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Most desirable year


straight shooter
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On 1/13/2012 at 12:12 PM, MartyWorld said:

The 63 is the first and the last...............first Riviera and last of the Dynaflow.

Marty

Marty, must agree with you regarding the 63 with leather and DynoFlow. The 65 had options that I liked. The lines in the body design struck me when I was boy. I will say the AC in the 63 is hard for me to work on, but I did get it finished.

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Amazing how this thread seems to die in 2012 only to be resurrected nine years later. It's as if it has a life all of it's own. Upon reflexion i believe that with the Riviera's popularity and because so many have changed hands that it's not the thread that has it's own life it's the car. It's a whole new generation that has discovered the car. May it live forever.

 

I like Buicks, but I'm not a Buick lover. I do, however, love the Riviera. I'm also partial to the first gen cars. As far as year, each has it's own character. I like a car because of it's condition and originality. I own a 1963 and a 1965. I believe that the 63 is a little more elegant, while the 65 is more compact and sorted out looking. One thing that really stands out on the 63, is sliding into those sumptuous original leather seats. The vinyl looks great in the 65, but it just ain't the same. 

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/24/2021 at 2:40 PM, Buffalowed Bill said:

I believe that the 63 is a little more elegant, while the 65 is more compact and sorted out looking. One thing that really stands out on the 63, is sliding into those sumptuous original leather seats. The vinyl looks great in the 65, but it just ain't the same. 

'Leather for 1963' I agree. For an original car, I've got that in my '63.

 

Also to consider for 1st gens, Turbine wheels on 2 of the 3 production years. Then there's 2nd gens, undecided on 1969 or 70, like them both for their powertrains and styling

 

For 1st gens, 401 cu inches is plenty displacement for me but I do like some of the features that 1965 Riviera's have. Not so much clam-shell headlights but retractor seat belts, ribbed rocker panels, awesome dashboard and switchpitch transmission. I plan to swap-out the Dynaflow to install the latter, so no longer original, just tastefully tweaked. I will have updated my Riv to my liking but it will still appear original.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Having only owned a '65 Gran Sport, I am very biased, and consider the 1965 to be the most desirable year Riviera.

 

The '65 was the most developed of the 1st Gen Rivieras, engineering and styling-wise. 

 

The '65 Riviera Gran Sport was Buick's answer to the emerging muscle car craze, along with the Skylark Gran Sport also released that year.  The Riviera didn't fit the muscle car mold of big engine stuffed in a mid-sized car (e.g. GTO), the Skylark GS did.  The Riv was geared to the personal luxury set that wanted exceptional performance from an (almost) full sized car.  The '65 Riv GS is acknowledged to be the top performer, thanks to its performance oriented equipment including arguably the best automatic transmission ever: the Super Turbine 400, with variable pitch torque converter.  All the elements were in place to go fast, with class, in a beautifully styled automobile: the Buick Riviera!

 

From any angle the '65 looks great.  A well-integrated design.  Yes, the same body as the '63 and '64, but on these earlier cars the headlights in the grille seemed (elegantly) tacked on.  The fake louvers on the rear quarters were gone for '65, giving the car a cleaner, almost custom appearance.  Nowhere on the outside of the '65 (or '64) does "BUICK" appear.  I still get people asking me who made my "Riviera" car.  

 

The single element that infatuated me with the '65 was those clamshell headlights. The coolest thing ever for a car nut!  No other car has this type of hide-away headlamp system.  A one-year wonder.  And for a reason, as the many dealer service bulletins on visor repair will attest.  Older guys call them the "Knight's Helmet" headlamps; younger ones may recall "Pac-Man".  Whatever you call them, they are about the coolest thing any designer ever put on a car.

 

My second choice would be the '66/'67 Riviera.  I love its clean and integrated design. This is also a beautiful automobile.  The interior isn't quite as nice as in the earlier cars, but with bucket-seat and console they are very handsome indeed.  Too bad they went with the horizontal dash and drum speedo, with no connection to the console which became optional. The 1st Gen dash is just more sporting, with round dials and its integrated console.  

 

Third choice would be the '71/'72.  The Boattail Rivieras are also striking cars. They sported some nice looking interiors.  But, they're huge cars, so lack some of the sporting flavor that Riviera had been associated with.  

 

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Every year has advantages and disadvantages. It’s all a matter of what you’re willing to trade off.  I think the leather in the 63 is a top shelf advantage.  The Dynaflow in my 63 is a love hate relationship. I love the smoothness of it but it’s not very fuel efficient.  I like my cast aluminum covers; everybody and his brother have rally wheels on anything that has a 5 on 5 bolt circle - old 50’s era Buick’s, Chevy pickup trucks, trailers, etc. They’re not as unique as they were when they were new.  It seems like there are a lot of guys trying to sort out problems with their 65’s clam shells.  Pick your battles carefully. You’ll rarely change anyone’s opinion.

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I liked my 63 that I had. I didn't mind the Dynaflow especially how smooth it was. The fuel economy wasn't bad even on regular gas. I sometimes used it as a daily driver in the 90's when I had it and managed to average around 16 mpgs when I included lots of freeway. The car still had most of it's original leather interior but the driver's seat was redone in the same color and pattern in vinyl. The rest was pretty dried out and had some splits. I tried to recondition  it but nothing worked. I would have liked a '65. I preferred the looks of the concealed headlights but I don't really care for the diamond pattern of their interiors and the rest of the design looked a bit cheap compared to a 63/64. I bought the 63 since it was a nice car compared to what else was available for the same price range plus it was a one owner car.

Edited by Bleach (see edit history)
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On 4/24/2021 at 7:44 AM, RivNut said:

Biggest problem with the 65 GS (Skylark) if you ordered with the automatic rather than the 4 speed, is that the automatic was the TWO speed ST300.

Yes, but at least the ST300 had a variable pitch ("switch pitch) torque converter.  That was like having an extra gear!  This same feature was put into the ST400 used in the larger cars from '65 to '67.

The Skylark automatic with switch-pitch had the advantage of extra torque multiplication from standing start against other the two-speed automatic equipped Chevrolet or Pontiac cars which had to rely on the 1.76 or 1.82 first gear ratio.

 

On 4/24/2021 at 3:04 PM, Bleach said:

I liked my 63 that I had. I didn't mind the Dynaflow especially how smooth it was. The fuel economy wasn't bad even on regular gas. I sometimes used it as a daily driver in the 90's when I had it and managed to average around 16 mpgs when I included lots of freeway. The car still had most of it's original leather interior but the driver's seat was redone in the same color and pattern in vinyl. The rest was pretty dried out and had some splits. I tried to recondition  it but nothing worked. I would have liked a '65. I preferred the looks of the concealed headlights but I don't really care for the diamond pattern of their interiors and the rest of the design looked a bit cheap compared to a 63/64. I bought the 63 since it was a nice car compared to what else was available for the same price range plus it was a one owner car.

My '65 RIv Gran Sport was my daily driver from 1983 to 1990.  I averaged about 12 mpg in the city.  The best mileage I ever got was about 16 for highway driving, cruising at 60mph.  These are thirsty cars!

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If you want to put a little more zip into your ST400, install a torque converter from an ST300 in it.  The flex plate behind your 401/425 already has the holes drilled in it to accommodate the ST300 converter. Don’t know that I’d call it an extra gear, more like slipping the clutch on a manual transmission to get the RPMs up.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/24/2021 at 4:40 PM, Buffalowed Bill said:

One thing that really stands out on the 63, is sliding into those sumptuous original leather seats. The vinyl looks great in the 65, but it just ain't the same. 

Edited March 25 by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)

Buffalowed, I own a 63 with trim tag specific leather in the car. I like leather. Vinyl makes sense for the family van or car, and it does go in many cars just as good as leather. Just a matter of opinion.  The 65 GS is cool, but I like the simplicity of the 63 ( except for AC).  I’m not a hot fodder or a gent that needs a performance engine. I’m happy with my rebuilt 401, runs great. Classic design in our lives is timeless. The 63 takes me back to the fun I had in LosAngeles County when I was a teenager. The semi custom cars in my neighborhood were ultra cool. ( the front end suspension was worn out from the owners lowering the car) Sounds crazy but I can remember the first time I saw a 63 where I was and what no good I was up to. I said one day I’ll own a Riviera. Took 53 years, but I got her.

30840824-A72B-4FA2-B5DD-B60AFFEBE68E.jpeg

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I have owned a 1963, a 1967GS and a 1971.

The number one is 1963 to 1965. The 1965 GS being top dog, followed by the 2-4 equipped 1964. I think history and prices have proven that.  The boat tail was a long time coming, but I think the 1971-1972 are now number two, a spot previously held by 1966-1967.  I also think the 1971 and 1972 are the best mechanically speaking.  The 1970 is the king of the hill performance-wise. Looks pretty good with the short fender skirts, but a bit of an old lady look with the tall skirts. It is a bit of an oddball style-wise, but not controversial like the boat tails. I think the 1973 rear looks better than the 1971 and 1972. But when it turns around, it loses its appeal to say the least. 

 

But MY favorite looking years are 1968 and especially 1969. Too bad the 455 was not developed until 1970!  I think the INTERIORS of the 1966 and 1967 beat the 1968 and 1969, but I prefer the front end and front fender treatment of the 68-69. (have you ever scraped your head on the part of the hood that comes down to flank the grille on a 66 or 67?)    Depending on body color, vinyl tops can add or subtract from the Riviera's beauty.  

 

The center console of the 1966-1968 are the nicest looking. The console shifter of the 1969 and 1970 are a bit clunky looking.  And in every case the deluxe interior trumps the standard!  But I am really into the cloth material of just about every year. But if I am not mistaken, after 1965 they were only available on bench seating...too bad.  The cloth buckets on 1963-1965 are the most beautiful. I even prefer them over 1963 leather. 

 

In short no ONE year has it all. 

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I actually think the 1963 and 1964 are better looking than the 1965. I prefer the rear of the 1963/64. As for the front, well other than then novelty of the clamshells, I think the exposed headlights on the 1963/64 also edges out the 1965. I LOVE the huge glowing parking lights of the 1963/64 too. 

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No two people are going to appreciate everything the same way. For most of us, who appreciate the 1963-65 Riviera, we like all three years. As an owner of both a 63 and a 65, the differences in styling and performance are incidental. My cars are as built, and except for a repaint to the 63, they are original. To me condition and history trump year of manufacture every time.

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2 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

To me condition and history trump year of manufacture every time.

Sir, the reason I bought a red 63 was condition and the car was first generation. The car was original original. The good part is no one modified the car. The bad part no maintained the car. The repairs that were done were half baked, but held for awhile. I paid a little too much, BUT after a long search over a long time the 63 Red Riviera. Everything has been restored to original excepting hardware nuts, bolts, clips, clamps, exhaust, and beefed up suspension. I bought solely on condition. It could have been any color 63-65 as long as condition was as best I could determine. Deferred maintenance can run your bill up real fast. I’ve had the car 4-5 years and a new gas tank, sender, lines, hardware is on order. One zRiviera flipper said an inspection is not necessary if the car doesn’t need anything. I replied resellers fix cars to sell not to keep. Those that repair and maintain these cars that go for the premium price can proudly put the car on a lift and show where items were replaced and repaired with receipts to back up claims.

Agreed, no car ive ever owned has had it all. For what I like the 63-65 Riv comes closest to filling my bill 100%.
Turbinator

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The 63 Riv I have is getting a new gas tank, sender, and metal fuel line. Had problems this week so with some real help I was directed how to trouble shoot a gasoline or no fuel problem. Gasoline passed water test. The to see if the carb was getting fuel and spark, then fuel pump test. Put in new fuel pump just because. Found out the sender had no sock and the inside of the tank had been chemically sealed. A bronze color was in some places in the tank. The sender looked bad. So, I’ll replace the whole thing.

Turbinator

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On 4/24/2021 at 12:34 PM, kegart said:

When I bought my '63 I was looking for a '65 but now I'm glad I did.

Kev, When I bought my 63 I was looking for 64 Impala Super Sport w/air. No luck in my price range. My pap in Ohio who is a Studebaker owner and expert is a true American car highly knowledgeable person. I told him what I was looking for in generalities. My pal said, “ You want a Riviera!” I immediately smacked my forehead and said I could have had a V8! I actually thought the Riviera out of my price range. The Riviera was in my price range.

Amazing how things work out?

Turbinator

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