In the early '60s when Bill Mitchell was styling the concept car that would become the Riviera, he didn't know that the car he was designing for Cadillac would ultimately become a Buick and would be such a favorite among customizers. The car's stunning good looks seemed to already be customized sitting there on the showroom floor. Its egg crate grille, disappearing headlights, and crisp beltline, which wrapped around the low-swept wheel arches, gave the car a lead sled stance.
My younger brother's daydreaming about what could be done with a '65 Riviera was my inspiration. Since my brother doesn't have a Bill Gates budget, I penned a design that would be relatively easy for two shadetree customizers to pull off without too much expense and effort.
To start with, a Riviera crest is centered between wings of chrome, forming a floating bar grille. The car's sexy bodylines are even sexier after the car's been nosed and decked. The doors get the barber's treatment, and the lower half of the rear bumper is shot Kandy Black Cherry to match the rest of the sheetmetal. Notches in the bumper are fitted around the stainless oval exhaust tips, and the stock taillight lenses are tossed in favor of a pair of hand-made acrylic pieces capped off with another pair of Riviera crests with chrome wing accents
To attain the chassis-draggin' attitude the car rides on Air Ride bellows and rolls on 20x9-inch Ultra Wheel Warlords, new for 2004. Inside the car the interior remains mostly stock with the exception of deep maroon Naugahyde seats with contoured inserts and matching door panels. So, if you have a Riv and not a lot of loot, here's an easy recipe for a slick custom.