Cadillac LSA-Swapped 1968 Buick Riviera

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of resto-mods, as I cover plenty of them every year at the SEMA Show. The combination of timeless styling and modern turn-key reliability is a formula that many people find appealing. But as is so often the case, people tend to overdo it.

I understand that if you’re going to upgrade the engine and build a car, you’re also going to do better brakes, suspension, and fix up the rest of the car. As a matter of personal opinion, I am conflicted when I see an old car with 20-inch billet wheels, fender flares, and massive disc brakes. Are you trying to build a muscle car or a modern race car? It looks a bit odd to me to see carbon fiber air dams and projector headlights on a 1960s car.

With this 1968 Buick Riviera, they really got it right.

I spotted this car at the monthly Cars and Coffee gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona. The original engine has been swapped with a supercharged 6.2L LSA V8 from the Cadillac CTS-V. With 556 horsepower, it certainly packs more power than the original engine.

And again, there is that turn-key reliability. Modern engines can run on ethanol-blended fuels with no problem (ethanol blended fuels are sold in Maricopa County). Modern engines don’t need to have the valves adjusted every 30,000 miles. You don’t need to let it warm up on a cold morning. You don’t need to worry about vapor lock on hot summer days. You just get in, turn the key, and cruise.

This car appears to be set up as something of a sleeper/cruiser. It doesn’t have a wild paint job, crazy wheels, or anything to indicate that it’s packing a serious wallop under the hood. From the outside, it just looks like a clean, restored classic car. Even the exhaust tips with stock-looking turndowns are present.

I’ve got to hand it to the owner on this Rivera for doing it right by not over-doing it. Well done.

1990 Buick Reatta Coupe

1990-buick-reatta-profileIf you saw my last post about the Chrysler TC by Maserati, you know the background leading up to the highly competitive luxury coupe market of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, we’re going to take a look at Buick’s short-lived attempt at cracking into this market segment.

The Reatta was a two-seat coupe that went on sale in 1988. Like the Chrysler TC, it was intended to be a top-of-the-line model, available at a premium price. Though the Reatta is in the same vehicle segment as the TC, Buick’s approach was completely different from Chrysler’s. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: JF Kustoms 1964 Buick Riviera

jf-kustoms-1964-riviera-sideIn every discipline there is a high award or honor that is bestowed upon those who have distinguished themselves from the crowd. Music has the Grammy award, acting has the Oscar award, and physics has the Nobel Prize.

In the world of hot rodding, the Ridler Award is among the most prestigious honors a car builder can receive. It is a moment of great pride and triumph for the shop who beats out all of the other shops and captures the award. In 2014, the Ridler Award went to JF Kustoms for this 1964 Buick Riviera nicknamed “Rivision.”

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1964 Buick Special 2 Door Wagon

There is something magic about hot-rodded station wagons. They are the automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too! What I mean is, you get the power and performance of a hot rod plus the storage space and practicality of an everyday car. There are no compromises to owning a souped-up wagon.

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1956 Buick ‘Nailed’ by Troy Trepanier

One of the premiere builders in the hot rod scene today is Troy Trepanier. From his shop in Manteno, Illinois, Rad Rides by Troy delivers some of the most unique automotive creations on the road today.

I got to check out their 1956 Buick “Nailed” on display at the 2013 SEMA Show and based on the crowd of admirers, I could tell this car was something special. At the risk of sounding cliche, this ain’t your granddaddy’s Buick!

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1974 Buick LeSabre 4-Door Sedan

No, it’s not broken down or trying to summon help. The hood is raised on this 1974 Buick LeSabre sedan because it’s actually participating in a car show. Yes, really.

I spotted this land yacht at a local cruise-in in Glendale, Arizona. The car’s enormous size piqued my curiosity and drew me in for a closer look.

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Copper Queen: 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport Custom

When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Thunderbird in 1955, they created a market for a brand new type of vehicle: the personal luxury car. From the very beginning, the Thunderbird was a big hit that broke sales records and earned high praise from customers.

Over at General Motors, VP of Styling Bill Mitchell wasn’t about to let Ford hog the spotlight. He decided that General Motors needed a personal luxury car of their own. Mitchell asked designer Ned Nickles to come up with a rival to Ford’s 2-door, 4-seater Thunderbird. Continue reading