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I have been working on slowly making this car a real gem and want to add factory options that it didn't come with. I would like to add a factory air conditioning unit to it. I know I would have to replace parts of the dash but what else would be involved in that installation? I am ok with a decrease in gas milage i just want this to be the optioned out car that my grandfather wish he could have had. I would also like to add power windows, and cruise control. I know that I could take the power windows out of anther riviera and add them in with out too much hassle but I am wondering how many parts there are to the cruise control system. I would also like if possible to find the automatic head light dimmer system. My grandfather didn't have a lot of options but I would like to add as many as possible. let me know of places that I might be able to find these parts and information about installation or an expert I can talk to or call.   

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Maybe not what you want to hear, but...  If you're not too far into this project and don't have a great attachment to this particular vehicle, you might be way ahead to start with a car which already has power windows and AC.  They're not hard to find, and retrofitting AC is a PITA and adding power windows is going to require complete interior panel replacement.  Point being, these upgrades are neither fast nor cheap.  The cost of doing them will likely exceed the difference in cost between what you have now and what a new car would cost in similar condition.

 

Cruise requires a new speedo, additional harness, switch, vacuum lines, the under hood module, and probably something that I forgot.  If you buy a factory system, make sure you get it all.  But again, cruise-equipped cars aren't rare.

 

All things considered, a car with the deluxe interior will already have power windows and is more likely to have AC and cruise.  You might start sniffing around (look at the Riviera forum here for starters, then join the ROA) to see what's available.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

And one other thing: it will be obvious to anyone who is familiar with these cars that this car did not come from the factory with those options.  You will take a hit on the value because of that.  In short, it will take more time, cost more money, and be worth less than starting with a car optioned out from the factory.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)

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I had a Black 63 that I wanted to do the same thing. I found a 63 in a junk yard outside of Charlotte that was an aire car. I visited it many times and finally decided it was just to much work for my skills and ability. If you really wanted to add air  a parts car with air would be the way to go.  The yard had nothing but interesting 1950-1970 cars and was on the road to Denver, NC if my questionable memory is correct. This was in 1978 so it is probably long gone.

 

Dave

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It was my grandfathers car so there is sentimental value. With that being said it won’t be sold just passed down. I want the car to be the very best version it can be. The car is very complete, runs and drives, and only has minor problems like it is in need of an alignment and is missing small things like one of the emblems on the door sill that says “body by fisher”. I am willing to do the work to add these options to make it more comfortable to drive and more of what he wished it had. I like the idea of finding a car with these options and transferring them. Unfortunately, my grandfather, one night back in the 70’s, was drunk and put it in a ditch so the front left fender, directional grille, and the front bumper and so the paint doesn’t match the rest of the car. It isn’t bad but it is a cream gloss and the rest of the he cars paint has been faded to white and the paint is starting to bubble. It is still just surface and non has turned to bad yet but I realize that I will also have to have it painted. That is somthing I would leave to a professional. It having been in an accident, not being a high optioned car I don’t feel bad upgrading it. I don’t want to add anything modern as I don’t want a resto mod, I just want to be able to add some options to make it a better driver. These old cars are meant to be run. And that is what I would like to do. Would anyone here ever had their Buick painted Andrew have an estimate of cost?

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I agree with Kongaman's overall comments but understand the sentimental value thing. To add all these options your best bet will be to buy a completely loaded parts car and transfer things, just get ready for lots of grief getting pieces rebuilt or refinished. I had a 63 with factory air and it is one of the most complicated and weirdly designed systems around, IMO you would be better off using and aftermarket system such as Vintage Air which is exactly what I did.

 

If you seriously go ahead you should move this discussion to the Buick ROA forum further down, many experts there with many opinions.

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Not exactly Rivera but close.

 

In 1964 Ford stopped issuing a parts department 'kit' to add air conditioning to a new Thunderbird (a similar car) that was not factory equipped. This is because the time estimated to add A/C by a dealership mechanic to a new 1963 Thunderbird was 30 hours(!) 

The service/sales bulletin suggested that if you want an air conditioned Thunderbird it must be ordered that way from the factory. 

 

Adding factory A/C is no small feat and recommended only for an experienced restorer. 

 

Rivera people, is there any original literature suggesting if A/C could be added? or how long it would take? 

 

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A donor car is a must if you want a factory A/C. The dash is not half as bad as replacing the firewall for the Evaporator/heater/ blower assy.

Since this is a sentimental car to you, why not restore the car the way your grandfather drove it. Adding a non stock A/C which is the easiest/cheapest way is not what your grandfather was thinking about when he was thinking about A/C.

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On 2/4/2019 at 6:24 PM, m-mman said:

Not exactly Rivera but close.

 

In 1964 Ford stopped issuing a parts department 'kit' to add air conditioning to a new Thunderbird (a similar car) that was not factory equipped. This is because the time estimated to add A/C by a dealership mechanic to a new 1963 Thunderbird was 30 hours(!) 

The service/sales bulletin suggested that if you want an air conditioned Thunderbird it must be ordered that way from the factory. 

 

Adding factory A/C is no small feat and recommended only for an experienced restorer. 

 

Rivera people, is there any original literature suggesting if A/C could be added? or how long it would take? 

 

Yes, Buick marketed add on AC kits for Rivieras. I have never had the kit but I do have the installation instructions for a `63 model with templates, etc...

Tom Mooney

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  Another consideration is the fact, although not mandatory, most all customers and dealers ordered a full set of tinted glass with the AC option. So functionally, if you want to make the most of AC, a full set of tinted glass will also be in order....lots of work!

  Maybe standard interior power windows and vents with a new tinted windshield would suffice?! That would be a reasonable amount of work and render the car relatively comfortable to drive/operate...just tryng to help,

Tom Mooney

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Welcome to the forum creamcolored63. I understand your desire to add options but will suggest you are better off leaving the car as-is and focusing on insuring its mechanically sound, safe and reliable to drive so you can drive and enjoy it just like your grandfather did. that alone is a big enough challenge. All too often when the dismantling stage of a major project starts it leads to the car being immobile for months and years robbing owners of enjoyment behind the wheel.

That car represents what your grandfather chose at the time whether it be because of his likes or what the pocket book could afford. Consider the importance of "sentimental" reasons to maintain his choices at the time he purchased it. Back then, a 63 Riviera was a magnificent car to own....and still is. So much so that even then owning one with little options was prestigious......and still is!

 

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I agree with everything JZRIV said above. Adding a/c is a pain in the ass. Power windows are nice, but when they go wrong........ That being said, my 65 is pretty well equipped, and has both options. When I added things to mine, they were relatively simple things to install, like the wood wheel and four note horns. I am about to add the vacuum trunk release as well. Point being, lots of options CAN mean lots of issues if they go wrong. I would imagine that the cruise control and Guidematic would be somewhat challenging to get working right. You got a nice car, and I sure understand sentimental value. I think you should concentrate on getting it really nice, and enjoy driving it. BTW, the factory air on my car quit a few years before I bought it, and the previous owner installed a Vintage Air unit and integrated it into my factory vents. His claim was that the factory setup was going to cost a fortune to repair, and this was a better way to go. You could get a Vintage setup, and the panels with the vents in them from an a/c car, and integrate that system. It may not blow the snowballs that big factory A6 axial compressor would loaded with R12, but it is a pretty good system nonetheless.

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On 2/3/2019 at 3:30 PM, creamcolored63 said:

With that being said it won’t be sold just passed down.

 

I would highly recommend you get the potential heir involved in that car as soon as possible. Sometimes sentimental value is not transferable.

 

Bernie

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When Buick built a car with a/c the first acknowledgement of that accessory was probably when the firewall was stamped before it was joined to the rest of the body panels.  Doing modifications like that would be a tremendous task. 

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OK: Factory a/c in this cream colored  Riv is a fool's errand. Too much work and you'll be hog tied and want to bail quickly, Grampa's car or not.  If a/c is that much of an issue there are several outfits that install aftermarket that works great.  Options on this Riv?  Just buy a loaded one as there are plenty out there. I have 3 63 Rivs loaded . They're out there.  You can have Grampa's extreme poverty Riv and a loaded one.  Mitch 

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19 hours ago, 1965rivgs said:

  Another consideration is the fact, although not mandatory, most all customers and dealers ordered a full set of tinted glass with the AC option. So functionally, if you want to make the most of AC, a full set of tinted glass will also be in order....lots of work!

  Maybe standard interior power windows and vents with a new tinted windshield would suffice?! That would be a reasonable amount of work and render the car relatively comfortable to drive/operate...just tryng to help,

Tom Mooney

OK Tom: I have a super loaded 63 Rive.....with NO tint.  I wonder what happened there. Mitch

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4 minutes ago, lrlforfun said:

OK Tom: I have a super loaded 63 Rive.....with NO tint.  I wonder what happened there. Mitch

As I stated Mitch, the tinted glass option was not mandatory with AC but most A/C cars I have encountered also have tinted glass. I have seen exceptions like your car...ultimately up to the owner. Maybe they didnt want green glass against a beige colored car?

Tom

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So here are some answers 

- I am the heir of this car and don’t plan on creating and “heirs” any time soon as I am 21 so for now it will just be for my personal enjoyment

 

- I do have access to a full shop of a friends that does restorations but due to what has been stated here, even to add an aftermarket one I think will take away from the car. I this JZRIV said it best 

“That car represents what your grandfather chose at the time whether it be because of his likes or what the pocket book could afford. Consider the importance of "sentimental" reasons to maintain his choices at the time he purchased it. Back then, a 63 Riviera was a magnificent car to own....and still is. So much so that even then owning one with little options was prestigious......and still is!”

 

- I think my new plan may be to just take it and convert the front brakes to disk brakes to make it stop a little better and look for some of the smaller accessories like the dash purse hook and I the makeup mirror and tissue box, maybe a factory tach, if I really feel up to it I may consider the cruise control but that wouldn’t Be till farther down the road when I have a shop of my own. The big project that will be next is the radiator core that has failed and I have heard that is a huge project. 

 

- I will probably buy a 63’ of similar options and color for a backup of parts 

 

- as of right now it goes through all the gears, starts no problem ( it was 9 degrees out when the picture was taken) just a quick squirt of starter fluid, brakes work well, the pedal won’t return so I need to figure that out but I can pull it back with my foot and the brakes will work. All the lights work, gauge cluster except clock works and once the car was started and condensation formed in the gauge with the fuel level and engine temp. 

 

- here is a photo from the other day when it was running

 

AD538593-7617-4E19-9CC9-508BB1E950EF.png

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3 hours ago, lrlforfun said:

OK Tom: I have a super loaded 63 Rive.....with NO tint.  I wonder what happened there. Mitch

The salesman probably slipped up or got distracted.

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11 hours ago, creamcolored63 said:

 

“All  the lights work, gauge cluster except clock works “

 

 

 

Hi Creamcoloured63 and welcome to the forum.

 

The clock is possibly repairable and there are a couple of good articles here and on the net that describe the process! Mine is now working thanks to the help from these.

 

I have also replaced the radiator core ( which is no big deal) however I think you might be meaning the heater core, which is fun. If you have replaced one, you get a medal and go into the Riviera Hall of Fame. 😀😀😀😀

 

Seriously the heater core is a long job. But like eating an elephant, just tackle it bit by bit by bit. The ROA site has some great procedures, just take lots of pics along the way. And the Harrison heater cores used as original equipment are well made and I was able to have mine repaired rather than rely on an after market core made who knows where.

 

With some TLC, your grandpas Riv should come up to scratch, inside looks magic. Just keep doing “one thing everyday”

 

cheers Rodney “down under” 😀😀😀😀😀😀

 

 

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11 hours ago, creamcolored63 said:

- I think my new plan may be to just take it and convert the front brakes to disk brakes to make it stop a little better and look for some of the smaller accessories like the dash purse hook and I the makeup mirror and tissue box, maybe a factory tach, if I really feel up to it I may consider the cruise control but that wouldn’t Be till farther down the road when I have a shop of my own. The big project that will be next is the radiator core that has failed and I have heard that is a huge project. 

 

More food for thought as you plan your projects

I have seen many 1st and 2nd generation Riviera owners automatically think they have to add disc brakes because the "drums at all 4 corners are weak". Its just what a lot of people do on their mainstream antique car right? This rationale comes from the majority of lower level models across most brands built in that time period. Yes the drum brake systems on those cars weren't that good but the big Buicks were an exception and had what many consider to be among the best engineered drum brake system ever put on a production car. We all know the benefits of disc brakes but how many people will drive their Riviera is such a way that it pushes the limits of the braking system to where it becomes a safety factor? Very few.

When people convert to discs, they say "major improvement"! But often that's is because the drum system was well worn and out of adjustment. They aren't comparing it to a drum system in top condition. Rebuilding a drum system having all drums turned/trued, properly installed high quality brake shoes and hardware, then properly adjusted will often make a significant difference in brake performance on these cars. The single reservoir master cylinder does increase safety risk should it fail vs the dual master that started in 1967. You can convert to a dual master on your 63 fairly easy if you want that extra margin of safety.

One of the first things on your list should be a total restoration of the brake system starting with the master cylinder, wheel cylinders, rubber flex hoses, inspect the steel lines for corrosion, and have the drums trued and replace brake shoes/hardware as needed. If you don't have one already, buy a 63 Chassis service manual. It will be your best friend.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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Agreed.......no problem with braking on these cars.......the factory  giant finned aluminum drum brakes will stop on a dime and give you

nine cents change. The car needs a lot of work.....what you need to concentrate on is restoring it back to it's original condition.....adding

options can come later. The only thing you might want   to do on the brakes is convert it to a dual chamber master cylinder for safety reasons.

You should be very glad that your car has crank windows and a manually adjusted seat  that don't break every five minutes.......your Grandpa  was a smart guy!

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, JZRIV said:

They aren't comparing it to a drum system in top condition.

 

Or most of the other peer inspired obligatory system "upgrades".

If the brake pedal does not return pull off a drum and peel back a wheel cylinder cup. You will probably find brown mud. Here is a snip from a Youtube vid that I consider a moderate amount. Usually there is much more mud and the piston will be stuck.

wheelcylinder.thumb.JPG.06a4c6afb7a6cf9060bfe7e41d57efa0.JPG

 

My- not quite extreme poverty- Riviera has AC but crank windows. If I had a grandson he would be sitting in the passenger seat rolling them up and down on command.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

You should be very glad that your car has crank windows and a manually adjusted seat  that don't break every five minutes.......your Grandpa  was a smart guy!

If you can't get power windows and seat working reliably, you have no business owning an old car.

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