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vinnyfl

1963 Riviera Decode Help?

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Can someone help me out decoding a '63 Riviera?

Here is what I have so far:

Vin. #7J1119694

Plate in eng comp. had following info:

Style 63-4747

FB38146 Body

Trim 787

ACC. S7 16 N2 U7

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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4747 = 1963 Riviera

FB, 38,146, out of 40,000. One of the last ones produced

Trim 787 Black cloth with vinyl trim

S7 - Remote control outside rearview mirror

I6 (not 16) Soft Ray tinted glass

N2 - Air conditioning

U7 - Power windows

The only items listed as options on this plate were accomodations to the body that Fisher Body had to make rearward of the firewall. Other options like cornering lights, radio options, etc. were not listed on this plate because they did not require any thing special of the body (clips, holes, tabs, etc.) I've never understood why the tinted glass code is listed.

Ed

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Cool, Vinny!

Say, on that same data plate, what are the numbers/letter in the upper left corner?

I would guess 07A.

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Here's a link to the Buicks.net website that shows you where to find the code number you need in order to be able to tell whether you have a 401 or a 425. 401's have a "production code number" of JT, 425's have a "production code number" of JW. You'll probably need a scraper and a wire brush to remove the gunk that's built up over the years. The engine serial number should match the VIN number on your vehicle.

http://www.buicks.net/shop/reference/engine_ident_where.html

Let us know what you have.

When you identify the other options you have, let us know what they are and we can tell you what the code number for those options are. In 1963, the code numbers are the same numbers that appeared on the window sticker.

Ed

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: vinnyfl</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Jim-- you are correct 07A. What is that?

</div></div>

Body was built the first week (A) of July (07) 1963.

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Jim,

I think that at the next ROA meet you need to do your "Great Carnak" imitation. Most of these guys are wondering just what kind of magic you have up your sleeve. Keep 'em guessing. confused.gif

Ed

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Vinny,

As yours is a late car, there is a better chance that it may have the 425 than if it were an earlier production car. 401 or 425, it is still a Riviera, enjoy!

Take Care,

Tim

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Tim,

I'm just curious as to why you think that a later production model would have a better chance at having a 425 than an earlier one. If you remember correctly, the article that Tom MaCahill did for Mechanics Illustrated in the October 1962 issue was done in a Riv with a 425. Plain silver dash, 120 mph speedometer. That magazine probably hit the homes and the news stands in late September and for the article to make publishing deadlines, the tests would have to have been run in late August or early September. In the article MaCahill even hints of a planned production 4-speed manual transmission which he "can't wait to try." The 425 was apparently available from the beginning.

On the other hand, the decision to make a 425 available must have come fairly late; there is no mention of the 425 in the 1963 Chassis Service Manual. I've also heard that the only place the 425 for 1963 is mentioned in Buicks literature is in the salesman's order booklet.

Does anyone have the straight scoop on this

Vinny,

Have you looked at your production codes yet? From the Fisher Body trim tag, we know your car came with black interior. What color is it now and what color does the trim tag say after PAINT? What other options does it have. If you need a list of possibilities, visit the ROA website. Mind you, the codes for 63 are different than they are for '64 and '65. Between Tim and me, we can tell you most of the option codes from the window stickers for our cars, both of which are very well optioned.

Ed

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: RivNut</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Jim,

I think that at the next ROA meet you need to do your "Great Carnak" imitation. Most of these guys are wondering just what kind of magic you have up your sleeve. Keep 'em guessing. confused.gif

Ed </div></div>

Excuse me!

That's "Carnac the Magnificent", sir!

180px-Carnac.jpg

John

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Ed,

Not uncommon among car companies to trot out the "latest" thing for the ink stained wretches to drive and write about, then it isn't available to the public until late production! Back in the day I doubt that McCahill or David E. Davis ever got their hands on a "production" car for testing, they were usually doctored up "one offs". Hot Rod magazine this month has an article about the top 100 hot rods of all time. They have a picture of the "press" 64 GTO, with a 421 Tri Power substituted in where the 389 should be. I wonder if Jim Cannon has any information on when the 425's started showing up in production Rivs?

Good Question!

Tim

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Hello Jim "Carnac" (Tim, you'll note the spelling, and thank you for the sir)Cannon. What do you think? Does your register have cubic inch info along with the other data?

Ed

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: RivNut</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hello Jim "Carnac" (Tim, you'll note the spelling, and thank you for the sir)Cannon. What do you think? Does your register have cubic inch info along with the other data?

Ed </div></div>

No, Ed, I don't have any info to be able to predict when you might find a 425 in a '63 Riv.

I mainly try to narrow down when specific design details changed on the '63, such as when did the spare tire get moved from the trunk floor mount up to the shelf mount, as it is in all '64 and '65s, or when did they add the "ribbed metal facade appliqué" to the dash. That sort of thing.

Since there was not a complete switch from the 401 to the 425 at a point in time, and then all cars after that point had the 425, it is not something I can predict.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: RivNut</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

On the other hand, the decision to make a 425 available must have come fairly late; there is no mention of the 425 in the 1963 Chassis Service Manual. I've also heard that the only place the 425 for 1963 is mentioned in Buicks literature is in the salesman's order booklet.

Ed</div></div>

Well, according to Buick's 1963 Assembly Manual, dated 6-29-1962, the plan was for all Wildcats and Rivieras to come with the 425 as standard equipment.

There must've been a lot of problems that caused them to so thoroughly back away from that plan.

Darwin Falk

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Darwin,

In Tom McCahill's article in the Oct 62 Mechanics Illustrated he mentions something to the effectof of "he can't wait to drive the Riv with a 4 speed when they come out later." Was MaCahill privy to some information that was in the works but never materialized? Have you ever heard or read anything about production of a Riviera with a 4 speed manual transmission?

Ed

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Hi Ed

I am picking up the car Thursday then I will see what is going on... finally. I will keep you posted.

Thanks for all the help!!

Vin

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: RivNut</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Darwin,

In Tom McCahill's article in the Oct 62 Mechanics Illustrated he mentions something to the effect of "he can't wait to drive the Riv with a 4 speed when they come out later." Was MaCahill privy to some information that was in the works but never materialized? Have you ever heard or read anything about production of a Riviera with a 4 speed manual transmission?

Ed</div></div>

The assembly manual is a treasure trove of information. But it makes no mention of a manual transmission. And Buick's production reports appear to confirm all were made with automatics. But, the assembly manual DOES mention a planned turbocharger for the Riviera (that got cancelled before production). Apparently McCahill wasn't privy to that one.

Darwin Falk

ROA#2077

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Finally received the car. Here is a complete list of the numbers I have.

Odometer and Title list 58k miles. I think this could be accurate as car looks it. But hey, 44 years is a very long time.

VIN # 7J1119694

A07

63-4747 FB38146

787 CC

S7 I6 N2 U7

There is a number on the drivers side inside of fender in engine compartment #1364569, not sure what this number is.

Engine Code: JT778 7J1119694

(I guess someone changed the air cleaner decal to a 'Wildcat 465') Kinda disappointed because I was expecting a 'JW' here but it's still a Riv!!

Overall the car is excellent, chrome and all trim exterior and interior is like new, car was repainted a light metallic blue 10 years ago. But looks really nice.

Interior is near perfect other that 2 front seats are torn. A/C is not cold.

I plan to restore back to original color and get it all back to showroom condition.

You guys have been a big help answering my questions. Thanks!

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401/425, there's not that much difference in what you actually feel behind the wheel. Your car is also equipped with the dynaflow transmission, which is great for cruising but not much in the high performance department; plus if you can control the leakage, the dynaflow will run forever. Not really sure about the long number you quoted, perhaps Jim Cannon would have a better clue.

I'd go with 158,000; it's almost unreal to think that any car would be driven less than 1,400 miles per year when the best lease you can get on a new one allows for 1,500 miles per month.

Check out what Calvin Clark has in the way of OEM type seat covers for your car. All available in the correct factory colors. Here's a link so you can take a look at what I'm referring to. Ask him for a sample.

http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/catalog.cgi?function=goto&catalog=RIVIERA&section=RIVIERA&page=R-3

Jim Osborne and others have the correct air cleaner decal for your engine. Did you check the engine VIN against the VIN for the body? Wild conjecture here - perhaps the original engine was a 425 and has been replaced.

To get the air working again, check out Old Air Products in Texas and look at what they have in the way of a Suction Throttle Valve replacement. It changes the way your a/c functions. I know two guys, John in Arkansas and Galen in central Kansas who've made this switch and they couldn't be happier - no more frozen evaporators. The new product cycles the compressor on and off to control the temp, as the newer cars do today.

Enjoy your new ride, and be patient with getting it the way you want it.

Ed

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Ed,

Not so quick on the miles thing. I've seen several first gen Rivs with that kind of miles. My 64 Riv has 56K original. It had 49K in 83 when I first bought it. There are plenty of low mile cars out there, I had a 69 Electra with 8000 miles a couple of years ago. I missed a 63 Riv a couple of winters ago with about 22K original miles.

They are out there, but you do need to be careful.

Larry

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Riviera66</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Well, according to Buick's 1963 Assembly Manual, dated 6-29-1962, the plan was for all Wildcats and Rivieras to come with the 425 as standard equipment.

There must've been a lot of problems that caused them to so thoroughly back away from that plan.

Darwin Falk </div></div>

Darwin-

In Detroit in that era, as I understand it, often times the Marketing Dept. would have sway in areas such as this. They always had multiple year views of how models would roll out. Pure speculation, but consider this:

Marketing had already laid out a plan where the '65 would get the clamshell headlights and rear stop light placement treatment down in bumper. They also knew the '64 model would look much like the '63 model, little external or internal change.

Perhaps, to preserve something "new and better" for the '64 model, they held back offering the 425 as the stock engine in '63 and stuck to the existing 401. The new Riv already had a lot going for it and did not need the 425 yet to sell it. The '64 would have little else new -- so make the bigger, higher horsepower engine the new thing, the differentiating factor.

Original advertising from the '64 model year might shed some light on that. What did they point out in '64 as selling points? I only have a few examples of '63 ads, no '64 ads...

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Larry,

I'm aware that there are some out there, but when you find one isn't it usually true that they're in almost new condition and need little if any restoration?

I bought my 63 in 1982 with over 100,000 miles on the clock. I knew it wasn't a 27,000 mile car because the owner gave me a complete maintenence log to go with it. The owner had taken immaculate care of it and it needed nothing except new leather on the front seat buns. I had to accept that as par for the course for a twenty year old car, (my 10 year old Chrysler with fewer miles has rougher leather) but the original paint was in excellent shape as was all the bright work, trunk lining, headliner, etc. It now has 197,000 miles on it. My point is that there are also cars out there with many miles on them that can look exceptionally good. Today, I could probably pass it off as a 97,000 mile car if I felt like it. Without the six digit odometers like today's cars have, it's really tough. In Feb of 2006, I bought a 1964 from a guy in AZ. The body on it is fantastic. The odometer shows 46,000. I know from the bill of sale it's 146,000, but the way cars this age are titled in Kansas, my new title says 46,000. In Kansas all cars older than 35 years are "exempt from mileage." If I repainted it the original color and put one of Calvin Clark's interior kits in it, it could be passed off as a 46,000 mile car. I wouldn't do it, but someone might.

In reality, what I think I'm trying to say is that the cars were of such a high quality when they were originally produced, it's difficult to say whether one might be a 46,000 or 146,000 mile car so the buyer has to be aware.

Ed

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