Competitive Project: 1964 Buick Riviera

There is little doubt that the styling of the 1st generation Buick Riviera was striking, and they are a car that needs little in the way of visual enhancements beyond those that were provided by the car’s original designers. Barn Finder local_sheriff spotted this one for us to look at, so thank you so much for that. It is a car that is muscular in a subtle way and holds a lot of promise as a restoration project. It is located in Poway, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $7,000 for the classic Buick, but if you’re feeling lucky, you could always make an offer.

Okay, I’ll get it off my chest. Those wheels would have to go. To me, they look completely out of character with the rest of the Riviera’s styling, and I’ve never believed that the early Riviera is a car that needs to be pimped. The Arctic White paint has survived quite well over the past 55-years, but there is no doubt that the car would benefit from a fresh coat of paint. The owner is short on details, and while he says that the vehicle has light rust, he doesn’t tell us where this is. We’re only supplied with two photos of the car’s exterior (both on the driver’s side) and it does look to be quite clean. The styling of the early Rivieras is also interesting because if you turn around today and compare the Riviera with its competition from the day, it has actually managed to remain quite modern and “crisp” compared to those cars.

There are plenty of things to like about a 1st generation Riviera, and interior styling is definitely one of these. I love the way that the center console sweeps down from the dash, incorporating the heater controls within easy reach of both the driver and passenger. I like the way that that same console also makes the passenger feel like they have their own space within the car. I love the fact that Buick was adventurous enough to decide to upholster the entire interior in silver. I can’t imagine a manufacturer doing that today. With what are effectively bucket seats in the rear, the Riviera is most definitely a 4-seater, and those four people would certainly be comfortable. The interior looks a bit tired in places, but it could certainly be used as it is. However, if I owned the Riviera I would be getting the interior right ASAP because it is an interior that deserves to look its best. Keeping with a luxurious theme, the Riviera is fitted with air conditioning, power windows, and a tilt wheel.

Powering the Riviera is the 425ci V8 engine, while the car also features a 3-speed “Super Turbine 400” automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. The owner refers to the driveline as being new, so I’m not sure whether this means that it has all been rebuilt, or that it has all been replaced. The Buick has also been fitted with a new gas tank and new tires. While it could never really be considered to be an outright muscle car, the ’64 Riviera was not found wanting when it came to performance. It could sprint from 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds, and devour the ¼ mile in 15.3 seconds. Those numbers are pretty impressive for a car of this type from that era. The owner doesn’t actually mention how well the car runs and drives, but the very basic information that he provides gives us cause to be optimistic.

This 1964 Buick Riviera is an interesting car for one very specific reason. Today it is virtually impossible to find a running and driving example for sale below the $10,000 mark. Typically, cars in the sort of condition that this one appears to be in will generally sell for closer to $12,000. A spotless example can sell for $35,000 or more, which makes this Riviera one very interesting project car.

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Give me hubcaps!

    Like 15
    • Miguel

      Definitely, me too.

      Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Agree. Take a thousand dollars off the price and give the guy the wheels back. Real hard to find anything on these cars that doesn’t look good. Nice ride!

    Like 5
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Rims are wrong! I have to admit this one looks great but if I had my druthers I’d prefer the slightly newer with the clamshell headlights in the fender corners.
    Even though it doesn’t have the headlights I prefer, I sure wouldn’t kick it out of the garage for that reason.
    Though it would need to be checked out, this looks like a buy and drive to me.

    Like 2
  4. local_sheriff

    Screw those wheels, 17 inch Buick 5spokes together with a suspension drop would be everything necessary in the stance department. Gotta love that SILVER upholstery, doesn’t get any more space age!

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      Why would you put 17 inch wheels on it and lose the sidewall?

      I would want the smoothest ride I could get.

      Like 7
      • Steve P

        Would love to own that car, but I am 2700 miles away, and the wheels would have to go, I like originality

      • local_sheriff

        Miguel, a 60s car will most certainly offer a cushioned ride, however not handle bends. Both for the looks and handling a lowered suspension and less flexing, more modern tires on larger,still OE looking, rims are IMO beneficial improvements on an already great design. If you look at car ads from the 60s and older you’d believe they all were bag’d from the factory!

        Like 1
      • Luis P

        Stock tire diameter is over 27″ on a 15″ rim. The 1″ you’d give up on sidewall going to a 17″ wheel is negligible on ride quality.

        Like 2
  5. Jack Quantrill

    Everyone agrees those wheels belong on a low-rider from The Cruisers of Azusa! Otherwise, a fine motorcar.

    Like 3
  6. Fran

    Question to seller: Sir, do you have the original wheels/and wheel covers?

    Like 3
  7. Del

    If he can prove the drive train re-do, then it might be good.

    If there is no proof, then its another parts car

    Like 1
  8. Lance

    Adam, I hate to nit pick but the first generation Buick Rivieras came in 1949.. On this model, so the story goes, Harley Earl wanted the front fender grills to act as functioning head lights as a nod to the LaSalle a car he had origionally styled for GM when he first arrived there in 1929. GM couldn’t get the front lighting to work as Earl wanted them until the next year. That is when the lights in the grill vanished.

    Like 1
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      Lance,

      Harley Earl was in charge of design for the LaSalle, but Earl had retired from GM in 1958, so he didn’t have a hand in the design of the 63-65 Riviera. His successor Bill Mitchell and his team designed the Riv. Here’s my ’63 in Teal Mist.

      Like 7
  9. TimM

    I would have to source out the clam shell hide away lights for it!! I just think that was one of the classiest front ends of the era!! It just looked so clean when they were closed!!

    • Steve P

      I am with you Tim

      Like 1
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I own a 64 Riviera. I absolutely love the car. Wheel covers can be obtained from a place in California I believe Elco 69 or Larry Daisy in Arizona. The spoke style are the most popular but also hardest to find. OPGI has just about anything you might want for these cars. The 65 model had the clam shell headlights. It’s a personal thing. There two engines available a 401 and a 425 both offered either one 4 bbl carb or two. Mine came in Coral Mist code nn which means same color top and bottom and code 308 black interior. The most sought after option is the automatic headlight dimmer, along with a/c. Mine is a numbers matching car with 425 single carb with a/c, electric seat, windows, and tilt wheel. It was sold to the Reese family of California and was parked in 65 after the owner died where it sat in the family garage until 1995 when it was brought to Texas by a nephew who began restoring it. I purchased it in 2011 with just 27000 miles showing on the odometer. Unfortunately during the restoration it was painted blue.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  11. PatrickM

    Listing ended. $7,000.00

  12. Steve P

    Dang

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