The Buick Riviera thoroughly remains one of America’s favorite vintage cars to own. It’s the ride that Eddie Guerrero Jr. plucked from the market to customize and cruise around the avenues, boulevards, and backstreets of his hometown Merced, California.
While in this Northern California city that’s split by Highway 99, we got a call from Eddie to meet him and his crew at a local auto shop called Big Boys Customs. The newest lowrider shop to be transformed from a gas station gets its fair share of business and was the place where we could get a closer look at the blue Buick. But come to find out, Eddie likes to hang out at Betos Taco Shop, which would have made a much better cruising local, especially on empty stomachs. Maybe next time we’ll remember Eddie. As we rolled up, he was pulling in with the Riviera looking as good as expected. Unlike a full show car getting the trailer treatment, Eddie enjoys the drive, rolls the windows down, checks the mirrors, and throws his left arm over the door for the pleasure of cruising coolness.
A pretty polite guy capped by a straw hat, he shows us the clean fastback body style, the blue paint, and hydraulics that define what you should encounter when peeping at a typical lowrider. Like any hobby, when you get serious, it can absorb your cash flow nicely. Eddie rolled up $2,000 for ownership and continued to budget for more custom tricks later on. He bought the car a few towns north, in Turlock, California. The ride was put together well but obviously needed a facelift, along with electrical wiring and a good running engine, so he stripped off the vinyl top. After that history lesson, we followed Eddie to the photo spot where the name Merced is mounted on the train station building.
One phone call was placed to Eddie’s compadre, Richard Martinez. A master at paint and bodywork, he massaged the steel skin and primered it for a glossy dressing of candy flaked Oriental Blue paint. Closely overlooking the body, you’ll see the “Full-Flo” louvers on the trunk, which are similar to that of a ’60s Corvette Sting Ray. In the meantime, Eddie was lining up his dad for the upholstery because what interior from a ’71 still looks fresh? The well-worn material was yanked out in place of some tan tweed with blue-pipe trim and a contoured dashboard. A further review of the interior revealed button-down biscuit sections throughout the seats, sides, and headliner with lower portions layered in blue. Additionally, some interior trim pieces-like the power window buttons-were polished, the gas pedals were updated, and finally, the tilt steering wheel column was topped with a smooth GT Grant steering wheel. With all that smoothness going on, Eddie continued to flow it into the stereo head unit, which was wired to two 10-inch JL Audio woofers, two 250-watt Punch amps, and one Lightning Audio digital capacitor.
Welded by Eddie and supplied by Showtime Hydraulics in Fresno, California, the blue anodized hydraulics serve to casually lift up and down the remarkable Riviera. Popping the trunk shows more upholstery work, but more than that is a two-pump, three-dump, rubber hose system with six solenoids. Moreover, hidden behind the upholstery are six 12-volt batteries juicing 8-inch front and rear cylinders all triggered by five jewel-tipped toggle switches under the dash.
Eddie says he was born into the cruising sport of lowriding so naturally he would be mechanically inclined to bling out the big V-8 engine. Speedy’s Metal Finishing (Los Angeles) got the order to chrome-plate various engine parts and pieces for that special bright look. As long as he can remember, Eddie has been hanging an Estilo plaque in his back window. Lowriding is in the blood and not everyone can join the club nor do they want dudes lining up for a plaque. What we found in Eddie is a committed soldier who doesn’t mind getting dirty just to look good.
Eddie would like to thank the club, his family, Richard, Dave, Vic, Jorge, and also the Buick Motor Division.
Street Wise ’71Owner: Eddie Guerrero Jr.Vehicle: ’71 Buick RivieraCity/State: Merced, CaliforniaCar Club: Estilo Car Club
Engine/Drivetrain: 7.5L, 455.7-cid V-8 with overhead valves (16 total), V-8/automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive.
Body/Paint: It’s famous for the fastback, boat-tail body style. There’s no primer on this steel rollcage, it features a candy flaked Oriental Blue.
Interior: Blue trim and tan tweed with button-down biscuit stitching.
Sound System: Pioneer Premiere AM/FM CD player head unit with JL tweeters, midrange, and woofer speakers.
Setup: The setup includes a Showtime Hydraulics two-pump, three-dump, rubber hose transport system with six solenoids and six 12-volt batteries juicing 8-inch front and rear cylinders. Five jewel-tipped toggle switches operate under the dash.
Tires: 155/80-13 Remington whitewalls
Wheels: 13×7 L.A. Wire wheels