’63-’76 Buick Riviera Interior Restoration

Shop Parts and Accessories for your GM Classic

Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) is a leading automotive manufacturer that offers more than 85,000 classic GM restoration parts and high-performance accessories. The company has the biggest collection of first-rate Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, Cutlass, Chevelle, El Camino, Bonneville, LeMans, Riviera, Cadillac, and Malibu classic parts in the world. OPGI offers thousands of 1963-1976 Riviera parts and accessories, with new parts added daily. Their extensive catalog offers nearly everything from sheetmetal, chrome, and upholstery to engine parts and the hard-to-find details to finish a restoration with show-winning attention to detail.

Not that long ago we came upon a pretty clean California 1971 “boat tail” Buick Riviera in its original condition. The car was serviced and garaged for its entire 45 years of existence. Besides the exterior have a few parking lot dings or dents, the interior had some slight wear and tear. Besides the interior’s bench seat having a few tears the only other problem was the old worn and faded carpet and door panel armrests.

We decided to visit OPGI online and found that they cater to the 1963-1976 Buick Rivieras. We decided to start off with the interior’s carpet and replace it while upgrading to a plush cut pile “Essex-style” with the same 22-ounce cut pile carpet as Mercedes and other high-end cars use. They include original-style machine-bonded plastic heel pads in the factory location with the correct molded plastic dimmer switch grommet, and the carpet kits come complete with 1/2-inch-thick jute backing bonded to the carpet. Heat-pressed and molded to an original GM E-body floorpan die, these premium luxury carpets are simple to install and have a “pop-in” fit. There are a variety of colors that coordinate with your model’s upholstery and door panel kits for the ultimate in plush automotive interiors. These thick, deep pile carpets have that luxury car feel and look for all Rivieras. Follow along with this carpet replacement half-day, one-man job as all you need to have with you is a few wrenches, Philips screw driver for the seal plates, a utility knife or scissors, and a spray adhesive glue for the padding.

1. We brought the 1971 Riviera out of the garage and onto the driveway and opened up the doors to begin the Premium Carpet Kit and Seal Plate install.

2. Besides the interior being in pretty good condition, the carpet as you can see was faded and worn out from its 45 years of service.

3. The back seat section of the floor was really faded from the sun.

4. After removing the floor seal plates and pulling back the old carpet, you can see that even the original padding was ready to be replaced.

5. We unbolted and removed the seatbelts, the front bench seat, and the rear bottom seat to make way for a complete carpet install.

6. OPGI has a “Heat Shield” insulating and sound deadener Jute pad for under your carpet that comes in a 4×6-foot size.

7. We took the sheet of the one-sided aluminum foil and cut the sheet in to two pieces with a pair of scissors. We split the pad up to cover the front and rear heated areas of the floor. The Jute padded side was glued to the floor and is applied with a spray adhesive.

8. The two-piece front and back “Essex” premium carpet upgrade kit is a GM Authentic reproduction. The aluminum Seal Plates are shown alongside.

9. We compare brand-new reproduction seal plates versus the old scuffed and worn-out plates.

10. The new, two-piece front and rear Carpet kit lays in perfect into the belly pans and floorboards. Besides the final trim cut at the edge of the doors to screw down the new seal plates, everything hugs the contour shape of this big interior’s floor. The bench seat was put back into its new place, mounted down, and reclined in comfort with a plush Riviera look.

11. A view from the rear back seat and floor.

If you have any of the models we mentioned before, be sure to start your restoration project by visiting the Original Parts Group Superstore, 1770 Saturn Way, Seal Beach, CA 90740. Get on the phone and tell them LOWRIDER sent you-(800) 243-8355-or go online to www.opgi.com, and get your GM make and model catalog like we did.


What’s the Weather Report Inside Your Paint Booth?

This month’s Paint Tip, sponsored by Axalta, is in regards to spraying paint materials during hot and humid conditions. As a product specialist for many years with Axalta Coating Systems, we can’t tell you how many times we run into painters who struggle while painting in humid or hot weather environments. Well, here’s the solution; a paint tip for all you painters. Before you begin to start spraying in any of these conditions, go out to your local hardware store, or even a Walmart, and purchase a humidity/temperature gauge. This simple gadget will prepare you to adjust and select the right hardener or reducer for all solvent or waterbase products you are spraying. When read, this simple little meter will allow you to mix accordingly so that the paint or basecoat can lay down the way it was designed to apply. Sometimes we think by grabbing a faster product in hot weather we are speeding up the process, but in all reality Axalta Products have technical data sheets that give you the right recommendations for your temperature and humidity. Hang a gauge at your shop to get a read on the weather conditions before you mix! For more technical advice please feel free to contact Steven Chaparro at Steven.c.chaparro@axaltacs.com.