a set of Astros and skinny triple line white walls on and you've got a sweet looking mid-60's era Custom.
     

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  17. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,080

    alchemy
    Member

    That Ford is stock in the back and lowered in the front. Perfect. But if it was jacked up higher in the back it would look just wrong to me, IMHO.

    I don't know why I care too much about this Riviera. I own a '67 Chevelle which has kinda the same shape as this Riv. I was the only kid in my high school who lowered his car, while all the other guys were jacking them up and running 50 series white lettered tires on the back. I guess every fad has to come back around sooner or later. It's time for the rear tires to stand wide and proud again. ;)
     
  18. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,824

    flynbrian48
    Member

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1420565586.792829.jpg a

    A '65 grill will not fit earlier front ends without surgery. The '65 clamshell lights will not fit earlier fenders, so to make it look factory, you need the complete front clip. I'm simply putting headlights behind the park lamp covers in my '63.


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  19. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,824

    flynbrian48
    Member

    And, jacking up the back end looked dumb then. And dumber now,


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  20. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Okay then, I suppose I haven't seen any that way for a reason, and thank you all for your comments. I do like the look of that mild take on the ford. So here's my next question. On a heavy car like the riv, would there be clearance issues when lowering it at all, and dealing with body roll? Or would it be best to just keep it stock on the suspension, and use some slightly larger wheels and tires in the rear to give it the rake?

    Thank you for the information on the headlights flyn. I was planning on just putting them behind the grill as well, but was curious if it could be done.
     
  21. X2 you need the full front clip to put 65 front on 63-64 body. I had this combo on a car I bought approx 12 years ago, that headlight motor is a common bad part and very hard to find.

    Overall your car has a lot of the common areas for problems. Just be prepared to weld in some new metal to replace what is rusted too bad. Then seal real good.

    Front susp is easy to just cut coils and lower a bit. Rear has coils also, but pigtailed so not as easy to just cut and put back in. Rivieras need lower, not taller. Astro Supreme are the classic wheel choice and look great on Rivi's. Assuming you have near stock wheels and tires, no rubbing issues. I ran 235/75R15 on back and I think 215/75R15 on the front, with stock steel wheels. Mine was quite low and I only had probelms with rubbing the floorpan on high center driveways.

    Good that you have a 64 and the ST400. Even though the sifter indicates D and L, it is 3 speeds like any turbo 400. 63 has the infamous Dynaslow, the ST400 is way better. Mostly the same as the basic T400, just has a one-year valve body that is unique, rest of it is basically same as T400.
     
  22. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,080

    alchemy
    Member

    In may family we have had a few mid 60's GM products that were lowered. On the front, just cut a coil and buy the correct size tire with the correct offset wheel, and you won't have clearance problems. And, the only way you will find those correct sizes is to find a car with the exact same amount of lowering, or get out your tape measure and start experimenting. Use your present tires and see how they fit, and adjust from there.
     
  23. Ol Six Shooter
    Joined: Dec 7, 2014
    Posts: 20

    Ol Six Shooter

    Hey all, its been a few years, and I finally have a little time to work on it.

    Had a cracked fuel hose, and once that was replaced, it sucked fuel just fine. Then it seemed the thermostat was froze, cleaned it out, and now opens and flows. It still seems to be running a little hot though, so I will be testing that again tomorrow. Its been a pretty big relief that it would still start up.

    I know it's not the original engine, if the previous owner was to be believed. I'm not quite sure exactly what it is though, without getting to the bellhoising. The code next to the valley isn't one I can seem to find. Any ideas for "8K110585*"
    The last digit "*" looks like a "b" with the top crossed like a "T".
     

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