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Crisdimel1

1965 Riviera identification

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Hello all,

This is my first time posting here. I have learned a lot from reading the forums but I could use some help. I recently became the proud owner of a 1965 Riviera. The car is in very rough shape, I do not have the P-O-P or a build sheet. So far just the VIN and the body plate. I was told that the car is all original but I am questioning this. The car has a 425 with duel fours in it. However there are no GS badges on the car. From the VIN (494475H928210) I know it is a 1965 Riv, 2door coupe, Flint Mi, and was the 28,210th car built in 1965.

I have read that there were 454 cars built with the 425 2x4 that were not GS cars. I would like to know what I have. How do I determine what this car is? Where are the engine and transmission codes located?

I tried to post pictures but I am having troubles doing this.

Thank you

Dirk

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A 50 year old car could have several year and cubic inch nailheads. The stamps on the right valley deck for 65 are LT, LW and LX for 401(LT), 425(LW) and the 2X4 425(LX) which LX simply means it has two Carters and a specially curved distributor for the 2X4 set up. Other upgrades would be 2-1/4" head pipes without resonators, BS code transmission (pass side tag) and a 3:42 locking rear axle.

Check for the letters on the passenger side, write them down, now check the numbers opposite (drivers side valley deck) write them down. Now compare the numbers after the H in the VIN tag located on the drivers door pillar.

Here are the pics I hope these help.

post-98889-143142537803_thumb.jpg

If you have a matching numbers Riviera Super Wildcat we love your car, if you don't have matching we love your car, we love all Rivs here :-)

Welcome!

post-98889-143142537799_thumb.jpg

post-98889-143142537801_thumb.jpg

Edited by clamshells (see edit history)

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Thank you very much. I am going to look for the numbers after work tomorrow. I will post

my findings tomorrow evening.

Dirk

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In the link I've posted below, look at the picture, no need to read the text, it's not applicable. It will give you a good reference as to where to find the numbers - LT, LW, or LX (Production Code Numbers) and the Engine Serial Number - the one that should match your VIN. Pay no attention to any of the number associated with the LT, LW, or LX; they're meaningless.

Ed

http://www.teambuick.com/reference/ident_engine_where.php

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It still surprises me how easy things are when you have the right help. The numbers don't lie. While I am still very happy with the car, it is not what I had hoped. The block # matches the VIN # so it is the original motor. However the stamp on the left side is LT so the motor is a 401 not the 425 as I was told. Someone must have added the 2x4 set up at some point in time.

Now, I am not quite sure what to do with the motor. It needs to be rebuilt anyway, so do I find the right distributer and build the motor as close to a 425 as I can get or go back to a single carb. What would you guys suggest? Are there any issues I should be aware of?

Thank you

Dirk

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It still surprises me how easy things are when you have the right help. The numbers don't lie. While I am still very happy with the car, it is not what I had hoped. The block # matches the VIN # so it is the original motor. However the stamp on the left side is LT so the motor is a 401 not the 425 as I was told. Someone must have added the 2x4 set up at some point in time.

Now, I am not quite sure what to do with the motor. It needs to be rebuilt anyway, so do I find the right distributer and build the motor as close to a 425 as I can get or go back to a single carb. What would you guys suggest? Are there any issues I should be aware of?

Thank you

Dirk

Plenty of good going on:

65 Riviera

Dual quads

A 425 is basically a 401 with larger cylinder bores (less meat) which makes the 401 of favorite of many builders.

Most guys didn't know or think to swap distributors. My KW 65 Gran Sport had the 64 distributor which I upgraded to "correctly curved" unit with electronic points and cannot tell any difference. Dual quads can be a royal PITA with issues. IMO the 66 Rochester was a better, more reliable runner but 2-4's on Buick is sinister.

You have a world of options.

Do the clamshells work?

Mike

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A complete dual four barrel set-up, manifold, carbs, linkage, kick-down bracket and switch, a/c bracket, breather assembly, and distributor could be sold for a lot of money that would get you started down to the road on other things that you might want to do.

Ed

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Mike and Ed,

I honestly doubt that the clam shells work. I first saw this car 20 years ago while I was working in MT. My boss collected Wildcats and bought everything he could find with a nailhead in it. The car ran when he got it. However, he told me that the previous owner thought he heard it knocking. I thought it was cool but I could not afford to make him an offer on it. It sat outside for the next 10 years until another employee made arrangements to buy it. I helped him to get the car running. The engine smoked but I would expect that after we had soaked the cylinders with oil. He drove it around the block and promptly figured out it had no brakes. The motor sounded good and there was no knocking. He parked the car and in a strange turn of events left the company about a week later without paying for the car. I also left the company shortly thereafter. About 5 years ago I called and asked if the car was still there and if it were for sale. Unfortunately I was told it was sold. I forgot all about it. Then about two weeks ago I was talking to my former boss and I mentioned I wanted to build a rat rod and was wondering if he had a nailhead he would part with. He told me he actually still had this car and that the last guy never showed up to buy the car. I made him an offer thinking the car was too far gone to salvage and I was just buying the motor and trans. Well after some haggling he accepted my $750.00 offer and I was there that weekend with cash in hand. To my surprise the car is in better shape than I thought. The burgundy paint is completely shot but there are no dents or noticeable rust. The interior would need to be replaced. I am not sure what to do with it at this point. I can't pull the motor and trans, that just seems wrong. However, I cannot afford to restore it at this time.

Now to make matters worse.... He offered me a second car. It is also a 65 Riviera. The car is in great shape. It is dark green with a green interior. Everything works. It is stored inside a heated building on jack stands with a car cover. The engine and transmission are out of it. They both have been professionally rebuilt. The engine does have the dual fours as well and I was told it is a 425. He offered it to me for 5K. Now my issue is that I do not have the cash. In order to buy it I would have to sell the one I have now. But I do not think mine is worth 5k in the condition it's in. So I am in between a rock and a hard place. Besides I am not liking the idea of selling it.

Sorry for the essay here but I just thought you may find it interesting. I would post pics but I cannot seem to do it with my phone.

Dirk

Edited by Crisdimel1 (see edit history)

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Welcome to the forum Dirk,

To get your current car reliable and safe to drive as well as a some cosmetic improvements you'll spend 5k without blinking an eye and thats if you do all the work yourself. I'm saying that based on what you have stated and the pictures. that dual quad setup looks like it could be from a 66. Check the carb numbers or get a close up pic if you can and post. Look for a stamp on the passenger side front facing base plate of each carb. If a 66 setup it might increse the jingle a bit as they are a bit more rare.

As far as the other car sure maybe the engine was rebuilt by a professional but the word "professional" is used very loosely especially when it comes to nailheads because there just aren't that many out there. A pro chevy engine builder likely isn't a pro nailhead builder. If you can get complete documentation on the build with everything that was done, clearances after the build, etc then contact the builder and ask them if they will stand behind it when its finally started it might not be a bad project. Without that info otherwise all the risk is yours hoping the engine will be OK and you should buy it assuming there will be a problem with it. Many things can go wrong on a build, most related to human error but some due to inferior parts. If you get a commitment for the engine builder the $5k car may be a decent buy if the paint and chrome are in nice condition and body is solid, floors, trunk, etc.

If you haven't already, consider becoming a member of ROA. Best money you'll spend if you are a Riviera owner.

Forgot to note you got a killer deal on that car for $750. Congrats!

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)

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Jason,

I was able to take a few pictures. Manifold casting #13070316B - M4

FF838877-34F9-4D52-93DB-2E6103118D9B_zps7suwen6g.jpg

ABE16770-B533-4343-8D70-8FBF98CF44B2_zpslp8te3lt.jpg

The carb numbers are the same both are 3921S - B5

A7B615AE-FFDE-47BF-8DA2-FFF5B19459A2_zpsj0rgaa3h.jpg

FB349964-A389-464E-80A4-CCC05D4D0B0C_zpsj4uvwqpq.jpg

6DB80862-F365-4F20-8B72-E0CDEDA9EE55_zpspoh53igd.jpg

Edited by Crisdimel1 (see edit history)

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Neither carb is from a factory dual four barrel set up; they were both originally a single four barrel carb for a 1965 with the 401 cubic inch engine w/ automatic transmission. After you've been around for a while, you'd know right away that these carbs are not correct - they both have chokes. :(

The next thing you should do is look at the block surface where the valley cover sits. At the front on the machined surface you'll find two sets of numbers. There will be two letters on your left as you face the engine. For 65 you should find an L. Along with the L will be either a T for 401, W for 425, or X for the 425 dual four barrel engine. On the right, you'll find a longer number, that longer number should match the VIN on the cowl and the title.

Good luck with the car and ask questions as they come up.

Ed

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Ed,

I appreciate the information. I have checked the block and the stamp is LT so I have the 401. The block # matches the VIN so it is the original engine. I just need to figure out what I am going to do with it.

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Do like I did. Figure out what it's going to cost you to restore it. Then triple that amount. :rolleyes:

The first thing you want to do is to make sure that it's safe to drive. Then get everything working. Figure out what you have and where you stand with it. Then make a decision as to what to do. If it were me, I'd go back to a single four barrel carb (you've got two to choose from) and confirm that you have a single four barrel distributor. Check out the compression, do the brakes, make sure all the electrical items work, and take a look at all the bushings. If you get it safe to drive without much hassle, then you can think about the restoration, rectification, modify it, or customize it.

Ed

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OK Cris: I studied the pictures. Out of 100% of all the cars people tackle to restore this is certainly a worthy candidate. And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Several things make it so.....

1. It's a 65 Riv and that by it self puts up at the top.

2. The whole car looks solid in and out. The body looks reasonably straight and not rusty, the interior looks like it's not too far gone, the chrome looks straight and except for the high performance items like the carb setup, stripes and reupholstered seats, it looks like it hasn't been too messed with.

3. The minor negatives...which to some aren't that negative are that there's no a/c or full tint. You can do a full tint change-over with out going through hoops of fire if it meant that much to you. A/c more involved but again, it's up to you.

4. Burgundy with black is a sensational color for a sensational car.

So there's my take through "MY ROSE COLORED GLASSES". Truthfully, I am having trouble finishing many projects I've started. And, yes, it takes dough and energy to fix 'em up but if you didn't want to fix up a very special car you would have leased a new Accord at $225 per month. Mitch

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OK Cris: I studied the pictures. Out of 100% of all the cars people tackle to restore this is certainly a worthy candidate. And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Several things make it so.....

1. It's a 65 Riv and that by it self puts up at the top. Mitch

That's just Mitch's opinion, some of us like the '63's and '64's for reasons that are just as valid as what he imagines his reasons are for the '65 :rolleyes:

#'s 2, 3, and 4 I'll agree with

Ed

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Well guys, It seems to me that I only have two options. I am not willing to pull the motor and trans and sell the body. I think it needs to stay as a complete car. So I can either sell it as is, or start to slowly work on it. I am more interested in making it drivable. But I still would like to know what it is worth as is? I have no idea what a fair price would be. Also where is a good source for parts? Motor parts seem easy enough but what about interior items? Is there anyone that makes a complete wiring harness for these cars? Most of this one is just junk. If not, I will have to find someone that can rewire it. Mechanical things are easy enough but I have a hard time just fixing trailer lights!

Thanks

Dirk

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That's why we collect Rivieras; no reproduction parts so we become hunters and hoarders. The parts are out there, it will just take patience to find them. Clarks Corvair makes excellent reproduction interiors and handles lots of other parts as well. CARS Inc. has a lot of good stuff, as well as other vendors, and then there are the collectors. The ads in the back of each Riview have lists of things that other ROA members have for sale that will help you with your project. There are guys like Gene Guarnere, Larry Daisy, and others who don't sell parts as a vocation but have lots of stuff. Somewhere out there is the wiring harness you need as well as the other parts that will get you to the point where you'll continue to add value to the car until you reach the point you won't want to sell it; it will be just too kool to part with.

Ed

PS The link to the ROA is in my signature line and the application process is easy. Cheapest/best $30 you can spend on getting your project off the ground.

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Ed,

I don't want to sell it now.... I really want to drive it.

My experience here has been nothing but positive. It will certainly be a long road to getting this car back on the road but with good people helping it will be possible. I have joined the ROA and am looking forward driving this car.

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OK Ed: When I said a 65 Riv is at the top I was referring to Cris's car as compared to the majority of other special interest cars in the solar system. I wasn't singling out the 63 or the 64 Riv as being inferior although

Cris: I stand by everything I said. Even drug owda da river...it's a 65 Riviera! Value? My "guess" is $1,200 not running, running, a couple's grand. A really mechanically sound dependable driver...5K! Mitch

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I have a 64 riviera super wildcat. The Engine completely rebuilt less than 500 miles ago. Cleaned every nut and bolt on it. Painted to original color. all new pumps, all new hoses. bigger cam, lowered. With flowmasters. perfect red leather interior not 1 rip, not 1 dent on the car. It is immaculate.  Make an offer before it's sold October 19th at the Barrett Jackson 7029851992

IMG_1532.JPG

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