Gonzo

Newbie with a '63, dont let me ruin it!

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  • Another newby. thanks in advance for your knowledge and wisdom. lol. and apologize for the long first post.
 

About me,  although Im a quick study and can usually figure out mechanics and such, I am by far NO experienced mechanic.

 

A few months back I bought a 64 riv, as a project for my 12 yo daughter and I. Big mistake. I didn't inspect properly and acted impulsively. It has a 425, runs, seats are in really great shape. The car and all chrome has been shake can painted flat black, (WHY!). The rest of the car is pretty much consists of rust and rot. best way to advertise to get it off my driveway, looking for $3000 OR b.o.

 

NOW, I wised up and bought another. This is a '63, pictured. I will have so many questions as this awesome daddy daughter project goes on. those with experience, where to start? i want to keep as stock as possible without being a complete fanatic, (not that thats a bad thing.) purists are impressive to me and they are the ones with the most knowledge, so big respect. 

It runs beautiful, well cared for by the previous owner, but never really restored, just lovingly, and I mean lovingly, he teared up when I was about to drive away cared for. 

a few of  many questions to come for the '63. 

wonder bar, how does it work?

is there a way to get the original sticker info to id options that may not be on the data plate? 

 First thing I should do. I was going to start with radio, mainly because I've it before. 

 thanks again. 

i translated the data plate but the are a few things on there that im not sure about, IE: 717-J2. 717 is blue, but J2?

 

data plate 63.jpg

63 riv passenger side. .jpeg

63 riv dash board drivers side.jpeg

20190504_111056.jpg

20190430_161149.jpg

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16 hours ago, Gonzo said:

wonder bar, how does it work?

 

Look at the driver's toe board - I think you'll find what looks like a 2nd high-beam switch.  Pressing the floor switch (the 'other' one) should cause the radio to start searching for a signal.

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The radio should  automatically seek the next AM broadcast station when you hit the button.  Two big problems.  There are limited AM stations and none may be strong enough to satisfy the signal requirements, in which case the radio may continue to advance through the dial till it is stopped.   There may be a floor foot activated switch, but that was a 50's thing and I am not certain it survived into 63 and beyond.

 

There are several options to mitigate this.  One is to search for a 63/64 AM/FM radio. They did not have tapes then.  Another may be to have your radio rebuilt to include an am/fm band option.  A third is to replace the radio with a modern unit, but that's kinda cheesy looking in my opinion.  And yet another is to have your AM radio modified to include an input jack from which you can plug in any or many varieties of sources for entertainment.  I had this done on my older cars and yes, the stereo plays both channels through the factory single channel circuitry and you do not lose any of the signal.  

 

I have heard that 63 Riviera's did not have a front speaker due to design limitations with those center hanging heater controls.  I am not certain that it correct.  But if it is not there, do not be surprised. With only one rear seat speaker you would have to channel stereo amplifiers to play out of the one speaker or install at least one other speaker. 

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1963 Rivieras did have a foot control for the Wonderbar radio.  Because of the placement of the heater and a/c controls, the 63 Riviera did not (and cannot) have a center mounted dash speaker.  J2 is rhe code for a 4-way power seat.  No a/c but a rear window defogger - must have originally been a northern climate car.  The slide bar on the Wonderbar is a sensitivity control; kind of determines the range and power of the signals you can receive.

 

717 is blue cloth with vinyl bolsters 

 

The "bullet" on the dash is a Guidematic. Automatically dims your headlights when an on coming car is detected.  Won't dim when coming upon a slower moving car in front of you though.  Depress the dimmer switch halfway to override the automatic function.

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RivNut, it is a northeast car. I'm the fourth owner. I have some history of the car.

Thanks for the clues guys.   There actually is a floor button and it works! Not that I can get more than a Spanish language station and almost a sports channel.  

I may put a stereo in the glove box, or something but I dont think I want to mess with the original radio. I'll have to see what others have done. I've had this Riv about a week and I dont want to rush anything and regret it after. 

20190430_154802.jpg

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8 hours ago, Gonzo said:

RivNut, it is a northeast car. I'm the fourth owner. I have some history of the car.

Thanks for the clues guys.   There actually is a floor button and it works! Not that I can get more than a Spanish language station and almost a sports channel.  

I may put a stereo in the glove box, or something but I dont think I want to mess with the original radio. I'll have to see what others have done. I've had this Riv about a week and I dont want to rush anything and regret it after. 

20190430_154802.jpg

Gonzo,

  Have an original AM-FM radio refurbished/upgraded with an aux jack and add to the value of the car in addition to expanding your audio choices. Generally, the "retrofit" radios dont seem to hold up well and take away from originality. In addition, a glovebox radio doesnt do anything to add value to the car and you lose your glovebox!

Tom Mooney

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Is it from a 63? What are you asking for it? What model radio is it? 

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You can do the same thing to a basic Sonomatic AM radio.  Contact Matt at RediRad and see what he might recommend.  RediRad connects connects to your antenna lead.  Plug in your MP3 player or your smart phone or what ever you have, and that signal then goes through your antenna.  You could even connect a RediRad to the Wonderbar that's in there now.

 

 

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3 hours ago, RivNut said:

You can do the same thing to a basic Sonomatic AM radio.  Contact Matt at RediRad and see what he might recommend.  RediRad connects connects to your antenna lead.  Plug in your MP3 player or your smart phone or what ever you have, and that signal then goes through your antenna.  You could even connect a RediRad to the Wonderbar that's in there now.

 

 

7 hours ago, Gonzo said:

Is it from a 63? What are you asking for it? What model radio is it? 

1963 was the first year AM-FM radio was available as a factory option. Any full size `63-`64 radio will interchange and install into a `63-`64 Riviera. The original AM-FM factory radio in the first gen cars is desireable and adds to the appeal and value of the car. If I was considering investing in audio, and the quality and variables were similar, I would invest in the alternative which returns the most upon resale. Realistically, the cost to refurbish and add modern features to an original AM-FM, cosmetically correct radio may provide a full return of cost on resale. Why invest that expenditure in a "typical" radio?? Hence, my recommendation to invest in an original AM-FM radio. Good luck!

Tom Mooney

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Thank you Tom Mooney. I misread your first comment. I thought you were saying you had one for sale.  I reread and realize what you meant. Thank you for the info. Such a wealth of experience on this forum. Much appreciated. 

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15 hours ago, Gonzo said:

Thank you Tom Mooney. I misread your first comment. I thought you were saying you had one for sale.  I reread and realize what you meant. Thank you for the info. Such a wealth of experience on this forum. Much appreciated. 

Gary,

I was moving some stuff around on some shelves today and found an AM "Sonomatic" radio that I didn't remember having.  I have no idea if it works and no way of checking it.  If you think youd like to have one to modify, I'd let it go fairly cheap.  Or if you like the looks of the Wonderbar, I've got one of those in the same condition.

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On 5/5/2019 at 3:17 PM, RivNut said:

1963 Rivieras did have a foot control for the Wonderbar radio.  Because of the placement of the heater and a/c controls, the 63 Riviera did not (and cannot) have a center mounted dash speaker.  J2 is rhe code for a 4-way power seat.  No a/c but a rear window defogger - must have originally been a northern climate car.  The slide bar on the Wonderbar is a sensitivity control; kind of determines the range and power of the signals you can receive.

 

717 is blue cloth with vinyl bolsters 

 

The "bullet" on the dash is a Guidematic. Automatically dims your headlights when an on coming car is detected.  Won't dim when coming upon a slower moving car in front of you though.  Depress the dimmer switch halfway to override the automatic function.

 

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Thanks Rivnut. I'm still researching how I want to deal with the sound system. Question though. I have the custom interior with the Baronet cloth inserts with blue vinyl, like you pointed out. Is there a place that sells that upholstery like I see the vinyl, or would I need a custom restore? 

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Posted (edited)

Calvin Clark, owner of Clark's Corvair also owns a Riviera.  He has all of th original materials and assembles all of the pieces into an excellent cover.  He has a complete line of interior and some other pieces.  

 

www.corvair.com

 

The website is mostly Chevrolet Corvair stuff but there's one link that puts you into his Riviera catalog.  Check it out, then we'll see how many other forum members post pictures or the interiors they've installed from Clark's.  

 

Here's a youtube link where Cal will tell you all about his company and take you on a tour showing you how Riviera interiors are made.

 

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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Gary, 

One other thing to remember about a sound system in a '63 is that even if you're an audiophile, and you don't want to butcher anything, there's only one and room for only one speaker in a '63 Riviera.  That's the one between the back seats.  Not until 64, when the heat and other controls were moved to the console, was there a front seat speaker.  So getting really fancy with a sound system is kind of a moot point.  No matter how many tracks the music was recorded on,  all sound comes from one speaker.  

 

Ed

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Oh yeah.  If you search through previous posts, you'll see comments about seat covers purchased from OPGI.  Most of the comments are negative.  OPGI is a distributor for other manufacturers.  In my opinion, OPGI sells inferior products at inflated prices. Or it's the same part as you can get other places for less.  Lots of stuff in their catalog will not fit a 1st generation Riviera even though it's in their catalog and they say it fits.  Lots of universal crap that they try to push off as Riviera stuff.

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 I have bought original seat fabric for my Buicks from SMS, do a search and you should find it. My opinion (and experience) only though, not cheap, but it was the exact stuff, and in perfect condition, and the guy was fine to deal with.

 Lovely car, too!

 Keith

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