Marco decided to take a course less traveled.Does the term “dare to be different” ring a bell? how about “Project Low Rod,” does that ring any? Well, if you’ve been a reader of LRM since the late ’90s, these terms were used to describe a certain photographer’s lowrider, namely Marco A. Patifo’s ’65 buick Rivera Gran Sport named after his favorite Stevie Ray Vaughan song, “Riviera Paradise.” back then, Marco had been looking to get a tradition ’64 Chevy Impala, but it seemed that everyone was after the same animal, so he then recalled how his dad used to have a ’59 buick electra, a rare car to find then as well as now.

Having been a fan of General Motors’ buick line, Marco decided to take a course less traveled. having his feelers out, he talked to buddy and the editor of Classic Truck Magazine, Rob Fortier who had a line on a ’65 Riviera out in Santa Ana, California. The former owner really didn’t see himself using the car anymore and was asking $1,100 for it. After a couple of calls and a visit to his home, Marco fell for the car, oxidized red paint job and all.

After getting it home and going through the trunk and discarding what wasn’t needed and keeping the extra parts, it was time to evaluate what it was going to take to make the car his ideal ride. having done some homework, Marco decided he needed help with his vision; a rendering was worked up by friend and extraordinary automotive artist Steve Stanford from orange County, California, who advised the use of a candy green and pearl finish, white tuck and roll, and 17-inch wires.

The dare to be different low-rod was starting to shape up, but then “delays” began to happen. Marco’s workload kept him more on the road than available to get the car done. A few tech articles were geared towards lowriders that weren’t traditional GM models, but then people within the custom car community started mimicking the rendering that was presented in an issue of Lowrider Magazine announcing the project. This left a bad taste in Marco’s mouth and he felt that he needed help with fresh ideas and some inspiration.

That help came in the form of two people, Larry daisy of Rancho Riviera in Riverside, California, and Mike Ramos of the old Car Parts Store in Whittier, California. Larry was a huge help in piecing the Riviera back together. Throughout the years, between moving the ’65 buick from shop to shop, parts fell through the cracks and needed to be replaced. daisy had an extensive stock of oeM parts and his words of wisdom would usually start off with, “now, son, this is the last one I got and there’s just not that many of them out there to get, so if you lose this part I’m gonna have to kill you.” of course, Mr. daisy was half joking, well, the killing part, at least. but if you’re a buick guy, you know what he’s talking about. buicks are hot and getting more scarce to build, especially the ’63-’65 years.

As for Mike, his connections and savvy saved some time and money when getting all of the elements together during the latter stages of the build-up. during the years when the car was getting closer to completion, Marco would drool at every cool Riviera he saw and people were constantly asking him how the car was coming along, where is it now, etcetera, etcetera. Annoying, to say the least.

Fast forward to 2006, the car was not going to be a low-rod on big wheels, oh no. The car was lifted before, then it had airbags, but then it went to a two-pump hookup; tradition would be held up and Steve Stanford commissioned a new rendering.

Around July ’06, Ramses Sanchez of Winning edge Customs in buena Park, California, hipped Marco on a tidbit. Sony uSA’s car audio division was looking to have a lowrider as part of their Team xplod, which was to be on display at the worlds biggest aftermarket car show, SeMA, at the end of october. That meant two things, that the car would finally be completed with the help of sponsorships, with Sony being the main participant along with Sikkens paint, Coker Tires and the crew or should we say family at the drag n Shop, who happen to be the back bone of the Zombies Car Club and Marco’s second family. If it weren’t for them, “Paradise” wouldn’t have been achieved.

Putting the car back together in just a few days is a whole other story, but for now Marco is content and grateful to all involved, from the staff and friends at LRM, Joe, Saul, edgar, Jeff, Rudy, Mike, Pat and everyone else there, to the Garcia family and the other Zombies, and especially his dear friend Liza Macawili for being there for him when he needed her most, a big “muchas gracias” to all!

Owner: Marco A. PatioVehicle: ’65 Buick Riviera GS (Gran Sport)City/State: Pico Rivera, CaliforniaClub: Zombies C.C.

Engine/Drivetrain: The Riviera originally had the factory 425-c.i.d. engine when it was picked up in ’98, but during a ride home from work, the engine “smoked out” on the 60 Freeway and was diagnosed to have seven cracks in the block and was doomed to the scrap pile. Wanting to keep it all buick, Marco opted to find one over at Memory Lane, then in Sunland, California. Tony Martinez stepped in to help and found a 401-c.i.d. “nail-head” along with a few other mechanical parts. Tony Cadiz, the owner of Tony’s Performance in La Puente, California, got the nod to rebuild the bottom end of the engine while Joseph and david Garcia of the drag n Shop in Santa Fe Springs, California, helped put the engine together with Marco doing whatever he could along the way. Powdercoating parts on the engine and a sparse use of chrome and polished parts like the rare finned valve covers helped in the bright work, while echoing the color scheme of the exterior. The engine is cooled by a u.S. Radiator unit built to better than factory specifications. The drivetrain was sent to Joe bustamante at boston Transmission in Pico Rivera. Joe and his tranny techs are well schooled in vintage transmissions, included the factory Th400 trans that wasin fairly good condition but made to run like a champ.

Body/Paint: The car was in a pretty tired state when the owner took it to Joseph “50s Joe” Garcia of the drag n Shop in Santa Fe Springs, where it spent several months under his watchful eye and creative hand. The removal of trim, body rot and metal flaws were cast away using a lot of manpower and hours of creative work. Since many consider the Riviera to be a factory custom, Joseph suggested to enhance the flanks of the car by “peaking” the lower body lines, removing the wipers, shaving handles, locks and body moldings, and adding faux air scoops near the front cowl for subtle impact. Robert at California horse Power in San dimas, California, shaved the firewall. A trip to South Gate Sunroof Performers in South Gate, California, saw the installation of a moonroof that looked perfect in the soon-to-be flaked top. one of the hardest decisions is choosing a painter. hard because you have to go by their schedule, and for most artists, their jobs are based on nine to five like most normal people. The really good ones are usually very busy or are under the radar for whatever reason. Marco chose Ruben “buggs” ochoa of buggs kustom kolors of Los Angeles, California. buggs has been doing custom paints jobs since the early ’70s and has done many a custom vehicle, but this one was special because the car was headed for the 2006 SeMA show in Las Vegas, nevada, as part of Sony’s automotive audio elite known as Team xplod. The paint scheme is based on a tattoo on close friend Rolando Rios’ arm. That design is found along the roof and flows down into the trunk. Using a custom blend of Sikkens paints and toners, buggs and his son Ruben Jr. and great friend Jesse did the final prep work and painted the belly, rearend, jambs, engine bay and various parts of the car. Countless hours of laying tape, paper and painting is just part of creating his vision to the buick canvas. Adding to the color explosion is artist david Anthony Garcia of d.A. designs, located across from the drag n Shop in Santa Fe Springs. David was commissioned to do all of the custom pinstriping and creating a zombie tiki man on the shaved firewall. Some say the piece resembles the owner of the car, but he begs to differ. david Anthony also had a hand in creating the rear package tray and subwoofer enclosure. The bright work was down at two locations, The best Chrome and Polishing in Pomona, California, and La habra Plating Company in La habra, California.

Interior: The car was shipped literally right out of the paint booth and down to Lil’ J’s Custom Auto upholstery in Riverside, California, where Lil’ J attacked the Rivi with a color combo of turquoise and purple tweed. The colors followed 90-percent of the factory patterns along the door panels and seating but the headliner, center console and dashboard is all Lil J’s doing. He suggested ditching the factory dash and dropping in the custom dash gauges from Classic Instruments, giving the interior a more custom feel.

Sound System: Since it was Sony who helped with a big push to finish this car in time for the SeMA show, it’s a no-brainer that everything in the sound and video department is of Sony origin. From the xAV-C1 head unit to the six xVM-b62 monitors, it’s a visual explosion for driver, passenger and passerby. That’s because you’ll see the monitors from front to rear package tray to the trunk where a pair of them are located in the subwoofer enclosure. Jamie Fifield at Advantage Audio Autosports in brea, California, gets big-time kudos for pulling off the monster task of integrating the visual and audible gear-stuff like four xS-V160hP midrange drivers found up front in the kick panels, the rear deck for fill and in the trunk where they accompany a quartet of xS-L104P5b subwoofers in the custom candy purple enclosure. “Floating” in front of the enclosure is a pair of xM-1252GTR Sony xplod amplifiers and just below them is a set of xM-d9001GTR amps to handle the heavy sounds. Jamie and then co-worker Roger used dynamat, Scosche and optima batteries to finish up the awesome sound system.

Setup: The chrome double-pump Cool Cars Street Performer hydro hookup was installed by “big Frank” formerly of homie’s hydraulics in Paramount, California. number-eight hoses connect the pumps to 8-inch strokes in front and 10s in the rear, with a pair of hidden optima batteries to keep the juice going to an eight-switch cluster up front. The frame itself was reinforced by Richard Jaquez of evergreen hydraulics in east Los Angeles, who made sure that the chassis would be bulletproof for the stresses put upon the Riviera when Marco messes with the hydros. Super-tight tolerances and pro welding skills are preserved under a purple powdercoat finish done by Inland empire Coatings of ontario, California. Richard is also responsible for installing the new brake, fuel and transmission lines from Classic Tube.

Tires: P175/75-R14 Mastercraft RadialsWheels: 14-Inch Street Style Wires