No Reserve: 1964 Buick Riviera

We don’t see many 1st Generation Buick Rivieras here at Barn Finds, and those that do appear are usually in need of some major work. This 1964 model looks like it could be a good one. It presents well and seems ready for the next owner to hit the road and make the most of the classic car ownership experience. Barn Finder Ikey H had his radar working overtime when he spotted this one for us. Thank you so much for that Ikey. The Buick is located in Pompano Beach, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $7,336 in a No Reserve auction.

As the 1950s ended and the world moved into the 1960s, Buick lacked a “personal luxury car” that could compete head-to-head with Ford’s Thunderbird. The company knew that this needed to change, and development began on what would become known as the Riviera. Buick knew that the car needed to not only possess striking styling and luxury but needed to have respectable levels of performance as well. They achieved these aims with the Rivera, which broke cover in late-1962 as a 1963 model. The following year brought further improvements across every aspect of the car, and our feature vehicle benefitted from these improvements. It is a striking looking car, and its condition is promising. The Silver Cloud paint shines beautifully, with no signs of any significant blemishes or defects. Rust could be the greatest enemy of these cars, and I don’t think that this Riviera has been immune to this issue. It looks like there might be some developing in the rockers and lower fenders on the driver’s side, but it doesn’t appear to be too extensive. However, the quality of the photos makes it hard to be certain of this. The owner makes no mention of any rust issues below the surface, and there is nothing else visible in the supplied photos. The glass looks to be in good order, and there are no issues with the trim or chrome. Styling changes for the 1964 model year were pretty minor, with detailed changes to badges and the grille being the most obvious.

The 1963 Riviera was initially offered with the 401ci “Nailhead” V8, but more power was soon offered. For the 1964 model year, the 425ci version was the new standard and was available in three states of tune. Our car features the middle engine in the range, the “Wildcat 465.” This figure refers to the 465 ft/lbs of torque that the engine delivers. It also pumps out 340hp, which finds its way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed Super Turbine automatic transmission. At 4,056lbs, it was pretty apparent that the Riviera’s leanings were more towards luxury than muscle car territory. However, that doesn’t mean that it was a slouch in a straight line. A ¼ mile ET of 15.3 seconds was very respectable, while it could wind its way to a top speed of 126mph. The news here all seems to be good. This is a numbers-matching classic that is in mechanical good health. It is said to run and drive very well. The Riviera has been fitted with a Flowmaster dual exhaust. The seller says that the engine sounds wonderful, and I will happily believe that.

When it came to the interior, it was an evolution rather than a revolution when it came to the changes for the 1964 model year. The heater controls were moved from the dash to the console, which was the most obvious change. Interestingly, the owner lists the upholstery as being leather, but this was an option that was phased out for 1964. Maybe the seats have received new covers at some point. Leaving that thought aside, it does present quite well. There are no signs of any problems with the upholstery, while the dash, headliner, and carpet are good. This Riviera is interesting because it isn’t loaded with optional extras. There are a tilt wheel and an AM radio, but little else. I fully expected to see air conditioning, but there is no evidence that this car ever featured that option.

Buick created the Riviera to compete with the Thunderbird, but they wanted it to have an air of exclusivity. With this thought in mind, they decided that they would not build any more than 40,000 examples in any single model year. In 1964, a total of 37,958 cars found their way onto the showroom floors. As is so often the case with vehicles of this vintage, rust has claimed a great many of them. This vehicle appears to have some rust, but it doesn’t seem to have progressed too far at this point. That raises the question as to where bidding is likely to go on this one. It has been quite spirited up to this point, so there might be a little way left to go. It is possible to buy some very nice examples for under $16,000, which means that I would expect this one to probably sell for somewhere around $12,000. If it sells for less, then that could make it a pretty canny buy.


  1. Jeff

    Totally awesome compared with the 289 Mustang Fastback for 30K less hurt me dollars.

    Like 6
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    Yes, this is a pretty stripped down car. The interior is not the “Deluxe” interior, no power windows or seat, and non AC car. But perhaps the larger engine makes up for these shortcomings.

    I do notice that this Riv has the obligatory bent glove box door. The lock mechanism must have failed universally, and so every single Riv of this series had the owner prying on the door. They’re all bent!

    Like 3
  3. Stan Marks

    Over all, it looks OK. Although, they should have included pics of the undercarriage. A thorough detailing wouldn’t hurt. IMHO, this car looks tired.

    Like 2
  4. Joe Haska

    If you are right and it goes for around 12K ,I think it would be a good buy. It needs lots of TLC and for me in Phoenix A/C, but that’s all doable if price is right!

  5. peter r

    This car is on Craigslist with an asking price of $17,500. I think the owner will be disappointed in the results with this no reserve auction.

    Like 1
  6. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Agree with Rex, this is a very stripped model. It does have the 425 single carb V8. Good news is lt has the desirable wheels and it appears to be minus body rust. Parts are still readily available. I was fortunate enough to get mine wth glove compartment door that’s not bent.
    God bless America
    I got to figure out how to get the picture turned the right way.

    Like 3
  7. Troy s

    Beautiful looking car in and out, again it’s the styling with these older rides, which was no doubt to lure customers into the showrooms each and every year with something a little different. People couldn’t wait to see the all new cars for the first time,, especially an all new model.
    I like Flowmasters on certain types of cars, stickers in the trunk also reflect a Comperion Cam, along with the Flow’s. Maybe not so much here, seems like a quiet yet low rumbling set of mufflers would suit it better.

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