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1963 Riviera Production Irregularities


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Thought I'd share an FYI of yet another observation of production irregularities for 1963 Rivieras.

I did a bang-up job repairing my chrome Master Power Panel (Door was slammed on it while hanging from the harness).

During the repair I noticed different angles of another non power vent panel. This was an issue during assembly on another base. Fed-up, I forced it and in a couple of days, it got ugly.

Today I found the black base that panel came from and tried the non power vent panel that came from the red base. Again, doesn't fit and all are 1963!

Were these cars hand-built?

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I was simply trying to add to our (ROA) database on this, specifically 1963 production. It appears mid-year production changes continued into 1964 production with the 1965 models being the most consistent of all 1st generation Rivieras, except maybe the GS pkg.

 

Frustrated? Yes. I've thrown all kinds of resources at this only to see my excellent repair morph into a 5 minute quick fix when screwing into place.

I'd purchase one of the panels listed 4sale but images show they are all in poor condition. My broken panel had excellent chrome, the reason I repaired it.

 

So, the piece without a tab on the back end is early '63. It has a steeper angle than the mid-year piece with the tab bearing no P/N. The earlier piece has P/N: 5715556. A matching base has to be used with its respective panel.

The passenger door has P/N: 5715559 and has the tab (shallower angle?)

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I found a lot of things different between my early build '63 and even just later on '63s when I was buying parts for it during it's rebuild.  Different sized fuse panel cover, for one.  Never did locate one that fit, and I bought 3 that were supposedly correct.

 

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Jim Cannon has a good idea or when mid-year changes took place for the '63.  I wonder if he's got some dates for some of these things?  If so, you can check build dates on the data plate before committing to a purchase.

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This is what I observed assembling my project with parts from 1963 Riviera's:

  • Bracket for Signal Light Switch at the bottom of tilt columns were different
  • Yes, early Fuse Block did not have middle row of fuses for switched accessories.
  • Instrument panel harness, early Rivs had separate harnesses for options.
  • Both Console harnesses had different 6-position connectors to the instrument harness with the early having only 5 contacts in place
  • Underhood harness (separate harness for Cornering Lamps), Early version had 2-contact connectors vs 3-contact behind Corner Housings.
  • Corner Light Housings, a few years back, I thought I observed one park lamp (1156) and one 1157 signal light that changed to something like two 1156s during production?
  • Early Electro-Cruise had the 0 - 120 MPH Speedo from the Electra
  • Inside roof reveal mouldings. Actually, I think the sides were painted throughout 63 production, switched to chrome for '64. But, the windshield was changed to chrome mid-year '63.
  • Early Trunk Lid appears to be devoid of B-U-I-C-K letters across the back or, at least mine did with no body work evident.
  • Spare Wheel Locations (two)  has been touched on in other threads.
  • Now, Armrest Panels and bases for 1963 Custom Interiors, different.

With my FIFO memory, I'm sure I've left some out. Thought I'd add to the 1963 Riviera Knowledge-Base because my list is growing.

In addition, I find the GM of Canada Shop and Body Manuals to reflect late '63 production except for electrical including accessories.

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2 hours ago, XframeFX said:

This is what I observed assembling my project with parts from 1963 Riviera's:

  • Bracket for Signal Light Switch at the bottom of tilt columns were different
  • Yes, early Fuse Block did not have middle row of fuses for switched accessories.
  • Instrument panel harness, early Rivs had separate harnesses for options.
  • Both Console harnesses had different 6-position connectors to the instrument harness with the early having only 5 contacts in place
  • Underhood harness (separate harness for Cornering Lamps), Early version had 2-contact connectors vs 3-contact behind Corner Housings.
  • Corner Light Housings, a few years back, I thought I observed one park lamp (1156) and one 1157 signal light that changed to something like two 1156s during production?
  • Early Electro-Cruise had the 0 - 120 MPH Speedo from the Electra
  • Inside roof reveal mouldings. Actually, I think the sides were painted throughout 63 production, switched to chrome for '64. But, the windshield was changed to chrome mid-year '63.
  • Early Trunk Lid appears to be devoid of B-U-I-C-K letters across the back or, at least mine did with no body work evident.
  • Spare Wheel Locations (two)  has been touched on in other threads.
  • Now, Armrest Panels and bases for 1963 Custom Interiors, different.

With my FIFO memory, I'm sure I've left some out. Thought I'd add to the 1963 Riviera Knowledge-Base because my list is growing.

In addition, I find the GM of Canada Shop and Body Manuals to reflect late '63 production except for electrical including accessories.

All of the first built '63 Rivieras came with a 120 mph speedometer and a plain dash as would be found in the Electra / LeSabre.  Around December, the 140 mph speedometer was introduced along with the ribbed aluminum veneer on the dash.  Early Rivs had a different placement for the four note horns as well as a smaller indentation in the vacuum reservoir.  My '63, bulit 02E, still has the spare tire on the trunk floor.  Early 63's had the firewalls painted body color instead of black. I can't tell on my car because the exterior is black as well. 😎

 

Jim Cannon has a 63 registry and as part of it, he keeps track of build dates along with all of the changes made over the years.

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18 hours ago, RivNut said:

All of the first built '63 Rivieras came with a 120 mph speedometer and a plain dash as would be found in the Electra / LeSabre.  Around December, the 140 mph speedometer was introduced along with the ribbed aluminum veneer on the dash.  Early Rivs had a different placement for the four note horns as well as a smaller indentation in the vacuum reservoir.  My '63, bulit 02E, still has the spare tire on the trunk floor.  Early 63's had the firewalls painted body color instead of black. I can't tell on my car because the exterior is black as well. 😎

 

Jim Cannon has a 63 registry and as part of it, he keeps track of build dates along with all of the changes made over the years.

Mine must be another irregular first year. Speedo 140 MPH, ribbed dash panel, spare up in the hump area, and build date second week of April. Firewall is black and booster has the indent too.  
 

Could it being a ‘Deluxe’ interior have anything to do with this?

 

Ray

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1 hour ago, BulldogDriver said:

Mine must be another irregular first year. Speedo 140 MPH, ribbed dash panel, spare up in the hump area, and build date second week of April. Firewall is black and booster has the indent too.  
 

Could it being a ‘Deluxe’ interior have anything to do with this?

 

Ray

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Yours fits all the data that I described for being produced after all of the changes had been initiated.   The only difference that I see is an aftermarket radio and no console. 😎

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1 hour ago, BulldogDriver said:

Mine must be another irregular first year. Speedo 140 MPH, ribbed dash panel, spare up in the hump area, and build date second week of April. Firewall is black and booster has the indent too.  
 

Could it being a ‘Deluxe’ interior have anything to do with this?

 

Ray

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April makes yours a later model year build. Which is why you have all of the changes Ed was speaking of.

 

Bill

Edited by Riviera63
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Your Fisher Body Data Plate

You know about the year and the FB Number, here's the rest of it.

Trim 737J2

         737 is custom sandal wood cloth and vinyl

         J2 is power seat

D  - radio - Fisher body installed a speaker for a radio - the type of radio didn't matter at this time

S7 - Remote driver's side mirror

I6 - Soft ray glass - that's an I (eye) not a 1

N2 - Air conditioning 

U7 - Power Window

Any options installed forward in and forward of the dash board are not on this data plate.  You'll have to determine those for yourself.  Unless you changed out the radio, there's no way of telling what was original 

Other possibilities:

H1 - Electro cruise

H2 - Cornering lights

L1 - Tilt wheel

N? - wheel covers if not base, could be simulated wire wheel or cast aluminum turbine

07 - four note horn

T? - one of four tire choices

U6 - Power vents - on a data plate that would appear as U8

X1 - Guidematic

X2 - Twilight sentinel

Z4 - Remote trunk release

 

I took these from my window sticker, what I can't tell you are the codes for Positraction, 425 engine, and Rear window defogger, rear defogger would appear on the data plate.  My car did not have these. My data plate is hard to read because of flash bounce.  The window sticker also shows the items that were standard on the Riviera but optional on other models.  In 1963 there was not federal mandate for seat belts but there are a couple of styles that were dealer installed. Then there's a long list of dealer installed options.  My car has the dealer installed vanity mirror on the passenger's visor, and a purse hood, came with four white floor mats dealer installed.

 

My car was built 02E and has all of the updates EXCEPT my spare in on the floor of the trunk.

 

I always find it kind of interesting that when someone is trying to sell a Riviera that they list so many standard things to entice a sale.  V8 engine w/ 4 bbl carb, dual exhausts, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, bucket seats, etc.  If the car didn't have these things, someone removed them.

 

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Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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Oops your right! You said December and I was thinking December 1963. Mine has Cruise, Cornering lights, Wonderbar AM, Tilt wheel, wire hubcaps on 6” wide rims. Also is a factory undercoated car from California. Console is sitting on the side as I’m finishing up on upgrades being done. Radio was changed out because the Vintage Air AC took up too much space to fit back in. Its the only thing that keeps the interior from  looking original. 
 

Ray

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If your car has 6" rims rather than 5-1/2" rims, (measured inside the bead of the wheel, not across the outside) it was ordered/delivered with "oversized tires"  In the day, those would have been the 7.60x15" tires.  Code T3 for oversized black wall tires, or T4 for oversized white sidewall tires.  The Wonderbar radio would have been coded D3 with a manual antenna or D4 with the power antenna.  The power antenna was part of the radio option, not a stand alone option.  Your wire wheel covers would have been code M7 (Riviera only,) had the black center cap with the silver tri-shield.  Other models had a red/white/blue tri-shield. 

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Never liked having a 140 speedo. It just decreases the resolution for the actual speeds we drive. I had 79 chevy that had the 85mph speedo, I liked it because you could judge down to the individual mph how fast you were going. Anything over 85, I wasn't looking at the speedo anyway.

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8 hours ago, jsgun said:

Never liked having a 140 speedo. It just decreases the resolution for the actual speeds we drive. I had 79 chevy that had the 85mph speedo, I liked it because you could judge down to the individual mph how fast you were going. Anything over 85, I wasn't looking at the speedo anyway.

The way people around here drive, there's no need for a speedometer.  They're either late for their own funeral or they're piddling along as they text.  I actually use the speedometer that works off my Garmin GPS.  It's very accurate.  My grandson keeps an eye on it and informs me when I'm speeding. The speed limit is displayed right next to the speedometer.  When I exceed the speed limit, the speedometer readout changes from black to red and he quickly let's me know.

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