I was 16 years old when the Riviera first appeared at the local Buick dealership in Redding, California. My brother Pat, my best friend Tom and I would go to the local new car dealerships in town to check the new models.
We checked out the new 409 Chevy impala, the new Ford Mustang, and a red Falcon 4-speed V8 convertible. We finally found our way to the Buick-Pontiac dealer and discovered the new Riviera.
I sat in the driver’s seat and looked over the floor console and dash layout with the glove box door that opened up and not down. It had a 425 Nailhead under the hood and all luxury comforts. It didn’t look like any Buick I’d ever seen before. I fell in love with the car.
It was many years before I was able to own one. In 2012, I was sitting at my computer looking at cars for sale on a local East Texas website when I spotted this blue ’64 Riviera for sale. The asking price was $8,500, so I showed the picture to my wife. To my surprise, she liked the car. She told me that her dad owned one when she a teenager and she loved it.
I called the seller and made an appointment to see the car. We drove the 70 miles to look at the car. It was a very nice looking car. It was an original California car bought new by the seller’s uncle in Glendale, California. When the uncle died a year later, his widow parked the car in the garage, where it sat for 30 years.
The seller (Daryl) said he went to California and brought the car to Texas, where he began a restoration on the 27,000 mile car. He said the motor was frozen so it had to be rebuilt. The headliner was falling down and the carpeting was mildewed. He had the headliner and carpeting replaced, the seats were still in good condition and just needed cleaning.
He didn’t like the original color (code nn Coral Mist,) so he had it painted blue. I offer $6,500 for the car. He countered with $7,500 and I bought the car.
I asked a neighbor who owned a car trailer to help me bring the car home since the tires were in need of replacing. It’s going on five years since I bought the car. It needed more parts than I had originally thought (including carburetor, brakes, wheel bearings etc.), but it’s been a lot of fun and when I take it out for a drive people always have nice things to say.
It’s not a show winner, but it is a fine weekend driver. Someday I hope to pass it on to my now 4 1/2 year old grandson. Until then, its mine to love and drive.
— John Loghry, Gun Barrel City TX
Do you have a classic car with a story to share? It’s easy. Just go to this link, fill in the information and submit your story.