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Riviera Assembly Manuals First Generation

Glenn McMahon

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Yes, they are out there, but pretty rare.  I have one for the '63 Riv.  Many of the illustrations in it are the same as you see in the shop manual, but there are others.  Plus there are others.  And there is text regarding the manufacturing process.


I've never seen one of the Chevy books you refer to, but I doubt it will help you much with the Riv.

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I've got one for my '77 Camaro (which is really for the '71 model year).  Due to the nature of the beast, I suspect that all assembly manuals, whether GM or whatever, will have some significant similarities in many areas.  Still, I feel you'll need one specific to the Rivieras of your general model year (i.e., 1st gen as a car rather than a model of carline).


I was totally surprised at how much detail was in that book (for the 2nd gen Camaro)!  But considering how it documents assembly line processes, such detail is completely necessary.  Not the sequence of assembly, but things like every drop (really!) of lubricant for things like door hinges (and WHERE on the hinge it went).  EVERY item on the car which has a "cost" to it is detailed in the manual.


Another very interesting and informative section of the book dealt with vehicle options , subsystems, and equipment.  For example, as the power steering pump would be an item added to the engine on the assembly line, there was a page with that group of parts detailed and illustrated.  In the power steering pump item, the illustration would be not the "guts" of the pump, but the pump assembly with all fasteners it took to attach the pump and related items (hoses, belts, brackets, etc.) . . . all of which can be invaluable in putting something "back right".  Additionally, if there were any engineering changes between the original proposal and when the vehicle went into production, those changes are also noted, explained, and dated on the respective page.  Of course, these component sets are listed by option number rather than by description, which can be even better.


In the case of radios on the Camaro, each variation was listed, as were the speakers.  It was when I got the manual that I came to find that the Camaro was originally slated to have 4 speakers (like the Firebirds did) rather than just a front/rear stereo set-up.  Probably the result of later revisions to keep costs down, I suspect, or perhaps complaints from Pontiac about Chevy being a little too upscale?  Anyway, all of these things are there, too.


From a restoration perspective, these manuals can put to rest any and all concerns about fasteners and hose clamps, for example.  EACH is detailed about how the clamp is to be positioned on the hose (related not only to clearance issues, but also very possibly "ease of assembly on the line".  As a tower hose clamp for the upper radiator hose would be clocked a specified number of degrees from "12 O'clock" for its final position.  Plus the spring steel band clamps' placements and colors.  In the area of hose clamps, there IS a correct manner and placement of these clamps related to the "hump" on the tube they might slide over and seal.


From an education perspective, going through these manuals and learning the many things they have to offer can be extremely informative about how to fix/repair vehicles in general.  NOTHING is left to "chance", but "specified" precisely as to how it should be.  Once you know these things, you can spot an unmolested original vehicle very easily OR a vehicle that was restored "by the book/manual" as many things detailed in the book are not normally how people do things "in the field", by observation.  In THIS area only, seeing a Chevy book can be of value as you can then relate them to the Buick (or whatever GM brand) you are concerned with as many of these things can be more "corporate specific" rather than "carline specific".  Therefore, spending the money for one of these manuals can be a judgment call on your part . . . or to purchase one and later re-sell it at a swap meet or something.


ONE thing not in these manuals would be the many "inspection marks" placed on the respective items by line inspectors.  Like a paint daub on a particular "nut on a stud" to verify that correct fastening torque was applied to these fasteners on the line, for example, or paint stripes to help identify particular components for assembly (as they await "their vehicle" to come down the line) rather than having to remember "option codes" or match "paper tag with vehicle".  Or the inspection stamps on completed components (i.e., a/c compressors, power steering pumps, alternators) as these stamps would have been applied when those items initially passed inspection where they were originally assembled prior to shipment to the vehicle assembly plant (and possibly "off-line assembly" areas of the assembly line).


These books CAN give you a sense of how the vehicle was assembled on the assembly line, when you consider all of the parts together.  Remember, too, that these manuals are concerned with what happens to the vehicle after it leaves the "body shop" area of the plant, so sheet metal assembly (generally) is not in the manual.  For those items, you'll need the parts manual illustrated views (or a Chilton or Motor Crash Manual) to see how these items go together.


Personally, I believe that some of these obscure (but important) factory publications could be put on DVD or .pdf file formats!  There are MANY things in them that could further elevate the level of execution of "correct" restorations AND knowledge of what should have been on the cars when they left the factory.  Things which have generally been "left to experts" (however loosely that word might be defined) rather than having something other than a factory service manual or sales brochure (each of which can have their own level of inaccuracies, due to when they had to go to print prior to the finalized production of the vehicles) to illustrate and define.  Hopefully, there would be enough demand (not "need") for these items to now reappear by enthusiasts and otherwise.  Maybe not every model year, but representative model years when the platform changed.  Finding the archives, at this point in time, might be difficult, though.


Just some thoughts and observations,


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Welcome to the club.  I bought my '64 based on and inspection by a friend.  Needless to say that he wasn't familiar with Rivieras.  I've been luck to find guys locally whose cars are still as they came from the factory.  I go to their place, with a list in hand and take pictures. Then the search begins.


I've found a lot of info that's applicable, but not in the chassis or shop manuals, on the Dealer Service Bulletin disks that I got from Jim Cannon (post #2 above.)



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