Top Notch Customs Builds a Clean ’65 Buick Riviera

When it's Cool, it Doesn't Go Out of Style

Coco Chanel once famously said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Some things just never lose their cool factor. Certain trends have come and gone in the car world, especially lowriding, but others never get old. Even unmodified, few would argue that a car like the 1965 Buick Riviera looks all that dated. In fact, according to its owner, Rudy Trevino, it even drives like a modern car. When he decided to go all in and turn the car into a lowrider, he wanted something simple and clean. We’d have to say that this ride would have looked just as good on our cover 40 years ago as it does now. It just goes to show you that some things just never age.

Rudy had wanted a Rivi because they’re unique and not the mainstream choice. He had been looking for one for years and found this one in Houston on eBay. It’d come from the second owner and had originally been in New York City. This car was loaded with factory accessories and those old enough to remember would attest that it was really ahead of its time. A speed sensor set at 70 mph goes off when you go beyond that. Other options like an Autronic Eye, tissue dispenser, power windows, power seats, and factory A/C round out the package.

Next step was finding the right shop to take on the project. After meeting the guys from Top Notch Customs at the LOWRIDER Super Show, Rudy and the team hit it off and the choice was made on who’d take on the project. The car retains its factory dual-quad 425 as well as the original transmission and rearend. Some chrome and an aluminum radiator dress it up along with being matched to the body color.

The frame was reinforced, A-arms extended and molded, and everything was powdercoated in preparation for the hydraulic setup. It consists of two Hoppo’s pumps with a floating oil reserve tank, four Delta dumps, four solenoids, four switches, 6-inch front and 12-inch rear cylinders, and four Centennial batteries. ABS disc brakes all around slow down the 14-inch Zeniths.

Badges, door handles, mirrors, and keyholes were shaved off so the House of Kolor Candy Brandywine could be laid down by Louie “Kustom Kandy” Carrillo. Other than that the car retains its stock lines and trim. Joe at California Upholstery did up the double-stitched magnolia-colored leather, same color as a Bentley. Burled wood accents and LED lighting with some billet inserts bring the interior into the modern age with some classy touches. A center console was added and dash changed up a bit to house the relocated Dolphin and Dakota Digital gauges. A Pioneer head unit powers a Kicker subwoofer and Infinity and Pioneer speakers.

Rudy named the car “Highway to Hell” not because he’s an AC/DC fan, but because he thought it’d bring hell to the car shows since it was a departure from the usual Impalas that dominate the scene. Rudy would like to thank Peter and Paul at Top Notch Customs, Pegasus Car Club, and his friend Ary for their help. However you slice it, it’s a heavenly interpretation of a car that isn’t conventional, but looks as good as it did 51 years ago.

1965 Buick Riviera

Owner

Rudy Trevino

City/State

Rowland Heights, CA

Club

Pegasus

Engine

425ci V-8, automatic trans

Body/Paint

shaved with House of Kolor Candy Brandywine by Louie “Kustom Kandy” Carrillo

Suspension

Two Hoppo’s pumps with a floating oil reserve tank, four Delta dumps, four solenoids, four switches, 6-inch front and 12-inch rear cylinders, and four Centennial batteries. ABS disc brakes, frame was reinforced, A-arms extended and molded, and everything was powdercoated

Interior

Dakota Digital and Dolphin gauges, upholstery, and custom console by California Upholstery

Stereo

Pioneer head unit, Infinity 6.5-inch, Pioneer 6x9s, Kicker subwoofer

Wheels/Tires

14×7 Zeniths / Premium Sportway 5.20

Rivi in 1965

The Riviera debuted in 1963. The 1965 version most famously featured clamshell headlights hidden behind the grille pods and taillights relocated to the bumper. A 401ci standard or optional 425ci Wildcat V-8 was offered, the latter of which is called the Gran Sport option, which also featured a 3.42:1 rearend, five-spoke wheels, larger-diameter exhaust, and a three-speed 400 automatic transmission. The wheelbase was 117 inches and weight was approximately 4,200 pounds. A vinyl top was offered as well. Approximately 3,354 Gran Sport editions were built out of 34,586 Rivieras and cost around $4,400 new.