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The 1965 Buick Riviera is not only the most desirable year for the Riviera but is also one of the most beautiful automotive designs of all time. As a first generation model it retains the classy look that put these cars on the map. But it also has the one-year-only clamshell headlights that clean up the grille and give a whole different appearance up front. The result is both sporty and elegant, with lines that flow crisply and smoothly from front to back.
This gorgeous car had a bare metal repaint in the modern Corvette color of Atomic Orange. Completed in 2015, this work included making any required rust or dent repairs and ensuring a smooth, straight body with proper panel gaps. The result is a stunning look that gives a whole new depth to the Riviera design. Some subtle pinstriping was also added for a little extra flare. All chrome and trim has been replaced or reconditioned as well. This Buick also has 17” reproduction Rallye wheels with Riviera center caps and 235 tires all around.
The engine is a 401 cubic inch Nailhead V8 rated at 325 hp and an impressive 445 ft-lb of torque. This is an original factory setup without any modifications. The drivetrain continues with Buick’s ST400 transmission (essentially a TH400 with a variable pitch torque converter) and the B-O-P rear end. Being a Riviera this car is also equipped with power steering and power brakes (with huge aluminum drums) for easy driving. The car drives perfectly thanks to recent work on the brakes and steering.
The black vinyl interior has been redone and continues the Riviera’s appeal with a clean, classy look. The woodgrain accents on the center console and door panels help set it apart from other offerings of the mid-60’s. There is also a wooden steering wheel that ties in nicely. A set of aftermarket gauges has been added along with a digital AM/FM/CD stereo. The interior also received additional soundproofing. The factory air conditioning system holds a charge but is not functional. Note this Riviera is also equipped with a tilt steering column and power windows. And yes, the clamshell headlights operate properly as well.
The Riviera really is a gorgeous automobile with a great drivetrain and lots of nice features. At 50+ years of age it is still a pleasure to look at, especially with the beautiful paint. But to drive this car is to really enjoy it, gliding down the road with a smoothness and comfort that has defined Buick for over a century.