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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default My 63 Riviera Custom

    Hello, here's some pics and a bit of info about my 1963 Riviera. I've wanted one of these since I was about 7 or 8 years old. My Dad's friend had a yellow 64 that I thought was the coolest thing when I was a kid, and I finally bought this one a few months ago (I'm 37 now). I'm in the process of undoing and redoing a lot of the previous owner's "customizing" (I've been building custom cars and race cars with my family since birth basically). So far, I've finished lowering it 3", fixed the brakes, re-wired the entire lighting system, fixed a bunch of the missing or inoperative interior bits, and done a full tune on it. I added Ridler 695 wheels in 20x8.5 and 20x10 sizes, with 245/40 front and 275/35 rear tires. It's coming along, and I'll hopefully have it "completed" this next summer. Right now it's in the garage for the winter, but I've put a few shake down miles on it, and it seems to be running and functioning like it should now. The paint is custom black with hand painted graphics, and the interior is matching black and red leather. I've also got a 70 Coupe Deville, a 74 F100, and a 1972 Mach 1 that I bought when I was 12 that I've got a 552" stroker in it I built now, but we've had quite a few Buicks in the family through the years (Dad and one of my brothers have a 70 and a 72 Skylark both in the 10s, and my other brother has a 10 second '87 GN) but this is my first Nailhead. Thanks and glad to be on here and I'll post progress pics as I go along

    Lucas
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Welcome & good luck. Looks SHARP!!!!


    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom Forged Pistons
    Many parts to numerous to list
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Carrollton, GA
    Posts
    703

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Cool ride(s). I have been fighting the urge to get one of these and build a cruiser. Seeing this doesn't help. Keep us posted!
    '72 Skylark 455/T56
    '70 GS 455 4-Speed


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by 1972Mach1 View Post
    Hello, here's some pics and a bit of info about my 1963 Riviera. I've wanted one of these since I was about 7 or 8 years old. My Dad's friend had a yellow 64 that I thought was the coolest thing when I was a kid, and I finally bought this one a few months ago (I'm 37 now). I'm in the process of undoing and redoing a lot of the previous owner's "customizing" (I've been building custom cars and race cars with my family since birth basically). So far, I've finished lowering it 3", fixed the brakes, re-wired the entire lighting system, fixed a bunch of the missing or inoperative interior bits, and done a full tune on it. I added Ridler 695 wheels in 20x8.5 and 20x10 sizes, with 245/40 front and 275/35 rear tires. It's coming along, and I'll hopefully have it "completed" this next summer. Right now it's in the garage for the winter, but I've put a few shake down miles on it, and it seems to be running and functioning like it should now. The paint is custom black with hand painted graphics, and the interior is matching black and red leather. I've also got a 70 Coupe Deville, a 74 F100, and a 1972 Mach 1 that I bought when I was 12 that I've got a 552" stroker in it I built now, but we've had quite a few Buicks in the family through the years (Dad and one of my brothers have a 70 and a 72 Skylark both in the 10s, and my other brother has a 10 second '87 GN) but this is my first Nailhead. Thanks and glad to be on here and I'll post progress pics as I go along

    Lucas
    Hi there, sweet ride. I am doing a 64 Rivi right now and am struggling to find out what wheels will fit. Did you have any fitment issues? I am looking to do 18x8 front and 18x20 rear.

    Would you be able to provide your wheel specs? Hub/center hole, offset and backspace.

    Are you using your stock drums? Is there any rubbing that you know of?

    A lot of questions yes but if I can get my ride looking similar to yours, all would be good!

    Any advise would help, thanks

    Sent from my SM-A500W using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Thanks guys.....Falcon81, I see you saw that I responded to your question in the bench section, but if anyone else wants or needs to know, these are on the stock drums. My rear backspace is 5.5" and the front is 4.5". I had to add 5/16" spacers to the front, otherwise the wheels will rub the inner fenders at full lock. There is a TON of room in there for bigger/wider wheels and tires. Here's some interior pics as it sits now. You can see that I've got a bunch of it taken apart. I'm redoing all the trim and woodgrain in a black cherry burlwood.......More pics to come as progress continues

    Lucas
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 1972Mach1; 11-17-2016 at 11:15 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Got it thanks. I got mine down to the shell now. Changing all body mounts and will be doing body and paint. Then suspension, wheels and exhaust.





    Sent from my SM-A500W using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Looks good! Mine doesn't look like it needs that much, but I'm tearing it down anyway because I've found a LOT of modifications and changes that the previous owner did that are completely unacceptable and half-azzed, so going in deep just to make sure its OK.....
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Finished rewiring the whole lighting system (when you'd turn on the right blinker, the right front and left rear would come on, when you'd turn on the left blinker, the left rear would stay on constant and nothing on front would come on) and getting the LED taillights working properly. The headlights were another story and an electrical mess. Fabbed up a rear package tray, will post pics when I'm upholstering it in black leather........weather has been surprisingly cooperative up here, so got to put a few more miles on it
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Well, my fabbed package tray didn't fit the contours as nice as I wanted, so I bought one from OPGI. What showed up is a cut out piece of cardboard with some black textured paint on top. When you would bend it to make the curves it needed, the black paint would crack and generally looked like garbage, and broke the paint and cardboard around the screw holes. So I pulled it and began modifying it to an acceptable appearance. Glued some steel washers around the screw holes for some support. Got some 1/8" foam and spray glued it down to the OPGI dash, then cut that around the dash. I then spray glued my leatherette down on top of that, lots of stretching and forming involved. Put some books and weights on it overnight. Here are some progress pics of what I started with and where I'm at now (dunno why pic 7 is out of order but the first pic should be after gluing the foam on and cutting it out)....Just need to pull and glue it down around the edges and trim and all good, super happy Will post more when I'm done trimming and have it installed.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Oh, and finally got it out in the sunshine, just a few days before it started to snow Probably stuck in the shop for the rest of the winter.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Boattail View Post
    Lucas, thank you very much for showing us all those photos of your Riviera, I really like the rims, they look very good on the car

    I also like all your other cars, I'm not a big Mustang fan but that Mach 1 looks so nice in that green colour
    Thank you sir....I'm not really a "Mustang" guy either, I just happen to have wanted a Mach 1 when I was a kid. I started saving up for it when I was in kindergarten because I walked by a red and black 71 everyday on my way to school and had enough money, which was $3200, by the time I was 12 (that is not a lie). My parents and brothers are car people, and my "collection" pales compared to theirs haha. I'm a fullsize Ford/Buick/Olds/Caddy fan mostly. Thanks again for the compliments.
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Got the package tray done and installed. I used some small block chevy valve cover hold downs for trim around the mounting screws and to spread the force out. They looked too plain just sitting there and i try to do little different stuff here and there. I put a more detailed thread down in the interior section about fixing/making the package tray.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default seatbelts

    Got some seat belts for the car from seatbeltsplus.com. Look to be of great quality, made in the USA, and from their website it looks like they are tested rigorously to be safe. My car doesn't appear to have had them from the factory, but I was a fireman for 6 years and after running the extrication equipment on many car accidents throughout the years, I always have to wear one. Felt weird driving it around without one on. I'll be adding reinforcements to the floors where they mount. I picked the chrome lift latch type. I feel they're the most "classic" styled, and they were only $45 shipped.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Your family being car people is awesome at Christmas Got some Offenhauser valve covers, a batwing air cleaner, some vent window cranks, new heater control cables, and some Lloyds mats from my brothers and parents.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by 1972Mach1 View Post
    Well, my fabbed package tray didn't fit the contours as nice as I wanted, so I bought one from OPGI. What showed up is a cut out piece of cardboard with some black textured paint on top. When you would bend it to make the curves it needed, the black paint would crack and generally looked like garbage, and broke the paint and cardboard around the screw holes. So I pulled it and began modifying it to an acceptable appearance. Glued some steel washers around the screw holes for some support. Got some 1/8" foam and spray glued it down to the OPGI dash, then cut that around the dash. I then spray glued my leatherette down on top of that, lots of stretching and forming involved. Put some books and weights on it overnight. Here are some progress pics of what I started with and where I'm at now (dunno why pic 7 is out of order but the first pic should be after gluing the foam on and cutting it out)....Just need to pull and glue it down around the edges and trim and all good, super happy Will post more when I'm done trimming and have it installed.
    I ordered a package tray from them as well. I am hoping it is not the same one. You said it's made of cardboard? What the hell...

    Sent from my SM-A500W using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Yep, just a cardboard cutout with some textured spray paint on it. Those first few pics I posted are of it and the paint crumbling off when I bent it to make the curves. Super disappointing, but whatever, it gave me a good excuse to make a pretty one and learn something new. My dashboard is custom leather upholstered to match the seats, so I took it as an opportunity to make the package tray match that.
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    There should be seat belt mounting nuts in the front & rear floors already from the factory. Seat belts were an option in '63 & standard equipment staring in early '64.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom Forged Pistons
    Many parts to numerous to list
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by telriv View Post
    There should be seat belt mounting nuts in the front & rear floors already from the factory. Seat belts were an option in '63 & standard equipment staring in early '64.
    Thanks for the info, Tom. That'll make things much easier. Car has new carpet that I didn't install and it's too low to put my head under, but good to know that I'll just have to poke holes from underneath then cut it. Thanks again!
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Been getting a bunch of interior and mechanical stuff done that I'll post pics of later, but going to start redoing the engine compartment, as this is the only area of the car that needs REAL attention.....Have quite a few custom goodies for it. Here's where it's at now, not much to look at, really quite ugly.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Lucas,

    If the engine is original it should be SILVER. Have you looked at the engine code??? A '63/401 will be JT & a 425 (rare) will be JW. The code is located in front of the valley pan on the passenger side. Red engines were in '66/401 Skylark GS's & '66/425 Rivs. If there is a "hook" cast into the water manifold on the passenger side it is a '66 engine. '66 was the ONLY yr. the water manifolds had hooks for pulling the engine.


    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom Forged Pistons
    Many parts to numerous to list
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Yep I knew it should be silver. Haven't checked into numbers matching or not, wasn't super worried about it. Supposed to be a rebuilt 401 and with how well it runs I believe it, plus looking down the oil fill at the rockers and springs it appears super clean. Will do a better inspection when I've got the intake and valve covers off. Going to paint it red again to match the stripes and interior. Might pull the heads and get machined for positive valve seals as it does puff a little smoke when I fire it up if it sat for more than a few hours, and I understand the exhaust didn't have seals from the factory. Not a big deal, but kind of embarrassing to people that don't know its "normal"..... Will most likely port them if they are off. I've done quite a few other engines, will see what they look like if I get to that point.
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Well you got me curious so I ran out into the garage to check it out (its -5 here and midnight). Its a jt 322 block and it has a hook on the water manifold, so must have a '66 one of those.
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    JT is a '63/401. The 322 is a date code. Someone must have replaced the water manifold with a '66 one. No big deal except for purists.


    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom Forged Pistons
    Many parts to numerous to list
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    Yessir, doesn't bother me a bit, only thing I've got that's a numbers car is my Caddy. Good info, and I'll remember that hook on the water manifold and the nuts for the seatbelts being there probably for the rest of my life haha (I seem to retain little bits of "useless" trivia like that.....and I'm proud of it). I bought a couple of original body and chassis service manuals from Les Modrow on here, and have been thumbing through and reading them in my free time. I find that kind of stuff interesting, even when most would find it quite boring. Thanks again for all your help as I learn this car.
    Lucas

    1963 Custom Riviera 401 Nailhead
    1972 Mach 1 552" Stroker
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville 472"
    1974 F100 395" Stroker daily driver

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: My 63 Riviera Custom

    My pleasure Lucas.


    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom Forged Pistons
    Many parts to numerous to list
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

 

 
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