APRIL 24, 2014 (MAY 2014): 1965 BUICK RIVIERA — HOW A SUBARU TURNED INTO A CLASSIC

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The Buick Riviera was a styling high water mark in 1963.

 

This was a car that set the trend, rather than follow the trend. Rivs were in a league of their own back in ’63 and they did something that rarely happens.

 

They got even better.

 

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The 1965 Riviera is one of the most sought-after non muscle cars from the 60s and there’s little doubt why they are so popular.These cars are Dean Martin cool.

 

Derek Golby is a young guy but he completely understands how outstanding these Rivieras are so he popped at the chance to own one. This particular ’65 Riviera has an interesting history and that only adds to the mystique behind Derek’s prize as he explained, “This is a three-owner car and it was rear- ended in ’71 when the original owner had it. That’s back when they did good body work because it’s still good today”.

 

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The Riviera’s second owner had a more tumultuous relationship with the car, “I traded a 2012 Subaru for it because this Riv was going to be a divorce car. He needed a family car and I didn’t so it worked out”.

 

Derek’s car wasn’t in pristine condition when he picked it up, “It had 72,000 miles on it but it was in a barn and it was covered in dust. I ended up doing all the mechanical after I got it home”.

 

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Derek had a clear vision for the car but he did a quick inventory of the factory version of this ’65 Riviera, “It’s a 401 nail-head, bit of chrome, no AC but a lot of other stuff”.

 

The plan was pretty basic,I wanted to drop it a little and put a heavy stereo in the back. I lowered the seats a bit too so we ended up doing all that stuff”.

 

Derek admits he had a lot of help from his buddies to get the Riv up to the level of his original vision, but the results are spectacular because this car was mobbed all day at the car show. There was a significant problem with clear shots of the car but that’s the kind of attention these Rivieras get when they’re presented at this level.

 

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Despite the glamor surrounding this Riv, it’s not a “protected from UV rays, stored in humidity-controlled comfort” trailer queen. Derek likes to drive this classic, “I drove it here, I’ll probably put 1200 miles tops on it in a year but it’s a beautiful car to drive because it’s like nothing else. My buddies like it too, they take all the credit for it”.

 

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Derek realizes he’s driving a piece of Buick history and he respects the car to the point where he looks at it as a long-term commitment, “I definitely plan on keeping this car. They’re too hard to find because so many guys are looking for them”.

 

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The 1963-65 Buick Riviera may not get the press of vintage Vettes or Hemi Mopars but these cars were so cutting-edge 50 years ago they still draw a crowd at car shows in the 21st century.

 

Derek’s old Subaru probably won’t.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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