Baby Blue Beauty: 1964 Buick Riviera – SOLD!
March 18, 2021 Update – We’re not surprised to confirm how quickly the seller of this pretty and rust-free Buick Riviera “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
We’re smitten for Buick Rivieras, especially first-generation cars in rare colors such as this all Wedgewood Blue 1964 example originally listed in March 2021 on Craigslist in Elk City, Oklahoma offered at $31,000. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Riviera priced $1,200 below this guide’s #2 “Excellent” estimate of $32,100. Similarly, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool confirms the asking price is nearly three thousand less this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $33,875.
Buick launched the stunning new Riviera was introduced on October 4, 1962, as a 1963 model. The Riviera’s distinctive body shell was unique to the marque, which was highly unusual for a GM product. Also unusual for GM was how close that actual production car matched the original show car it was based on save for less expensive fixed headlights mounted in the grille (concealed in the fender grilles that mimicked the show car finally went into production for the ’65 model year). The elegant ground-up styling sported the new “Coke bottle look” introduced the year before on the Studebaker Avanti, with a tapered midsection surrounded by flaring fenders. There was no trace of the “Sweepspear” used on belt lines of earlier Buicks with the Riviera trim package.
It rode a cruciform frame similar to the standard Buick frame, but shorter and narrower, with a 2.0 in (51 mm) narrower track. Its wheelbase of 117 inches and overall length of 208 inches was six inches and nearly eight inches shorter, respectively than a Buick LeSabre, but slightly longer than a contemporary Thunderbird. At just under 4,000 pounds it was about 390 pounds lighter than either. Power brakes were standard, using Buick’s massive “Al-Fin” (aluminum finned) twelve-inch diameter drums. Power steering was also 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, however, the roll centers were lowered 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 driveable American cars, with an excellent balance of comfort and agility.
Buick’s 325 horsepower 401 cubic inch (6.6 Liter) “Nailhead” V-8 was initially the only available engine, fitted with dual exhaust as standard equipment, and the two-speed turbine drive the only transmission. The base price was $4,333, running upwards of $5,000 delivered with typical options. 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.
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 mph in eight seconds or less, the standing quarter-mile in about 16 seconds, and an observed top speed of 115 miles per hour. Fuel economy was a meager 13.2 miles per gallon.
Inside, the Riviera featured a luxurious four-place cabin with front bucket seats and bucket-style seats in the rear. A center console with a floor shifter and storage compartment built into the instrument panel divided the front. Upholstery choices included all-vinyl, cloth and vinyl, or optional leather. A deluxe interior option included real walnut inserts on the doors and below the rear side windows. 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.
Deciding not to mess with success for 1964, Buick stylists made minimal changes to the car, with the most identifiable distinguishing features being a raised stylized “R” hood emblem and “R” emblems replacing the Buick crests in the taillight lenses. The interior is distinguished by moving the heater controls from controls under the dashboard eyebrow to slide controls in the forward fairing of the center console. Leather was dropped as an option, and the Dynaflow-based twin-turbine two-speed automatic was replaced by a new three-speed Super Turbine 400 transmission.
Check out this 1964 Buick Riviera commercial currently posted on youTube:
We love the color combination and the fact this is a rust-free Riviera that spent its entire life in dry Oklahoma. While the seller indicates the only modification is the radio, we would question him about the wire wheels as they appear to be very nice aftermarket pieces. Add in the fact this is a factory air-conditioned car (although the system is in need of repair) and this Riviera will make a great show-and-go cruiser all summer long.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Here is your chance to own a total rust-free Oklahoma car that is a true luxury muscle car of the era. 1964 Riviera for sale located in central-western Oklahoma. Local area car. can tell you the complete history of the car. I have replaced the heater core with NOS core and have had the ac recharged, still on r12. the only mod made was to upgrade the radio to an am fm blue tooth radio with new speakers, sounds good. Asking $31,000
465 wildcat engine. runs, drives, and stops fantastic. beautiful car.
Can send additional pictures through e-mail if needed.
Looking to trade for super nice 1946-1948 Ford or Mercury Coupe Street rod, or 1939 to 1941 ford pickup street rod, maybe 1949 to 1951 Mercury
Phone calls only please!!!!!!“
Show or go: what would you do with this Riviera? Comment below and let us know!
I know it was 1964, but what a stunningly chauvinist, pigheaded comment in the Riviera commercial… “…a great and rare machine that a woman can admire and enjoy to the fullest, but only a man can really understand.” Ugh!
And we shouldn’t judge the unenlightened 1964 by today’s enlightened standards. When I heard that I smiled and shook my head thinking the announcer in the commercial couldn’t have fathomed the reaction that comment would have incurred today.