file 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!

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05 Aug 2015 17:30 - 22 Aug 2015 17:54 #1269 by oestek
oestek created the topic: 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!
The 1970 Buick Riviera thread… and now for something completely different!






This one is a personal project of mine, and it is a story that goes back to the mid 1980s if I really think about it. So sit back and enjoy the history lesson… I’m also using this thread to keep my own historical record and memories straight before I lose my mind.

Growing up, my Aunt had bought me a subscription to Hot Rod Magazine back in the late 1970s or so. Like many of us, car magazines and Hot Wheels cars scarred us early, and we’re still plagued with the motoring affliction today. It started early for me… In fact, I was brought home from the hospital in my Dad’s retired 1970 Chevy Biscayne police car. (That was cool, it was green with a white top and a small block 400 under the hood. It got hit by a local tree trimming company truck, which led to its demise.)



Here's the '70 attached to our Tradewinds Bahama camper back in about '73. Also note the blue Coleman cooler.. that one is going, but I'm looking for another... That's also Big Al walking towards the camera. Dress pants, tee shirt, and about 6 Old Styles down.

As a kid, I’d pour over the magazines, mostly looking at the photos… but I slowly learned a little at a time about Muscle Cars and Hot Rods. Back in those days, Hot Rod was still pretty diverse, and they’d feature kustoms, bikes, trucks, imports… it was a good overall exposure to this stuff.

One day in 1983, on a family vacation in Colorado, I happened past a magazine rack in a grocery store. I’d always hang out at the mag rack while my parents went shopping, reading the magazines I didn’t have the coin to buy, like Motor Trend, Road & Track, and Rod & Custom when I could find it. This time, however, I spied a new kind of car magazine… a cartoon book! Can it be? I grabbed the July / August issue of CARtoons and the world became a better place. I read, re-read, re-re-re-read, and eventually memorized that whole issue to the point of nearly destroying it. (I still have it, or what’s left of it, BTW. This one is not mine… the cover is long gone.)



More on the CARtoons thing in another thread… got some cool stories about that stuff, AND, it’s coming back! Stay tuned.

So the point here is that I’ve been a car nut from an early age, and magazines and car shows helped to fuel my desire to someday have a cool Muscle Car of my own. I was really diggin’ Chevelles, Mustangs, and of course the ‘69 Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard, but those all seemed like fantasies for a pre-teen punk like me.

My Dad was a mechanic in the Air Force back in the 1950s, and he was always into cool cars. Back in the day, he had bought a new ‘60 Dodge, a ‘62 Ford Galaxie 500 XL, Corinthian White / red interior, and a 1964 Dodge of some sort. However, by this time, he was a Police officer with 2 kids living in suburbia with no extra green to blow on toys. He had gone through a string of used cars (“beaters”, as he called them) throughout the 1970s to try to get as much car for as little cash as possible. Some shining examples included:

  • 1965 Ford Galaxie 4-door, white, black top, rusty
  • 1966 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, white with a metallic blue top, not too rusty
  • 1973 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, midnight blue with a white vinyl top, not rusty
  • 1974 Ford LTD, green & green & green & green & green, not rusty
  • 1976 Datsun B210, all colors of rust over dark blue
  • 1967 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, white, black top, rusty

He eventually bought my a brand-new 1981 AMC Concord wagon for my mom to haul us around in… it was Sun Yellow with woodgrain and brown interior. This picture is almost identical, but I think we had wheel covers.

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Last Edit: 22 Aug 2015 17:54 by oestek.

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05 Aug 2015 17:34 - 05 Aug 2015 17:35 #1270 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!
But one fine rainy afternoon in about 1984, my Dad came home with a something different… a green 1972 Buick Skylark with a 350 4-barrel and an automatic.




I couldn’t believe it. I remember peering out through the front room (Chicago thing) curtains and seeing it parked on the street in front of the house. “Dad bought a Chevelle!” I yelled. I was super jazzed. My Mom and Sister didn’t care. But I was elated… we had a Muscle Car!




My Dad came in from the rain, and I asked him about the new Chevelle he just bought. “I think it’s a Buick” he said as he walked passed, not demonstrating any of the enthusiasm I had. “It’s a s*&^box” he added.




As you can imagine, I was kinda tossed in 2 different directions… how could he not think it was the coolest thing ever, and… it’s a Buick? What the what? I immediately took notes of what I saw… it was green, dark green vinyl top (or what was left of it), green bench seat interior, and it was riding on hubcaps. Sure enough, it said “Skylark” on the crusty quarter panels. There go my LS6 454 SS dreams. But it had a stance… all jacked-up in the back, and sittin’ low and mean in front. It turns out he bought the car for $300.00 from Tony, a local repair shop owner who was also a reserve Police officer and friend of my Dad. Tony installed a set of used station wagon coil springs in the back of this Skylark to fix a saggy rear end. I thought it looked tough; my Dad called it the “sewer sniffer”.




But it LOOKED like a Chevelle. What was the deal? It was time to go back through the stacks of car magazines to see what was up with this Buick and how we could make it cool. That’s when I learned about the mighty 1970 Buick GSX, and the legendary 455 Stage 1 engine… the glorious Saturn Yellow and Apollo White paint schemes… the 500 ft. lbs. of torque, the mid 13-second quarter times… and we had a car that could someday be just as awesome.


The mighty GSX.


Our 1972 Pile.

My Dad eventually kinda warmed up to the car. The Buick 350 had a 4-barrel and was rated at about 170 net horsepower, but man, he could do some awesome 1-wheel burnouts with that car. It was only on a couple of occasions, but I vividly remember him roasting the right rear tire and we both laughed like kids.
Last Edit: 05 Aug 2015 17:35 by oestek.

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06 Aug 2015 10:04 #1271 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!
To be continued...

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06 Aug 2015 23:12 #1273 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!
Soon, pictures of GS Stage 1 cars and GSXs were all over my bedroom walls, I was building GSX models, and I had a mission. The Sewer Sniffer was going to be mine one day, and I was going to turn it into a clone Saturn Yellow GSX and rule the world. I was only 13 at the time, but it made sense in my feeble mind.

Feeding the fire was a white ‘71 GS 350 car that appeared every once-in-a-while in the church parking lot a block away from our house. I’d snap pictures of it whenever I could. I don’t think I had even seen a real GSX in person at this point, but the ‘71 350 car really wound my watch.









(All the pics of the green ‘72 and this white ‘71 were taken by an adolescent Yours Truly.)

My Dad and I even worked on the car once or twice.. we peeled the dry-rotted vinyl top off the car, sanded the rust, and rattle-canned the top black. It was far from a pro job, but it was one of the first times I did anything productive on an old car. I don’t have any pics of that phase.

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06 Aug 2015 23:21 #1274 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. One crappy day in 1985, I was walking home from somewhere and I didn’t see the Sniffer parked out in front of the house. Then I spotted a neighbor woman who lived a couple blocks away behind the wheel of MY green Buick. My Dad had elected to dump the ‘72 in to the neighbor for the same $300.00 he paid for it. He replaced it with a custom ‘79 Dodge Maxivan to drive - which was hella-cool - but not GSX cool.


The VAN parked in front of our house, I don’t know who the guy is with the T Bucket, but he stopped over one day in about 1985, so I snapped this pic.

I was torn… the van was fun, but now I had to watch my ticket to ride slowly decompose into a pile of rust chips at the hands of a person who didn’t give a rat’s rump about the car… or my plan to rule the world with it.

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06 Aug 2015 23:35 #1275 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1970 Buick Riviera Thread... And Now For Something Completely Different!
So what does all this have to do with a 1970 Riviera? Hang tight, you'll see!

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