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112,000 Rivieras


lrlforfun
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OK Riviera People: You KNOW the 63, 64 and 65 Rivieras! Here's one for fun. Assuming we could turn back the clock to when these cars were on the drawing board, what and how would you change these cars to extend their life knowing what you know about them today?

I want to hear from everybody! Mitch.

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About the only thing I'd do is install front disc brakes. Maybe even add A/C as standard but that's about it.

For an early '60's vintage car, it's surprisingly capable of keeping up in modern traffic save for the brakes. And it does it comfortably.

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Jim,

If your '63 doesn't have the braking abilities of some of the newer cars, you might want to have the system checked out completely. I redid the brakes on my '64 to include new hoses, new wheel cylinders, new hardware (return springs, etc. - it all comes in a kit) new shoes with rivieted linings, and had the drums turned. It stops every bit as good as my Ford Five hundred with 4 wheel disc brakes. The only thing I think I might encounter would be brake fade if I were coming out of the Rockies on a straight shot down. These Buick brakes are GOOD!!!!

In response to Mitch's inquiry, I'd go for the electronic ignition and fuel injection - both of which can be retrofitted - Holley makes a TBI that bolts to a standard four barrel manifold, and Crane makes an electronic unit that fits in the stock distributor. I'd also want an overdrive automatic transmission w/ lockup torque converter. Bendston's makes the adapter and I already have the 200R4 Turbo Hydro tranny. I think I'd need to re-plumb the defroster vents too, and get rid of the throttle suction valve on the a/c. Old Air products makes that unit; or better yet, install a new Vintage Air system.

Ed

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Since everyone seems to be going retro these days (Mustang, Camaro, Challenger) or some people never left (Lincoln Town Car) it seems the Riv would be an incredible name to raise up on a state-of-the-art car.

Maybe a Buick version of the Chevrolet Volt? Nothing like making a Buick that is right for the times in a world of $4 gas.

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OK Riviera People: I would do 10 things......

1. Remove the stainless trim around the back window. It would look like a late model Accord. There would be no nuthing to accumulate debris, water and no rust!

2. Tinted glass with a slightly heavier tint and much higher uv block. leaves the car cooler as well as protecting the upholstry from the sun's rays.

3. Readily identify maintainence items and make those jobs easier to perform,like, where to clean out debris on the body, lube points (usually mentioned but never given their critical importance), brake bleeding, coolant flushing.

4. Transmission filter canister. Much like an oil filter this would make the transmission much easier and cheeper to service.

5. Shorter reccomended oil change intervals. Easier oil change. I believe that late model Mercedes have a hose that does down the dipstick tube that sucks the oil out of the pan. This with a top positioned cartridge would make oil changes a breese and much cheeper.

6. Use the higher grade vinyl as used in such cars as the 65 Riviera custom (redundent?) 65 Bonneville etc. This along with the tint could really prolong the life of an interior.

7. More uv resistant rubber mouldings.

8. Giant radiator with easy flush system.

9. Cut weight by at least 500 pounds

10. Better suspension.

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I like your item 5.

Hard to believe, but there was an after market option for the Model A Ford, and easy oil drain plug, it was a plug with a remote pull wire mounted up on the dash or in the engine bay. You pull the knob that pulls a cable, that opens the drain plug opening. I guess they just drained the oil on the ground in the good old days??

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  • 7 years later...

OK Riviera People: I'm bootin' this one up again. For fun now...... We have eight more years experience from the original post with these cars.

 

With out changing the basic style and engineering what would you do to improve the First-Gen Rivs to 1. Give them a bigger edge against Father Time (make 'em last longer) and 2. How what would you do to improve the drive-ability?

 

Mitch

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OK Riviera People: I'm bootin' this one up again. For fun now...... We have eight more years experience from the original post with these cars.

 

With out changing the basic style and engineering what would you do to improve the First-Gen Rivs to 1. Give them a bigger edge against Father Time (make 'em last longer) and 2. How what would you do to improve the drive-ability?

 

Mitch

 

 

I wouldn't. If it were different it would be a different car. There are already parts and techniques available to improve handling, etc. if that's what you're after.

 

Ed

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Since April 18, 1978, the day I bought the car, the dimmer switch failed, I had to replace the rocker shafts, and I lost a piston when it got started at full throttle by a novice driver. I think I'll keep it a little longer and get a good feel for the car before I decide on changes.

Bernie

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned:

 

- galvanized inner and outer sheet metal panels to resist rust in the event of a road chip or deep scratch to them;

 

- better profile radial tires;

 

- anti-knock sensor to retard timing in the event of poor quality or insufficient octane gas available today. This would help protect the high compression engine from damage after a costly rebuild.

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Guys!

 

I think that we lost track of Mitch's original request.  In post #1 he said "Assuming we could turn back the clock to when these cars were on the drawing board, what and how would you change these cars to extend their life knowing what you know about them today?"

 

If the items in post # 16 are to be added, we'd have to rewrite history before we could do these kinds of things. Things as mentioned above would require that radial tires were even available back then, and knock sensors would require a computer to control.  We're getting off base from the original thread.What's happening now is the creation of a resto-rod - a combination of old looks with modern technology.

 

I'd go for a 6 way adjustable bucket seat that could be slid back farther, better provisions than a bumper jack for changing a tire, and passenger's side rear view mirror.  I wish that Buick would have gone to the ST400 in '63 rather than sticking with the dyaflow, but maybe the 400 wasn't proven yet.  And a hood that you'd have to release from the inside. Maybe a gas filler neck that wouldn't spill gas when the tank is full and you really floor it.  As I write this, I'm trying to think of what the Thunderbird offered that the Riviera did not, like a swing away wheel.

 

Ed

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OK Ed: NOW you're cookin' with gas!  The seat adjustment is one I sorely miss. I'm 5-11 and have long legs. The only First-Gen I've ever felt really comfortable driving was a 65 Custom interior one  with the power seat.  I think if one had a retro kit for putting the seat back a few inches they could probably sell  a ton of them!  

 

The passenger's side mirror is also a good one. For some reason a convex mirror is what's used on the passenger's side for a long time now. The original was flat.  Mitch

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Actually, a properly maintained cooling system, electrical system, or lubrication system is more reliable than a single gauge one can attach to it.

 

On the four or five speed transmission; heavy cars with large displacement, high torque engines are a royal PIA to drive with those gearboxes. I had three through the '70's and early '80's. I quit using low after a while. Even my Junior Packard with the small straight eight gets launched in second quite often.

 

Years ago I looked into a manual transmission for the Riviera that I could wind out in the gears. The really best choice was a GM close ratio 3 speed with a low (numerical) first gear. I had one in a black '58 Chevy Yeoman 4 door wagon about 1972. The car had a 283, 4 barrel, '67 Camaro trans, 4:11 posi, dual cherry bombs, Mickey Thompson mags in front, Camaro bucket seats, and wide 14" wagon wheels in the rear. Pretty nice car for a 23 year old. Tossed the rear half of the driveshaft out of that one on a 1-2 shift one evening.

 

There's a story about the comment on the gauges as well- learnin' car stuff by doin' since 1959.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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OK Riviera People: Now we're on track how about this....A retro front seat mounting bracket so the front seat goes back further is a great idea.  On that note what other suggestions might one have (besides getting things in top condition) for making a First-gen better?   Mitch

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OK Riviera People: Now we're on track how about this....A retro front seat mounting bracket so the front seat goes back further is a great idea.  On that note what other suggestions might one have (besides getting things in top condition) for making a First-gen better?   Mitch

I'm betting that you could retro the front seats by fabricating a plate that bolts to the existing holes in the floor but lets you bolt the seat anchors farther back. I wonder why Buick placed them where they did in the first place.  I'm not one to complain, I'm only 5'9" but it's you taller guys that have the problems. 

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Being able to move the seats back would benefit most and a good mod to make. My dad was a long legged 6' 3' and had trouble with this issue with a number of cars. He would usually bolt in 1" spacer blocks under the front mount to give more thigh support and effectively move the seatback a bit. 

I've been running some sets of the same Stewart Warner (Diversey Parkway Chicago) mechanical oil/water gauges in cars bought in the late 60's and early 70's with no issues. The good gauges have saved me from tearing up a crank with a bearing failure and warning of overheating with blown hoses. Keep in mind that the idiot lights come on at very low oil pressure and very high temp-thus no early warning or slow failure trend indication with them. My '66 has both factory, but this Delco stuff is a tad shaky imo and with no numerics.

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No one said anything about the 65 headlights.... really??

 

Or the clock.....

 

I would love to see a modern day version of the 65... with updated suspension, fuel injection, 25+MPG with the 65 styling... the styling was (still is) incredible..

Maybe not exactly what you are thinking but here are two video's I came across recently which you may find worthwhile...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JIwL0keMFQM

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-MT6k4xa-Gs

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As I was driving home in my newer car, I thought of a couple of more things.  An electric trunk pull down so you don't have to slam the trunk shut and an antenna that totally retracts into the fender so I don't keep wearing a hole in my car cover.  Both things that could have been "done in the day."  I do like my foot operated Wonder Bar radio though.  I also like the dimmer switch on the floor rather than as part of the turn signal mechanism.  Pulling the stalk back to turn on the brights is okay, but pushing it forward to dim them puts scratches in my nail polish. :D

 

Ed

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Forgive me for taking liberty with the intent of this posting. But I've shared below some changes I'd wished the Buick engineers and designers had made when the first generation Riviera was introduced. I can think of many, but here's a dozen items I'd wish for if I was buying a new car back then (in no particular order)...

 

1.) leather seat option on '64 and '65

2.) 425 cu. in engine standard in '63 and '65

3.) three speed automatic standard in all three years

4.) a four speed manual transmission option

5.) move the front seat positions back 3 - 4"

6.) double hinge the center console glove box door, so it lays flat

7.) an antenna that goes all the way down, flush with the fender top

8.) a gas tank fill that isn't so difficult to reach or stick a modern nozzle into

9.) a more robust or reinforced glove box door latch

10.) dash gauges, rather then idiot lights

11.) a more easily serviceable heater core

12.) a '65 nose with a '63 '64 sides and rear.

 

I've made some of these modifications to my '64 Riviera.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some things that were overlooked in the first generation imo are

1. Large fill width pockets at the back of the front seats to put your 1963 IPad in, or maps or stuff like that,

2. perhaps a small bin in the ample doors to hold a drink bottle.

3. And definitely fitted should be a temperature and oil gauge.

4. And the centre console lid should flip to the side, not upwards in the air.

5. And provision for 4 speaker sound system, not just one in the rear.

6. And the engine and transmission dipsticks need to be more accessible and in a tube to stop dirt getting in!

7. Outside mirrors should be electric operation.

8.better designed jack rather than the unsafe bumper style included, wheel wrench is not much better.

9. Rear lights could be a fraction larger 20-25%

10. Glove box needs to be longer and deeper with a quality light fitting installed.

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Forgive me for taking liberty with the intent of this posting. But I've shared below some changes I'd wished the Buick engineers and designers had made when the first generation Riviera was introduced. I can think of many, but here's a dozen items I'd wish for if I was buying a new car back then (in no particular order)...

 

1.) leather seat option on '64 and '65

2.) 425 cu. in engine standard in '63 and '65

3.) three speed automatic standard in all three years

4.) a four speed manual transmission option

5.) move the front seat positions back 3 - 4"

6.) double hinge the center console glove box door, so it lays flat

7.) an antenna that goes all the way down, flush with the fender top

8.) a gas tank fill that isn't so difficult to reach or stick a modern nozzle into

9.) a more robust or reinforced glove box door latch

10.) dash gauges, rather then idiot lights

11.) a more easily serviceable heater core

12.) a '65 nose with a '63 '64 sides and rear.

 

I've made some of these modifications to my '64 Riviera.  

Show us some pictures, please.

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok

1. Pockets at the back of the bucket seats and perhaps door pockets to keep maps, stuff in.

2. Better sealing against water entry in the boot, back window area.

3. Proper gauges for oil and temperature, as well as the lights.

4.provision for more speakers than just one in the rear.

5. Better jack than unsafe bumper jack provided along with better wrench for nuts and wheel covers.

6. Deeper larger glove box with a more sustantial light.

7. Hazard warning light set up.

8. Much better oil dip stick with tube so dirt can't get in.

9. Larger rear lights on 63/64 for safety (20-30% bigger)

10. Easier reset knob for trip meter.

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I like the listed ideas, how to improve the known weaknesses of our so loved 1st gen Rivieras.

But all this little troubles make the Riviera so charming.  

 

Maybe a  little bit out of topic, a new interpretation of 65 Riviera in a german auto magazine :

 

post-145872-0-35107200-1456067054_thumb.

 

Greetings from Germany,

Frank

 

 

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I like the listed ideas, how to improve the known weaknesses of our so loved 1st gen Rivieras.

But all this little troubles make the Riviera so charming.  

 

Maybe a  little bit out of topic, a new interpretation of 65 Riviera in a german auto magazine :

 

attachicon.gifUS-Car-Legenden-reloaded-1200x800-8af00cada7b45186.jpg

 

Greetings from Germany,

Frank

Not too bad.  In my opinion, the bright work on all of these older cars is part of the allure of owning them.  I wonder what the same 'interpretation' would look like with some bright work in the same areas as was on the original.

 

Ed

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Forgive me for taking liberty with the intent of this posting. But I've shared below some changes I'd wished the Buick engineers and designers had made when the first generation Riviera was introduced. I can think of many, but here's a dozen items I'd wish for if I was buying a new car back then (in no particular order)...

 

1.) leather seat option on '64 and '65

2.) 425 cu. in engine standard in '63 and '65

3.) three speed automatic standard in all three years

4.) a four speed manual transmission option

5.) move the front seat positions back 3 - 4"

6.) double hinge the center console glove box door, so it lays flat

7.) an antenna that goes all the way down, flush with the fender top

8.) a gas tank fill that isn't so difficult to reach or stick a modern nozzle into

9.) a more robust or reinforced glove box door latch

10.) dash gauges, rather then idiot lights

11.) a more easily serviceable heater core

12.) a '65 nose with a '63 '64 sides and rear.

 

I've made some of these modifications to my '64 Riviera

 

 

Oh hell yes on #8 specifically as one i have been thinking about for a while. I don't disagree on any of the others either. A couple of those i haven't run into yet, but i will take your word for it.

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