Pair Of Finds In North Carolina: Impala And Riviera

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In the little town of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, there are a couple of classic finds for sale as unfortunately the owner has passed on before restoring them. The 1964 Impala SS is listed here on eBay, with an opening bid of $2,500 with no reserve. The 1969 Riviera is listed here, with it’s opening bid at only $1,600 and again there’s no reserve.

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Let’s look at the Impala first. It’s certainly got some rust, with a lot of work needed on the lower portions of the car. As the seller says, “it will need a total restoration.” For once, I can’t argue with the seller regarding a statement of a car’s condition!

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This close up will give you an idea of what you’ll be facing. Thankfully, replacement body panels are available. Given the extent of this rust, I’d rather start with a new panel, even dealing with potential aftermarket fit issues, then try to make a bunch of localized patches.

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While the interior seems to have all the important trim pieces, and even a decent looking dash top, you will definitely need new seat upholstery and a carpet set. It’s nice to see the rare SS wheel covers safely located on the floorboard, though. I was able to find a brand new front and rear upholstery kit for under $600 here. All of a sudden, this project is looking better.

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Here’s the deal-killer for me, though–the original engine is gone, and while it now has a “built” engine that “sounds great,” I’d rather have originality in this particular case. But you may feel quite differently!

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At first glance, the 1969 Buick Riviera looks to be in much better shape than the Impala. The paint even looks pretty good in this picture, and the Buick rallye wheels set off the color scheme nicely. We’re told it was repainted about 15 years ago.

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It doesn’t look bad on this side, either. Can you tell if the top is vinyl or paint? I think it’s paint but I’m not sure, and I suspect it originally was vinyl. If so, the work done 15 years ago may have kept the rust at bay, and it tends to accumulate under the vinyl.

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And then we look at the close up pictures. Ouch! Thank you’s to the seller for being honest and showing closeups of the rust that has progressed since the repaint effort. Given that there is rust both in the doors and the rocker panels, some more work will be required here than I first thought. I was unable to find a source of 1970 Riviera patch panels, although there seem to be plenty for the later “boat-tail” models. If you can’t find used original panels you’ll have to repair these (which might be easier anyway). It will be tricky to do, though. I enjoy taking on repairs like this, but I’m lucky enough to have the right tools to do so. I have done it before owning a plasma cutter, flange tools and a decent welder, and I wouldn’t want to try that again!

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While parts of the interior look really good, I’m not to sure about other parts. The top of the dash looks like it was reupholstered and is coming apart, while who knows what happened to the door panels? On the other hand, the seats look pretty  decent and I wouldn’t change them out. I’m not sure what the components at the rear of the seat are, either. Let’s just say there’s a lot of project work left to do.

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We can’t tell a lot from this picture, but this engine is said to be a 455, and hopefully it’s the original one. The seller says they got it running, but the clear implication is that it still needs work. I have no idea what this one will need to get it roadworthy, but you can probably count on brakes, fuel system and flushing the cooling system at a minimum.

Which one of these two cars would you take on as a project if you had a choice, and what would path would you follow with it? Let us know!

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Comments

  1. Mike

    I think I would take the Buick, the door and rocker panels repairs are easy if you have the right tools to do them. It looks like the front seat on the driver side has some issues, most likely broken supports, again easy to repair if you know how to do it. More than likely the Buick has a 455 in it, it was the most common engine in them.

  2. Van

    Rivieras had style

  3. Texas Tea

    I really like the 64 Impala SS, BUT! It is a rusty hulk. The problem with a car this rusty is there is no place to stop on the rust repairs. It is endless. I guess people just have to find out the hard way.

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