Doug Garrett had just sold his pristine '61 Caddy and was sensing a void in his life that couldn't be filled without owning another piece of heavy metal Americana. Then, while taking a coffee break at Starbucks in his hometown of Morgan Hill, California, there it was right across the street-a '63 Riviera! Doug had previously owned such a Buick, and the fire was immediately rekindled, so after the sighting, events moved rather quickly. Within half-an-hour, Doug had met with the owner and was taking a test drive, all the while negotiating a deal. Cutting to the chase-the Rivi was now his! Within a week, however, what had appeared to be the buy of a lifetime blew its nailhead after putting but 110 more miles on the odometer. Things seemed bleak, and indeed, it took two rebuilds over a three-year period to get the mechanicals sorted out to Doug's liking, but to his credit he hung in there, conquering all obstacles keeping him from having the car of his dreams.
However, as the car of Doug's dreams also had to be more than merely mechanically perfect, he then set out, with the help of the Renteria Bros., to refine the Riviera's voluptuous bodylines as well. To this end, handles and chrome were shaved, the hood peak diminished (no easy task), faux quarter-panel scoops rearranged, and custom taillights created. Doug tells us he made up several sets of lenses before he hit on that just-right look-time well spent. Removing the front license plate mount also did a lot to clean up the car (as it does with most-consult your state vehicle code as to legality in your area before doing likewise), as did smoothing off the lower bumper into its intended design as a factory rolled pan. Let us not forget that this first generation of Rivieras, as well as '58 Impalas and possibly a couple more of the "General's" creations were in reality, customs direct from the factory.
Doug's crowing achievement, though, was in having 74 billet bullets machined and polished as additions to the grille. This, along with a PPG Silver paint job by his body guys, conservative lowering, Boyds 18- and 20-inch "Genesis" wheels, and a white Naugahyde interior by AAA Seat Covers, made his journey into custom rodding complete. Time to enjoy!
Morgan Hill, California
Modifications At A Glance
Nosed, decked, shaved, and partially dechromed; hood peak minimized; upper quarter-panel scoop moved rearward 2 inches; custom taillights; tri-bar headlights; 74 machined billet bullets in grille; lower front bumper smoothed and painted body color; bodywork and PPG No. 3747 Silver paint by Renteria Bros., Morgan Hill, CA; pinstriping by Tim of Salinas, CA.
Rebuilt '63 Buick 401-cid nailhead V-8 by HJK Racing; Carter 750-cfm carb; chromed stock air cleaner; Offenhauser valve covers; Zoops wire looms; four-row U.S. Radiator cooler; Brassworks water pump; stock Dynaflow trans.
Custom 2 1/2-inch lower coil springs w/KYB shocks in front, 3-inch coils w/KYB shocks at rear; Boyd Coddington Genesis wheels, 18x7 front, 20x8 rear; Michelin Pilot Z-rated tires, 245/40-R18 front, 275/35-R20 rear.
Stock seating covered in white Naugahyde by AAA Seat Covers; Grant banjo steering wheel; black carpeting; VDO oil and temp gauges.