This 1968 Buick Riviera Sport Coupe was a Gentleman's Muscle Car and Looked Better than the Eldorado

This 1968 Buick Riviera Sport Coupe was a Gentleman's Muscle Car and Looked Better than the Eldorado

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00:07
good morning this is bill from curious cars on another lovely florida wednesday morning again the temperature perfection in the 40s very nice this morning can't complain humidity non-existent this is the weather that i've been waiting for all year i know that i about the weather constantly in the summer and it's with good cause i mean let me tell you it's just a miserable time to be here in august but right now early december
00:37
things are fantastic and everything's lovely so there'll be no complaints at all looking at the comments i had a couple of requests to explain the canadian thing uh with the back seat and them being chipper and all that uh there really isn't much to it i you know here's the deal i sold cars for many many years idea schlepping as a salesman it was probably the most miserable gig i've ever had to do frankly now i'm just sort of buying the cars getting them ready and letting other poor bastards sell them and that feels
01:08
much much better but i can tell you this was interesting so whenever we would sell a car to a canadian and here's why i didn't like selling cars to canadians for one thing they perfectly impersonated real car buyers i mean they came there with their wives they looked over the cars they you know went through them inside and out they did everything they were gonna do uh you're asking let's say 25 grand for the car you'd get down to where you're sitting at the desk and they say okay you know a we'll give you 18 for it out
01:39
the door and you just spent all that time and you think what the hell we're so far away from making anything happen it's never going to work but you know at the end of the day i did sell cars to a few canadians so it's not impossible but it's certainly not easy i will say that it's a little bit easier than selling them to the germans anyway the point about the canadians is when they would get in the back i mean man they would come here for vacation you know often in the summer months because the uh
02:09
the rent is cheap oh i'm kidding i'm sure there are some canadians that came during season uh but anyway they would buy these cars these little mini coopers or uh you know sl well no slk's but whatever things with tiny back seats and they would stuff all their canadian friends into them you know a mini cooper would pull into the dealership a week after uh we sold it to a canadian couple and there would be three more giant canadians in the back and and it seemed to be a phenomenon uh that sort of they revolved only around
02:41
canadians i never saw any other uh group of people stuff as many people into the back seat uh as the canadians do it was like a a northern clown car or something uh very very strange stuff but anyway that's where that all emanated from and now uh whenever i see a car i kind of rate it to see how the canadian backseat passengers if they're going to be happy so anyway that's enough of that to get into this i have today this is a long promised week's mate and frankly it's still a
03:12
little bit of a work in progress i'm not really done with this car yet not quite ready for prime time there's a few little things i want to do before it really goes on salmonella and we do have some humidity today again that back window is misting up but anyway this is a 1968 buick riviera sport coupe not the gs but a sport coupe does have some of the gs options on it and it's an absolutely stunning car i've been a riviera guy for many many years
03:42
one of my first cars i think was my i'd say was my third car was a 1985 buick riviera that i twisted my dad's arm into purchasing when i worked at uh devoe sunshine buick back in the very early 90s late 1980s this thing had come in on trade and it was stunning it absolutely took my breath away then and it's one of the cars that i really regret selling now i wish i still had it but it gave me a soft spot for buick rivieras ever since
04:13
and the older ones in particular you know they're sort of reinforced by that roadhouse movie where patrick swayze goes out and buys what was a 65 with the clamshell headlights beautiful beautiful cars and riviera just became a thing that i always loved i have a thing for buicks as well and this the 68 model when i saw this recently at a middle auction uh where it was available i had to jump on it because it was stunning i love the what they call this olive
04:45
gold metallic i don't know where they came up with that name because it's basically a metallic forest green but it's stunning color buckspin buckskin interior black vinyl roof has the gs mag wheels on it uh you know the fold away drop down headlamps which are stunning i'll try to now again i'm alone so i can't show you them work but i'll show you when they're deployed and look at the lines of this car uh you know from the minute the riviera came out uh in 1963 it was beloved
05:17
by just about every automotive journalist newspaper uh the american public and what have you it was bill mitchell's idea uh he was head designer for gm they were all watching the incredible success the thunderbird had as a personal luxury coupe gm was taken by surprise with it because they really didn't have anything to compete with so they started developing this car it was initially slated to be a cadimac but cadamac was all jammed up with everything they could handle
05:49
so they turned it down and then chevy turned it down so then mitchell uh gave it to pontiac oldsmobile and buick to fight it out and at the end of the day buick won because they promised to keep the design faithful to the original the way that the product had been developed and the rest is history the riviera was born buick had used the riviera name on a few it was a trim package not an actual car not a model on some roadmasters and electra's you could get a riviera trim package which
06:19
uh denoted it was upscale because of course it hearkened to the uh the beauty of the french riviera and the lines on these cars are stunning stunning i mean while the 63 to 65 are considered the most valuable and the most what have you i think these the 66 to 70 models probably have the edge in terms of overall body design it's got that beautiful sloping fastback rear uh it's got big
06:49
fender arches swooping lines you know the hidden headlamps lovely little chrome trim bits these sort of protruding fenders and grill bits uh it's just an absolutely gorgeous car and really starting to come into its own now at the time it was considered kind of the gentleman's muscle car uh plutocrat pony car if you will uh you know there are guys out there in their 30s 40s 50s who really like the mustangs and eventually the camaros but they just didn't fit the lifestyle and
07:20
you know the other guys at the shop would have looked down on them you know you show up at the law office in your mustang you look like you're parking with the secretaries but the riviera was different it combined quite a bit of luxury with quite a bit of performance and style as well and was very very acceptable for any young professional to drive it also handled quite well it had a big ass motor with lots of horsepower and was a joy and treat to drive again from the very inception it was
07:51
considered one of the best handling and best engineered cars that general motors had to offer people just absolutely love driving it anyway let's just get into this thing it does have an interior trunk release which was a big deal at the time i love this swooping rear bumper absolutely beautiful comes out at the edges goes in comes out in the middle uh you've got this great little gas tank here and look at that you can push this thing up that's how you get to the gas store very very cool stuff you know this is
08:22
the kind of stuff they had on these cars which we don't have anymore uh you know i mean i guess we can't i mean it's not really uh something that would work in this day and age but it's a shame we really lost a lot of cool stuff uh anyway you can see a nice big trunk plenty of stuff would fit in here under this thing there's a matching uh mag style wheel here you see the riviera's owners association on this fender skirt this car was a bit not quite a barn find but it was a little old lady car
08:54
that the um a very active member of the riviera owners association found uh gave it a you know i'd call it a freshen up whatever he painted it and did a few bits and pieces got it running great brought it back up to a pretty good standard and then moved on to something else so now i'm going to take what he did and add a few more bits and pieces to bring it up to an even higher standard and then i'll sell it so someone else can enjoy it have a look under the hood so when buick riviera when they came out
09:29
they used the uh then oh god this is going to be virtually impossible oh god okay there we go they used what was called a nail head engine but by the time 68 rolled around uh all riviera's ended up getting this uh 430 v8 that was no longer nail head it had the same kind of heads that the small black and big block chevy's had a lot more free breathing and as a result it put out 360 horsepower which was the same as the gs version of
10:01
the nail head with two carbs a couple years earlier so this did it with one quadrijet instead of two uh it's a very good looking engine you know back when gm corporate engines were uh what they should have been you know every division had its own special engine of course as time went on the accountants put an end to that but this is of course a true buick engine on this numbers matching car and uh you know a terrific bit under the hood made it to what they called a super turbine transmission
10:32
basically uh gm's version of the th-400 one of the most bulletproof automatics ever made and uh you know shifts as it should and is you know beyond reproach it's just they used them in rolls-royce jaguar loads of other applications it was just globally appreciated as one of the greatest transmissions i love the way the headlights are tucked up underneath the in front of the core support there ready to drop down they were vacuum assisted in this year electric in earlier years i prefer the
11:04
electric ones to be honest i think they're more reliable but these do work fine but you can see kind of cool stuff here this guy had this very fancy looking writing put on here you know it's not correct i should remove it but i won't because look at the love that's put into it it looks like one of these 60s comic books to give cues to how to maintain your car as you're driving it so i'm going to keep that there i think that's neat i like the chrome dual horns and this one was equipped with air conditioner a 500
11:35
option electric climate control in this thing and uh pretty neat to have also if you go to the website the autohousenaples.com to see the photos i do have the original window sticker and protector plate and it does show that this car was equipped with not just the rear front desk brake option but also the ride and handling package that also came on the gs's that gave much stiffer springs a quicker steering and a much better performance ride than
12:05
you'd get with the standard riv so a pretty neat option package in this car you know it's 80 percent of a gs anyway everything nice and lovely under there and exactly what you want to see love the riviera badge on the front i love that big long chrome swooping thing in the middle of the hood i also love the flat nature of the hood with the slightly beveled fenders it looks very very cool from behind the wheel the wheels are amongst the most beautiful the general motors ever made
12:37
absolutely gorgeous with the black inserts and the polished lips lovely you've got that belt lined trim on the bottom the riviera badging a little chrome mirror there the black vinyl top looks terrific on this car this cornering light or side marker light was added i think for 68 this year uh to meet federal standards and uh it lights up nicely with the buick logo on there you also see the way that little chrome pipe is coming down of course big dual exhaust
13:07
oh what a neat looking car love the swooping lines and i do love this big giant bit of chrome trim over the doors that's just cool as in my opinion let's fire this thing up so i can show you the headlights i like to do it with the vacuum running okay here's a stratos uh what a strato bench seat they call it kind of a split bench seat by the time 68 rolled around buick had started to sort of de-content the riviera you know it had been a very special very unique
13:43
uh buick riviera only set up and you know of course to save money and to make things more corporate uh it started getting stuff that you would have found on other buicks at the time like the door panels the dashboard the cluster that sort of thing and the bench seat is also a part of that but you could fit six people in here uh which of course was also useful for the time and let's fire this car up there's that view from the hood that i absolutely love
14:13
look at that big expanse i'm not in love with this though that way down here is where the key is it's kind of hard to reach a little bit too stylistic for my taste there is the sound of that pretty incredible 430 cubic inch v8 firing to life see if i give you the rumble from it [Music] oh god i do love the way that sounds
14:46
anyway let's hop in all right so we've got a tilt steering wheel very very nice stuff lovely and thin uh you know over assisted but still quicker steering than for instance of that lincoln we drove yesterday uh you've got your gauge package here your temp gauge brake warning uh you know the previous two years 66 and 67 had a very funky uh i can't quite describe it like a rolling dial for the speedometer which was really neat
15:17
uh but by 68 that was gone uh here's your power antenna switch which i believe still works it does that up a little bit we got an am fm here let's see we can say eating healthier but sometimes commercials i do like the buick uh logo on the memory buttons i think that's all very cool uh here's that automatic climate control which is not very intuitive in fact this is one of the things that i'm going to be fixing is getting a new instrument cluster with uh new uh
15:51
you know whatever the decals the what you know they're a little bit wonky down here so all that stuff's still available and i'm gonna freshen that up a little bit uh but anyway works very nice and looks cool uh also in the glove box there is our trunk release there's a fuse puller that just fell down from there i don't know if they'd call those cup holders maybe if you're having a picnic because the minute you go over to that's going to um actually let's pop that that did work i can put the license
16:20
plate in before we go i love the riviera matching in the door panels yeah look at that electric trunk release this bag tag thing certainly does make life a little bit easier and now we're good and legal uh i think uh cars that came out after january of 66 had a three-point shoulder belt on the seat belts uh this one that was made pre-january uh just as the lap belt so uh you know i almost have this feel of why even bother but i'm sure they're fine
17:04
probably better than wearing nothing the clock over there yeah it's all very cool stuff and the world's biggest ashtray because i guess your professionals at the time definitely loved smoking god that's cool the way that uh that hood looks from here [Music] now here was what really was yeah well that's actually not true i'm gonna say that was the best of the riviera is the way that it drove but that's not entirely fair because the styling is so absolutely gorgeous
17:39
that it's very difficult to argue that that isn't the best part of the car so uh you know there you go it's just win-win this is one of the best driving collectible and i'm doing air quotes here muscle cars because really it's a personal luxury car as much as a muscle car uh but it's one of the best driving cars you can get from this vintage i mean just absolutely terrific the way it goes down the road incredible drivers uh this thing has just 46 000 miles that was how he found it
18:10
and uh you know that helps a lot in terms of the way the uh the steering is still nice and tight the suspension is still nice and not worn out and everything handles not dissimilar to the way it did when it was new uh but um uh you know it's still i don't know where the hell i was going i guess it really doesn't matter anyway terrific driving car i'm going to pause it for the sun and then pick it up at the end of the road [Music]
18:41
all right so we have dalton the detailer's usual job on the window uh which is why i did that but anyway uh you see how i just kind of quickly darted into traffic there without even really thinking about it as if i was driving anything not just really a collectible car and that is one of the joys of collecting and owning a buick riviera from this vintage is how nice it drives and how much it keeps it well i mean this thing came out before all of the stupid that really killed the muscle cars you know the cafe
19:12
standards the gas crunch the emission stuff uh all the ralph nader safety stuff this was an in earnest 360 horsepower car designed to cruise the interstate at you know 70 to 100 miles an hour with relative comfort and get somebody to work in style and fashion and you know just feeling pretty good about themselves there were no asterisks on this car there was no you know oh okay we have to make this compromise or that compromise uh this car was as general motors wanted
19:44
to make it and that certainly does i think help create a car that's um you know that's that's really stood the test of time let's get a kick down i mean it gets up and moves big time uh plenty of torque out of that big uh 360 v8 and the steering nimble agile with this performance package it handles pretty damn well better than you'd think for a car of this age and
20:18
it's just one of the greatest collectible drivers you can have i mean i wouldn't hesitate to get in this thing and drive it to you know tampa two hours north or two and it'd just be a fun car to cruise around and and of course with the air conditioning and semi-comfortable you know strato seats it it just feels nice and we're stuck in traffic so i'm not gonna dick around here uh anyways this is a 1968 buick riviera sport coupe stunning color combination a little bit of a work in progress
20:49
another couple weeks i should have the new dash pad and cluster set up that's really gonna help it a lot and uh you know make it uh what it what it really should be uh have fun for a new owner when they get it thank you for having a look really appreciate it i'll pick it up again here in a minute to do the middle highway version and otherwise i appreciate your having a look if you have an interest in the car it will be on the website at autohousenaples.com you give those guys a call at
21:21
239-263-8500 thanks very much and we will see you with the next one take care [Music] [Music] [Music] so you

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