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Question about non-GS 1965 Riviera

Guest Ty O'Neal

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Guest Ty O'Neal


I was left a 1965 Buick Riviera from my Grandfather. He bought it new in Oklahoma City.

I have just finished bring the car up to "Nice" shape from 47 years of just normal maintenance.

When I picked the car up in 2003, it had some extra parts, manuals etc. including the 2X4 Set up.

I was born in 1962 so I do not remember them buying the car, but remember being a little kid riding in it. When the Gas Rationing came about in the early to mid 70's I do remember he put a 1X4 on it for better milage, and he was worried about the valve seats because leaded gasoline was going away.

I have read that some of the Rivieras came with a 2x4 in the Trunk when new, and the dealer installed them when they arrived.

In one email I received a while back I was told that since the engine was stamped with "LX", instead of "LW" (I think this is right, that was the GS Engine, right?) it couldn't have been sent to the dealer with the 2x4 in the truck. Also, something about option "A-9"??


It's confusing, because I can't imagine the car being shipped with an open engine (Without any intake manifold and carburetor)

Is there anyway, to tell if the 2X4 I have was one that came from the factory in the trunk?

I am missing some of the paperwork for the car. I know it is either at my Mothers house or my Fathers. There is the order form, sales form etc. etc. I have some of the documents, but none that describe one way or another whether they bought the 2x4 when the car was purchased. I do know he possessed it around 1970.

I have some information I will post about the engine and the car. These pictures show several of the plates and stampings. I know that he had put the hotter buick cam in the car when the engine was worked on.

In the mid to late 70's I was very interested in cars and spoke of them often. I am certain that they purposely did not buy the GS Riviera, because my Grandmother wanted the wire wheels, not the Rallye wheels and she didn't care for the extra badging that came with the GS. She wanted a more "Elegant", Car. My Grandfather wanted the biggest engine (Usually the more powerful), but did not want the 3.42 rear end because they used the car primarily coming to visit us in Dallas, so the driving was on the highway. He thought the 3.23 was better suited for the highway than the 3.42, but still gave the "Riv", decent "Get up and go!"

He did love Powerful Engines and in WWII worked for North American building, and later patching up the shot up airplanes. The P-51 Merlin (I think this is correct) was his favorite. (I have his mechanics manuals in my library.

Anyway, both of my Grand Parents enjoyed "Racing off the Lights" when we were little kids, strapped into the back seats.

I know there are a bunch of Tangents in here, but I'm trying to remember everything I can about the car and his personality.

If anyone can shed some light on this, I would really appreciate it. If I have asked a similar question, please forgive me. I received a head injury about 7 years ago and my short term memory sometimes doesn't work well.

Update: I just found a message from Ed Raner regarding some of this, so I'm pretty sure this is a new post. (He is a real decent guy) He said the LX Engine were for the GS. I still wonder about the missing intake while shipping?

I look forward to anyone who can shed some additional light on this mystery.


Ty O'Neal




Edited by Ty O'Neal (see edit history)
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Welcome to this forum Ty. I don't know much about the 65 Riviera, other than it is a drop dead beautiful car. But I did notice the standard Catalogue of Buicks says the GranSport was an option package, and not a separate model. As such I imagine a cooperative dealer could have ordered just about anything separately back then, thus accounting for the optional carburation and lowere rear axle in what otherwise would have been a Gran Sport.

What shape is the rest of the car in? Any pictures to share???

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Howdy, Ty. Welcome!

On the GM vehicles which might have come with the "2x4 carb setup in the trunk", the cars were produced with the normal 4bbl carb with the "upgrade" items boxed and shipped in the trunk of the vehicle from the factory. Same as with the 2x4bbl setup and factory headers for the Camaro Z-28s back then. So, the engines were not "open" as you might have suspected.

Or, in other cases, the completed vehicles would have been shipped to an off-site conversion facility for the carb/intake upgrades, then shipped to the selling dealer (with the conversion facility being an "agent" for the manufacturer, in this case). This way, the unneeded parts could be put "somewhere" the manufacturer could control.

Axle ratios, back then, were variable. Certainly, the GS would have had the 3.42 rear axle ratio, with the 3.23 in the mix, too. If the 3.23 was not the standard ratio, it could have been considered a "Trailering Option" ratio, just as the 3.42 might have been for the non-GS cars. The 3.23 ratio would have dropped the cruise rpm several hundred rpm on the highway, but any fuel economy differences might not have been as great as if it had been a 3.08 or lower numerical ratio (i.e., 2.73) compared to the 3.42. But the 3.42 was getting into the "Performance Ratio" territory. Sometimes, the standard rear axle ratio was in the median range, with "Highway Economy" and "Trailering" at the ends of the available ratio spectrum for factory equipment.

I suspect that if you can or have found the build sheet for the vehicle, some of these questions might be answered. For example, if it had been a regular Riv with a GS engine option and regular rear axle ratio, there might be some "special handling" instructions somewhere.

From what I've read, the GS was an option package rather than a separate model, which was somewhat common for GM back then (which is how so many Chevrolet "SS" and "Z-28" models seemed to exist that weren't born that way). Also, this makes it highly troubling to verify what's what just by the VIN. Therefore, you had to look for specific equipment items to verify things--things other than cosmetic items/features which would be specific to the sporty models. In the case of Z-28s, there was the tire/size pressure decal in the glove box AND 1/4" alum spacers under the lower control arm bumpers (to allow the use of 15" tires without them hitting the inner fenders while turning and hitting a bump at the same time). Other things can be the red line on the tach, too.

Back then, having (or finding!) a dealer that would order something out-of-the-ordinary AND see that it got built that way was great. It might have taken using some contacts in the Zone Office or higher-up to oversee the order through the plant, too. Hidden in the order guides, there were or could have been some interesting engine/trans/axle combinations . . . at the other end of the spectrum from the high performance/drag race stuff.

As the "GS" badging and chrome wheels were "add-on" items to the base vehicle, it could also have been a "GS" with the "GS Emblem Delete", "Wire Wheel Covers", and "3.23 Rear Axle" special instructions for an otherwise 2x4bbl GS-spec vehicle.

Great looking cars!



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66 Riv had the 2 x 4 in the trunk . The LW on the block refers to a 425 eng. . The Chrome/Road Wheels was an option and could have been ordered with any Riv in 65 . The standard hub cap for the GS was just that - a hub cap with a spinner - most were ordered with the chrome wheels however . 3.42 rear was the std ration for the GS but other ratios were available on the GS as well as the standard .

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RE the P-51: Nickname of the plane (the whole series of models) was "Mustang". Earlier versions were power by the British-designed but America-produced Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engine; later models, I believe received an Allison powerplant.

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The LX 2x4V 425 engine was standard on the '65 Riviera GS and optional on the standard Riviera. The GS came standard with a 3.42 posi rear end and the regular Riviera came standard with a 3.23 non-posi rear end. If the serial number on the engine matches the car serial (VIN) the engine is original.

It looks like your engine is stamped LW which is a single 4V 425 engine, however the 2x4V setup could be purchased over at the parts counter and installed by the dealer.

Edited by sean1997 (see edit history)
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I have original G.M. literature, pre G.S. early 65. On the 65 Riv, as an option you could get either of the 425 engines, one 4bbl or 2 4bbls. Axle was 3.23 as stated earlier. Keep in mind this was before the G.S. series in both the Skylark and Riv. There is no mention on anything I have that supports a dual 4 bbl from the factory in the trunk.

Edited by brh
Senior moment (see edit history)
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