Dennis LeeHuntington Beach, California'65 Buick Riviera GS
ChassisThe factory frame was modified for driveshaft clearance, and the original steering and spindles were kept in place, but SSBC disc brakes were added to the front and rear. The suspension includes an Air Ride Technologies Intelliride airbag system with 'bags in front and ShockWaves in back.
DrivetrainInitially, Dennis was thinking about a larger engine, possibly an EFI small-block, but ultimately chose a Nailhead because of its classic looks and the fact that it's a Buick. Luckily, there happened to be an ideal donor engine right under the hood of the Riviera. The 425ci engine wears an Offenhauser intake and dual four barrels, along with finned aluminum valve covers and air cleaner. Custom headers funnel exhaust to a pair of Flowmaster Xcel mufflers. A custom adapter hooks the engine to a Chevy 700-R4, which spins a custom two-piece driveshaft. A narrowed Ford 9-inch rear was packed with 3.73 gears and a Posi.
Wheels & TiresThe 18-inch wheels are proportionally perfect for a car this long, show off the big disc brakes, and are the primary exterior components distinguishing the car from a stock appearance. The contemporary five-spokes are alloy Cruzers from Wheel Vintiques, with three-spoke knockoffs covering the lug nuts. Radial tires are Pirellis.
Body & PaintIf you're gonna paint a car this big this black, you'd better have it laser-straight before you start shooting. The New Mexico desert climate probably helped keep the body fairly rust free, but 40 years worth of driving required a little attention to bring the body back to brand-new condition. Hot Rods & Custom Stuff shaved the emblems and door locks, but retained the rest of the trim, and covered the car with mirror-perfect coats of PPG black. While they were at it, they fabricated some custom horizontal trim for the taillights.
InteriorElegance continues into the interior of the Riviera, where the original seats were stripped of the factory vinyl and covered in red leather (inspired by Taylor Lee) by the guys at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff. Randy Clark modified the tilting armrest between the rear buckets with a padded insert and added three sets of seatbelts so all the Lee kids can buckle up in the back. Engine-turned panel inserts were installed in the factory dash, along with vents for the Vintage Air A/C system. Dennis chose a Grant three-spoke steering wheel (inspired by Grant Lee), which matches the woodgrain door panel inserts. Those inserts were dressed up with some subtle 'striped flames (inspired by Garrett Lee).