MrILO

Possible purchase of a Riviera 65 GS

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Hi. This is my first post, from Italy. Hello.

Let me introduce myself first. I'm an electrical engineer, living in the North of Italy.

Over the years I've been working for a few automotive companies, mainly writing firmware, before starting my own engineering company 20 years ago - we're now a bunch of 10 people.

I have a couple of classic cars that I take care of in person in all the evenings I spend in my garage. If a complex transmission or engine work is needed, I must rely on a very good friend, a top mechanic. However, I can do quite a lot of other things but I don't consider myself an accomplished mechanic. I can do pretty much everything electric though :)
My grandad had a Buick Riviera 1965 (not GS), before selling it out to but a Lancia Fulvia 1600 HF that I will take care of until my son or daughter takes over :).

By chance I came across a Riviera 1965 GS (allegedly), at a reasonable price, in what may be a good condition. I'm going to check it out next week.

I'm tempted, frankly. The Riviera of '65 is gorgeous, and I have a soft tooth for it for the very obvious reason that it was my grand dad's.
 

I'm not an expert on these cars and I've been lurking and trying to learn as much as possible in a short time. I know I must check the LX and BS stampings to check if it's a real GS (I wouldn't be interested otherwise). It has all the GS plaques in the right place.

From pictures, interiors are in excellent shape, chromed bumpers may need new chroming.

 

Car has been repainted, I don't have the Fisher body plate picture yet, but the door hinge plate and the motor numbers match. The door hinge plate has been painted over during repaint (so that I'm SURE the car was repainted :) ), but the colour matches, from what I can tell, the original burgundy mist.

Car number and motor number match.

 

I will be very happy to read your advice. From picture the car is good. Over the phone, the seller reports that it needs work to have a 'concourse' car, but says it's in good condition and drives well. This has to be seen in person next week, and it's far from home.
Any advice is really welcome. It's not something that I want to do blindfolded, especially considered that finding spare parts in Italy may prove to be complicated to say the least. Last time I did it it went very well... but only because I had a donor car in my backyard!
 

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MrlLO,

 

   There is really NO WAY to  ideally Identify a Riv GS by numbers alone.  It's time for CAR forensics.  You have a good start with the engine & VIN numbers matching & IF the date codes match. Next is the trans. the BS is a good start, BUT there are MANY other small things that need to be taken into consideration.

   Parts for ID are in members only section as it's something most of us WILL NOT discuss over the internet as now ALL will have the info for a "Clone".

 

Tom T.

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Welcome to the forum MrILO,

 

As Tom T. states, it's not so simple to determine whether a Riviera was born as a Gran Sport.

 

You've hit on the obvious indicators, such as an LX  'Super Wildcat' engine with aluminum valve covers and dual four barrel carburetors, BS coded transmission, and of course those Gran Sport badges on the front fenders, trunk, and glove box.  There are many other things that distinguish a true GS from a regular Riviera and you'd be wise to become as educated as you can on these differences.  Among these are: different suspension, exhaust system, etc., etc. Beware these cars have been cloned - this has become more prevalent with the increase in their value that has occured in recent years.  For example, a presumably genuine Seafoam green Gran Sport recently sold on the Bring-a-Trailer website for almost $80,000 USD.  Such prices are not uncommon for good quality cars.  However, I would want to know that the car is genuine in order to pay anywhere near that amount, as they seem to bring anywhere upwards of $50,000 USD in very good (restored or original) condition.

 

Of course, you are in Italy. The market there for this type of car would be limited.  There are precious few Rivieras, little own Gran Sport Rivieras in your country, and likely the seller's door isn't being knocked down by many prosepective buyers.  For that reason alone you may be able to get the car for a good price.  But, be clear on exactly what you are buying! 

 

I suggest you post many photos of the car as you can to this forum.  As the seller to send you photos of everything - inside, engine, trunk,  undercarriage, etc.  Knowledgeable members here will be happy to give you opinions on whether the car may is genuine, or counterfeit.  There are some misconceptions out there about the Gran Sport and you'd be wise to learn them.  For example, the chromed 'Formula V' wheels were available as an option on all Rivieras, as was the deluxe interior with full length wood panels on the doors which included the ribbed  outside rocker mouldings along the bottom of the car.  Same goes for the wood wheel.  It was a separate option.  Many options could be ordered 'a la carte', which means that it's rare for two Rivieras to be exactly the same, and don't imply the car is necessarily a Gran Sport.  For example, one could order the. Super Wilcat dual four barrel engine on its own, separate from the Gran Sport option (however, the engine, unless faked, would have a different coding).  Those cars are actually rarer than the Gran Sport as only 454 were made vs. 3544 Gran sports.  Despite being rarer, these don't command the same price on the market as a Gran Sport.  As mentioned, those GS emblems are not indicative of anything, as they are about the easiest thing to graft onto a car in hopes of fooling a buyer.  In fact, the placement of the emblems can be a tip-off to a counterfeit car when they are not positioned correctly.

 

I've owned my '65 Gran Sport for 35 years, so would be happy to comment on your prospective purchase, as can others on this forum.  

 

Good luck on your research and on verifying the true identity of the Burgundy Mist Riviera!

 

 

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Thank you all very much. I will be at the seller's place next Wednesday and will take and post pictures of all the parts that seem to matter. I will not commit to buying anything before I get some feedback from those who know... 

Other than the GS identification, are there any known 'things to look for' when purchasing a '65 Riviera? In other words, items that are prone to break down and may need expensive spare parts - which in Italy may become prohibitive.

 

Then, if it is my destiny to own a Riviera, it will happen, otherwise it won't :)

I will keep you informed.

 

Thanks again

 

 

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We are all looking forward to seeing the pictures of this American in Italy...

 

 

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7 hours ago, 65VerdeGS said:

Welcome to the forum MrILO,

 

As Tom T. states, it's not so simple to determine whether a Riviera was born as a Gran Sport.

 

You've hit on the obvious indicators, such as an LX  'Super Wildcat' engine with aluminum valve covers and dual four barrel carburetors, BS coded transmission, and of course those Gran Sport badges on the front fenders, trunk, and glove box.  There are many other things that distinguish a true GS from a regular Riviera and you'd be wise to become as educated as you can on these differences.  Among these are: different suspension, exhaust system, etc., etc. Beware these cars have been cloned - this has become more prevalent with the increase in their value that has occured in recent years.  For example, a presumably genuine Seafoam green Gran Sport recently sold on the Bring-a-Trailer website for almost $80,000 USD.  Such prices are not uncommon for good quality cars.  However, I would want to know that the car is genuine in order to pay anywhere near that amount, as they seem to bring anywhere upwards of $50,000 USD in very good (restored or original) condition.

 

Of course, you are in Italy. The market there for this type of car would be limited.  There are precious few Rivieras, little own Gran Sport Rivieras in your country, and likely the seller's door isn't being knocked down by many prosepective buyers.  For that reason alone you may be able to get the car for a good price.  But, be clear on exactly what you are buying! 

 

I suggest you post many photos of the car as you can to this forum.  As the seller to send you photos of everything - inside, engine, trunk,  undercarriage, etc.  Knowledgeable members here will be happy to give you opinions on whether the car may is genuine, or counterfeit.  There are some misconceptions out there about the Gran Sport and you'd be wise to learn them.  For example, the chromed 'Formula V' wheels were available as an option on all Rivieras, as was the deluxe interior with full length wood panels on the doors which included the ribbed  outside rocker mouldings along the bottom of the car.  Same goes for the wood wheel.  It was a separate option.  Many options could be ordered 'a la carte', which means that it's rare for two Rivieras to be exactly the same, and don't imply the car is necessarily a Gran Sport.  For example, one could order the. Super Wilcat dual four barrel engine on its own, separate from the Gran Sport option (however, the engine, unless faked, would have a different coding).  Those cars are actually rarer than the Gran Sport as only 454 were made vs. 3544 Gran sports.  Despite being rarer, these don't command the same price on the market as a Gran Sport.  As mentioned, those GS emblems are not indicative of anything, as they are about the easiest thing to graft onto a car in hopes of fooling a buyer.  In fact, the placement of the emblems can be a tip-off to a counterfeit car when they are not positioned correctly.

 

I've owned my '65 Gran Sport for 35 years, so would be happy to comment on your prospective purchase, as can others on this forum.  

 

Good luck on your research and on verifying the true identity of the Burgundy Mist Riviera!

 

 

Also be aware that there are two types of Gran Sport scripts.  Early cars had a smaller script and the one on the rear panel was mounted below the Riviera script.  When the size was increased, the script on the rear panel was moved to the left side.

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Check that headlights open, electric windows work, if equiped with cruise control check if it works along with all other accesoryies and lights. I would also check how well it returns to proper idle by lightly stepping on the gas pedal and slowly releasing foot pressure off it. If it stays idled high after fully releasing gas pedal check dual quad linkage setup make sure its not hacked together and that everything is from factory including carbs. It may still not reurn to proper idle even if the car still has all the proper parts, ( linkage, carbs) but will be easier to correct than if you did not have all the proper parts. Good luck

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The ride and handling package - different rate springs - was NOT part of the Gran Sport package.  The H2 option was available as a separate option. 

 

If the Gran Sport package was an option, what's the difference between adding it to a base '65 than adding any other option to a base Riviera.  There's nothing in the VIN or any other numbers designating a car a Gran Sport.  Options are just that - optional. Whether they be rally wheels, custom interior, or any other numbers of things.

 

Just rambling thoughts, but.....

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- 3 days and I'm trying to do my homework...

Should I assume, from what I understand, that a car whose steering wheel turns about 2.5 turns stop to stop has the ride and handling package installed?

 

 

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Sorry MrlLO, but no.  If it came with the 15-1 ratio box it would be closer to 3 turns, but again I do have rebuilt boxes that are 2.5 turns Lock-lock.

 

 

Tom T.

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Thanks - in the meanwhile I've searched this forum and learned other very useful information.

I will let you know more tomorrow.

 

BTW, my real name is Maurizio Ferrari (not related to that Ferrari - it's a rather common family name in Italy). I have worked for the Ferrari F1 Team in the 90s though.

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MrlLO, 

 

   One of my customers who recently bought a '65 Riv. GS used to race Ferrari's all over the world in MANY various races.  Maybe you know or have meant up with him.  His name is Paul Papplardo.  From what I understand he was a noted driver in his time.

   That would be a heck of a co-insensate if you know of or had heard of him.

 

Tom T.

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No, unfortunately I've never met him.

 

I'm actually a bit gloomy, as the Riviera turned out to be a standard Riviera, with all the Gransport badges (both sides, rear, glove compartment)

 

DSC_1116.thumb.JPG.fe9ee5c55d40db814461244a3c7ae736.JPG

 

 

My personal feeling is that the seller was genuinely convinced that the car was a GS.

 

The engine block is marked LT, no finned aluminium covers, and no dual four barrel carbs either.

This was pretty much the end of my investigation, which didn't last long once the hood was open.

 

DSC_1127.thumb.JPG.57b8023f310d3f2028a22b053c6c78e2.JPG

 

Engine bay open

DSC_1123.thumb.JPG.0b5e1b0e2ce7794971f834357a419153.JPG

 

I imagine you can confirm that this is NOT a LX motor too. That 'T' is a really a 'T', right? It doesn't look like a X at all :(

 

The Fisher plate reports trim 628, which if I'm not wrong, is black, whereas the car is saddle vinyl.

ST 65-49447 FB 208273

TR 628 K2

EXNTS-2KR-3T-4F-5KW

Colour K2 is correct with the body. Some chippings, and paint appears to have cracked in a few places, mostly the hood. They way I'd have liked it to be, it would have needed a complete new paint job, most likely. The windshield must be replaced, as it's cracked, as well as most chrome small trimmings - damaged during previous repaint. Rear windscreen is scratched but not cracked. Front grille and lamp grilles have been painted black (!). Nothing that can't be fixed.

 

If it was a GS, I would have moved on to testing the car and checking out more, but I've quickly decided that it was not what I had hoped for, so there was no point in spending more time.

 

Oh well. It was a big, big, BIG disappointment. I was prepared to come across a car in need of work, which doesn't worry me too much, having carved my tooth on my other cars, but this was way below my expectations. I know how long and how much it would take me to bring the car back to the state she would deserve, and for me it wouldn't be worth.

 

Oh, bother. Never mind. It was a beautiful day out, the weather was great, the sun was shining bright, the trains are on time so far, my wife and I had a great time together and our daughter graduates tomorrow (she's an engineer too) :)

 

As it's not the last Riviera of 1965 either in the world, who knows what the future brings ;). However, having it in the EU already, and with an EU plate, would have made things so much easier. Deal looked perfect on paper :(

 

Thank you all for the great support!

 

 

 

 

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On 5/17/2019 at 11:33 AM, RivNut said:

The ride and handling package - different rate springs - was NOT part of the Gran Sport package.  The H2 option was available as a separate option. 

 

If the Gran Sport package was an option, what's the difference between adding it to a base '65 than adding any other option to a base Riviera.  There's nothing in the VIN or any other numbers designating a car a Gran Sport.  Options are just that - optional. Whether they be rally wheels, custom interior, or any other numbers of things.

 

Just rambling thoughts, but.....

Looks like a VERY well equipped car. The Fisher Body plate demonstrates quite a few options and I see cruise and the 4 note horns. Also a very unusual factory vinyl top car, only 2000 produced, and my favorite color combo. This car obviously needs alot of work but if it is relatively rust free this would be a great start.

  Can you post more pics of the exterior, interior, etc? Where is the car located and do cars in this area of Europe rust badly? Do they use road salt? Just curious...thanks,

Tom Mooney

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2 hours ago, MrILO said:

My personal feeling is that the seller was genuinely convinced that the car was a GS.

If you're still in contact with the seller, you can go to the Riviera Owners website and show him the "How to I D a Gran Sport" article.  Could relieve him of further frustration.  

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I went to see the car with that same article printed on paper, and I gladly gave it to him.

The car is in Sweden, they don't use salt on the streets there, and I understand it came in from Dubai.There is some rust but in my opinion it's mostly surface stuff. 

 

I will post more pictures as soon as I can, if anyone is interested. I need to scale them down to reasonable size and this requires some time and bandwidth - not good from the train.

Yes, it is loaded with options. I don't know about the vinyl top. I've seen the cruise pull (or push) tab, and one extra horn under the hood, but the front seats have been remade and the shape altered, I think, change of colour aside.

 

A bit more about myself.

To me, it's about the driving performance and originality. For this reason I'd rather buy a GS with handling package over one with all the others options.

My other two cars are great drivers, a Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1600 HF and a Maserati 2.24v. The latter, when properly taken care for, is a 5.9" 0-62 mph car that I've slightly tuned adding, reversibly, a much needed rear sway bar. So much for originality, in this case, as it fixes a well known deficiency in an otherwise fine car.

 

My wife  and I are in Sweden because our daughter is getting her mechanical engineering masters degree in Stockholm tomorrow. Our son is also a mechanical engineer, getting his master degree in race car design. Luckily mom (and wife) is a musician, for a change :).

We decided to take a long train trip through Sweden to check the car out. We don't regret doing it, as it was such a beautiful day.

 

I knew I should have stopped looking at cars online while I could. I thought I could stop anytime. Before getting the Riviera '65 bug, for example. Too late.

 

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Maunrizio,

 

   Be patient & keep looking.  You may have to look at a dozen or more to find what you would like,  maybe even one from the U.S.  I'm sure no matter where you look in the U.S. someone with knowledge would be glad to look at it for you. Maybe or maybe not for a small fee.  IF I'm close enough I would even do it for you.

   Weight distribution on these Rivs. is pretty good for such a large car.  We can get it to handle, ride & perform as well as ANY cars.  My friend who bought a REAL GS is amazed at how well we have gotten it to handle & ride.  He says it's close to on par with some of his older Ferrari's. The only limiting factor is the availability of tires to be even closer on par.

  I can supply you with parts & advice IF you chose to go that why.  You would/will really be SURPRISED.

 

Tom T.

 

 

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21 hours ago, telriv said:

Maunrizio,

 

   Be patient & keep looking.  You may have to look at a dozen or more to find what you would like,  maybe even one from the U.S.  I'm sure no matter where you look in the U.S. someone with knowledge would be glad to look at it for you. Maybe or maybe not for a small fee.  IF I'm close enough I would even do it for you.

   Weight distribution on these Rivs. is pretty good for such a large car.  We can get it to handle, ride & perform as well as ANY cars.  My friend who bought a REAL GS is amazed at how well we have gotten it to handle & ride.  He says it's close to on par with some of his older Ferrari's. The only limiting factor is the availability of tires to be even closer on par.

  I can supply you with parts & advice IF you chose to go that why.  You would/will really be SURPRISED.

 

Tom T.

 

 

I would be interested to know what you guys did to improve the handleing. Thanks

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5 minutes ago, arnulfo de l.a. said:

I would be interested to know what you guys did to improve the handleing. Thanks

That should be the subject of a new thread, in my opinion.

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This may be somewhat controversial, but what is the big thing with trying to make a Riviera into a Formula 1 race car.  How often do you go out and carve up some canyon road or put your car on a track and beat the crap out of it.  If you want a car that handles like a Corvette or BMW, go out and buy one.  Enjoy the RIviera for what it was/is.  I can see trying to make things safer than they were designed 50+ years ago, but why drive a 50+ year old car if you don't want the feeling of driving a 50+ year old car.   

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I agree. What I'm after is, let's put it this way, get the best out of a certain model of the car without changing its character and with fine tuning rather than part upgrades.

I know it's a fine line. A GS with handling package seems to fit my bill. Now it remains to be seen if I can find one that fits my budget as well :)

 

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3 hours ago, RivNut said:

This may be somewhat controversial, but what is the big thing with trying to make a Riviera into a Formula 1 race car.  How often do you go out and carve up some canyon road or put your car on a track and beat the crap out of it.  If you want a car that handles like a Corvette or BMW, go out and buy one.  Enjoy the RIviera for what it was/is.  I can see trying to make things safer than they were designed 50+ years ago, but why drive a 50+ year old car if you don't want the feeling of driving a 50+ year old car.   

Not trying to make it drive like a formula 1 . My suspension is tired , want to tighten it up. Thinking / hoping  a certain brand shock and or bushings may be better than others. Not looking to change springs either.

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Your NOT trying to make it a Formula ! race car just something that will handle better in emergency maneuvers IF NEC.  EVERYONE knows the hazards of driving on today's roads with ALL the idiot drivers of today.  Just ask the Turbineator, HE KNOWS!!!.  Shocks, sway bars, Poly bushings in certain places, etc. CAN & DO make a GREAT IMPROVEMENT & SAFETY of driving these older vehicles on the roads of today.

Just my humble opinion.

 

Tom T.

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36 minutes ago, telriv said:

Your NOT trying to make it a Formula ! race car just something that will handle better in emergency maneuvers IF NEC.  EVERYONE knows the hazards of driving on today's roads with ALL the idiot drivers of today.  Just ask the Turbineator, HE KNOWS!!!.  Shocks, sway bars, Poly bushings in certain places, etc. CAN & DO make a GREAT IMPROVEMENT & SAFETY of driving these older vehicles on the roads of today.

Just my humble opinion.

 

Tom T.

Could not have said it better !

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Contact Coil Springs Specialties in Marysville, Kansas and order a set oh H2 code springs.  Replicas of the same spr8ng offered in 65; same height and spring rates.

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