1963 Buick Riviera
Highly desirable first-year Riviera with the same California owner for the last 8 years!
Rare 1 of only 2,601 out of the 40,000 1963 Rivs delivered with the optional, larger engine
Original, numbers matching Riviera Wildcat 465 V-8 (code JW542) engine with four-bbl. carb, displacing 425 CID, making 10.25:1 compression and 340 hp/465 tq with dual exhausts
Engine was a factory upgrade from the base 401 CID V-8
Final year for two-speed Twin Turbine Automatic Transmission
Silver Cloud Metallic (code D) exterior with Custom Interior in Medium Red
Original factory power steering, power brakes, power windows, center console, tilt steering column and original spare tire
Original lined trunk, deluxe steering wheel with wood interior appliqués
Documentation include original owner’s manual and a Clarion stereo user’s guide
Own this Vehicle from $502 per month-call 636-600-4600
With its razor-sharp lines and simple yet bold form, Buick had unveiled a stunner. Along with Chevy’s newly redesigned two-seater, Head Stylist William Mitchell and General Motors delivered a fierce 1-2 punch to the rest of the automotive design world in 1963 with the Buick Riviera and put Ford’s Thunderbird on notice.
MotoeXotica Classic Cars is proud to present this highly desirable and optioned first-year Buick Riviera. This example was built sometime during the final days of February 1963 at General Motor’s Flint, Michigan assembly plant. It left the line with the following options – power windows, tinted windshield, driver’s remote sideview mirror, Sonamatic AM radio and the powerful Wildcat 465 V-8. It was delivered Ullian Buick, Inc., in Framingham, Massachusetts and sold to its original owner on March 8, 1963. It has resided in Chowchilla, California with the same loving owner for the past 8 years.
This is a very special and rare Rivera, its finished in very desirable silver exterior with red interior and most importantly it is optioned with powerful Wildcat 465 V-8 and dual exhaust. Out of the 37,399 Rivieras produced in 1963, only 5% had the optional JW Wildcat engine producing massive amounts of torque! And this particular Buick still has the numbers matching motor!
Dressed in Silver Cloud Metallic (code D), the car’s paint and trim are in overall great condition with minor imperfections while the car’s windows are in better-than-average shape.
The car’s bodywork is straight and its engine bay is very tidy, the battery appears new, the chrome bumpers are in very good condition and they fit tightly to the body. This Riv rolls on Road Handler whitewall tires, size 215/75R15 at all four corners and each tire surrounds a steel wheel topped with a factory wheel cover. Both tires and wheels are in very good order.
Underhood is the car’s original, numbers matching, JW542 Riviera Wildcat 465 V-8, breathing through dual exhausts. Buick’s marketing department decided to focus on the engine’s largest number, its torque figure, and post it prominently on the air cleaner. Unfortunately, without a salesman or mechanic to explain it, many people came to believe the engine displaced 465 cubic inches instead of, in this case, 425 cubic inches.
This 425 CID Nailhead V-8 makes 10.25:1 compression and puts out 340 horsepower plus the aforementioned 465 pounds-feet of torque and was a factory upgrade from the car’s base 401 CID Nailhead V-8. Driver convenience features include original factory power steering, power brakes, power windows, center console and tilt steering column.
Inside, the Medium Red Custom Interior (code 778) is in overall excellent condition. The front buckets and rear demi-buckets look fantastic with their distinct red inserts and vinyl bolsters, as does the matching red carpet. The contrasting white headliner is in very good order, as is the original two-spoke steering wheel with the car’s name spelled out on the hub. The red instrument panel and inner door liners are excellent order, as is the space age center console and floor-mounted shift lever. While there is the original Sonamatic AM radio in the dash, it has been bypassed in favor of a modern Clarion AM/FM stereo with CD player, USB port and MP3 capability.
Custom interiors included:
Cloth and vinyl or leather and vinyl upholstery
Full-length door armrests
Door latches for rear seat passengers
Real walnut trim inserts on door and quarter trim panels
Circular Buick Tri-shield ornaments on door panels
The center console featured a black textured vinyl on both the Standard and Custom interiors for 1963. Wood veneer wasn\'t used until 1964, and then only with the Custom interior.
The production Riviera was introduced on October 4, 1962, as a 1963 model. Its distinctive bodyshell was unique to the marque, unusual for a GM product. It rode a cruciform frame similar to the standard Buick frame, but shorter and narrower, with a two-inch narrower track. Its 117-inch wheelbase and 208-inch overall length were 6.0 and 7.7 inches shorter, respectively, than a Buick LeSabre, but slightly longer than a contemporary Thunderbird. At 3,998 pounds, it was about 390 pounds lighter than either. It shared the standard Buick V-8 engines, with a displacement of either 401 or 425 CID and the unique, continuously variable design twin turbine automatic transmission. Power brakes were standard, using Buick\'s massive “Al-Fin” (aluminum finned) drums of 12 inches in diameter. Power steering was standard equipment, with an overall steering ratio of 20.5:1, giving 3.5 turns lock-to-lock.
The Riviera\'s suspension used Buick\'s standard design, with double wishbones up front and a live axle located by trailing arms and a lateral track bar in the rear, but the roll centers were raised to reduce body lean. Although its coil springs were actually slightly softer than other Buicks, the Riviera\'s lighter weight made its ride somewhat firmer. While still biased towards understeer, contemporary testers considered it one of the most drivable American cars, with an excellent balance of comfort and agility.
The elegant, ground-up styling sported new “Coke bottle styling,” with the middle of the body exhibiting a tapered tucked-in appearance. There was no trace of the “Sweepspear”” used on beltlines of earlier Buicks with the Riviera package.
Buick\'s 401 CID “Nailhead” V-8 was initially the only available engine, fitted with dual exhaust as standard equipment and the turbine drive the only transmission. Buick announced an optional 340 horsepower, 425 CID version of the Nailhead in December 1962. Total production was deliberately limited to 40,000 vehicles (in a year that Buick sold 440,000 units overall) to emphasize the Riviera\'s exclusivity and to increase demand; only 2,601 were delivered with the delayed availability larger engine in the 1963 model year.
With the same power as the bigger Buicks and less weight, the Riviera had sparkling all-around performance: Motor Trend found it capable of running 0–60 miles per hour in eight seconds or less, the standing quarter mile in about 16 seconds and an observed top speed of 115 miles per hour.
Inside, the Riviera featured a luxurious four-place cabin with front bucket seats and bucket-style seats in the rear. A center console with floor shifter and storage compartment built into the instrument panel divided the front. Upholstery choices included all-vinyl, cloth and vinyl, or optional leather. Standard features included two-speed windshield wipers with washers, a glare proof rear view mirror, reverse lights, a parking brake on warning light, safety buzzer, electric clock, padded dash, trip odometer and more. A deluxe interior option included real walnut inserts on the doors and below the rear side windows. Popular extra-cost options included a tilt steering wheel, power windows, power driver\'s seat, air conditioning, a remote-controlled side view mirror, and white sidewall tires
The Riviera was extremely well received from all quarters and considered a great success, giving the Thunderbird its first real competition as America\'s preeminent personal luxury car.
It has since earned Milestone status from the Milestone Car Society. Jaguar founder and designer Sir William Lyons remarked that Mitchell had done “a very wonderful job,” and Sergio Pininfarina declared it “one of the most beautiful American cars ever built; it has marked a very impressive return to simplicity of American car design.” At its debut at the Paris Auto Show, Raymond Loewy said the Riviera was the handsomest American production car—apart from his own Studebaker Avanti, in his view the Riviera\'s only real competition for 1963. The first-generation Riviera is considered a styling landmark and is quite collectible today.
Fun Fact: While filming a movie with Steve McQueen in late 1962 or early 1963, actress Natalie Wood bought a new Buick Riviera for personal use. She selected one with a Desert Sand exterior and a Sandalwood vinyl interior. The car came with power windows, simulated wire wheel covers with spinners and factory A/C. It was already in dealer stock and not built with the Custom interior option.
Coupe competition to this Riviera in 1963 included Buick’s own LeSabre Sport Coupe, Cadillac’s Coupe de Ville, Chrysler’s 300 Sport, Ford’s Thunderbird, Mercury’s S-55 Marauder and Oldsmobile’s 98 Custom Sports Coupe.
This car will take its new owner back to a time when Buick was no longer simply a “Doctor’s Car” or a “Banker’s Hot Rod.” The Riviera heralded a forward-thinking styling and design period. Buick, General Motors and 1960s collectors should get to MotoeXotica Classic Cars as soon as possible to check out this first-year Riviera before it becomes part of someone else’s collection.
This car is currently located at our facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Current mileage on the odometer shows 83,074 miles. It is sold as is, where is, on a clean and clear, mileage exempt California title. GET OUT AND DRIVE!!!
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