Buying This 1963 Buick Riviera Is One Very Good Way To Spend $32,0007
The first-generation Buick Riviera is one of the most beloved General Motors vehicles of the 1960s – which is certainly saying something, given all the impressive muscle cars and luxury cruisers the automaker produced between 1960 and 1969.
One look at the Buick Riviera and it’s easy to see why so many GM fans hold the personal luxury coupe in such high regard. The Riviera had a body that was shared by no other GM models at the time, differentiating it from the Oldsmobile Starfire, Pontiac Grand Prix and even Buick’s own Invicta Wildcat.
This 1963 Buick Riviera, which is currently for sale at Gateway Classic Cars in O’Fallon, Illinois, is a wonderful example of the celebrated luxury coupe. It features a numbers-matching 401 cubic-inch V8 engine, which was the only engine offered in the Riviera in 1963. The only transmission available that year was a ‘Turbinedrive’ two-speed automatic, though this transmission was quickly replaced for 1964 with the superior ST400 three-speed automatic.
Details on this car are slim, as the dealer listing only contains basic info about the Riviera lineup and not this specific vehicle, but it appears to be an unrestored survivor car, evidenced by imperfections in the chrome and its weathered interior. The odometer shows just over 100,000 actual miles, so while this car has not been given a frame-off makeover, it has at least been driven sparingly in its 57-year lifespan and appears to have been very well taken care of.
Gateway Classic Cars has this 1963 Buick Riviera listed for sale at $32,000, which is about on-par for a Buick Riviera such as this. It’s also unlikely a celebrated piece of GM history like a 1963 Riviera will lose value going forward, which is also worth considering when weighing up a purchase such as this.
Check out the listing at this link for some additional information and photos of this 1963 Buck Riviera.
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Claiming to be an “Unrestored Survivor” has become one of most over-used vintage automotive descriptives and invites / attracts a whole different kind of scrutiny beyond “popular voting”.
Aside from any historical documentation and relevant back-story on how it got to today, a Survivor requires very little explanation when shown. The vehicle simply speaks for itself with nothing to prove, explain or rationalize. You see it. You can tell. The owner’s Ego is “checked at the door”, if you will.
With the series of mechanical modifications shown in the photos of this car, respectfully, it’s far from being an “unrestored, survivor”…and not sure “original” Paint and Chrome Trim / Seals look that good with 100,000 miles on the odometer…especially around the wheel wells, lower quarters , front Hood area and the lower rear window valance trim (known area of deterioration for ’63 -’65 Riviera’s).
I’ve a one-owner ’63 radio-delete version with 22K miles and even after it being professionally wheeled-out, the original paint isn’t that deep, free of chips and that consistent in its color through-out the car.
Nice looking car for sure, not diminishing it, but would challenge its claim as an “unrestored survivor”…and its “aspirational asking price” compared to what a genuine one would command.
The Riviera was a larger more luxurious car than those stated. It should be compared to the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado. The Pontiac Grand Prix wasn’t in the same class.
Unrestored survivor? More like one repaint, and didn’t bother to refinish the chrome or interior.
I inherited a 1978 Buick Riviera with approximately 80,000 original miles that sits in my driveway unused for 4 yrs now here in NY. It needs restoration and a loving home but not sure where to advertise. Any suggestions?
Another boat anchor that should be sold for scrap metal
You obviously don’t know anything about cars of that era.
To say that this RIviera is a stunning design would be saying nothing new, although it clearly is. To say that it is one of the most memorable cars during Bill Mitchell’s unparalleled rein as the head of GM Design has also already been said. What I think doesn’t get mentioned a lot is just how quickly automotive design changed at the dawn of the 1960’s and how much the ’63 Riv both exemplifies this and was a driver of that change.
The 1950’s in America were famous for post-WWII optimism and an over-the-top automotive design exuberance that seemingly placed no limits on the abundance of chrome, the height of the fin, or the number of surface embellishments. There were mini rockets, stars, jets, and all sorts of other filigree tacked onto the surfaces of nearly every car leaving Motown at the end of the decade historians have christened the Fabulous 50s. The design theme of the decade was more is more; very quickly though that gave way to a mantra of less is more.
As the 50’s ended and the Soaring 60’s began, everything changed. Suddenly all the excesses were passé and clean, sculpted flanks were en vogue. To see the 1963 Buick RIviera alongside the 1958 Buick Riviera must’ve been a shocking sea change for the populace. The new car made the five-year old version look like a relic from another time – like something 25 years old rather than five. I tend to think of this change in terms of the end of one GM Design boss’ era and the beginning of another. The 1958 Buicks were the end for Harley Earl and the 1963 Riviera, along with the famous split-window 1963 Corvette, were Bill Mitchell’s official coming out. His decidedly different sense of style would reign at GM for the next two decades but in the fall of 1962, the world was just beginning to see just how different his philosophy would be. Since taking the helm, Bill had begun to lower the fins, ditch the chrome and generally clean-up those over-embellished flanks of GM cars but the Riviera was the full embodiment of his ‘sheer look’ and it was a radical transformation. It’s hard to overstate just how much of a change it was. To those of us living today, there simply isn’t a parallel.
Although I think of this change as being driven by Mitchell, the same currents were happening in Dearborn and South Bend bringing radical transformations to American cars there too. Ford had launched a stunningly different Lincoln Continental in 1961 that was as much of a radical departure from its predecessor as was the Riviera. Overnight the Connie traded in an overwrought visage with a strange, reversely-canted backlight for a slab-sided, unadorned design that was pure elegance and, like the Buick, is still lauded today as a high-water mark of automotive design. It was so good, in fact, that 60 years later, Ford still looks to it for inspiration. Over in South Bend, Indiana, Raymond Loewy’s 1963 Studebaker Avanti was breaking cover and it too was an unquestionable leap of faith for a company by then very much in dire straits. Studebaker was gambling big with a design that ultimately would not save the company but would become another celebrated design milestone. It also would eventually be heralded among the finest automotive shapes in history. Most remarkable is that they all came together so close in time.
I would imagine that the dawn of the 1960’s would’ve been an amazing era to live through for those of us who love cars. It was a period of youthful optimism personified by a young American president and his glamorous first lady, by the notion that the moon was within reach, a jet was waiting to take us anywhere, and in all ways, the best was yet to come. The automotive designs of the era were a breath of fresh air that matched-up with everything else happening in the culture. The Riviera was but one example, perhaps, but what an example it was. Truly a design for the ages and representing a moment in time, both for GM and the world, when the past had been cast aside, the future had arrived and everything seemed to be going just right.