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1965 Buick Riviera-401 Owner--A/C--Vinyl Roof

  • Make: Buick
  • Model: Riviera
  • Type: Coupe
  • Trim: Base
  • Year: 1965
  • Mileage: 118,000
  • VIN: 494475H946245
  • Color: Silver Cloud
  • Engine size: 401 cu. in. Nailhead
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Power options: Power Brakes, Power Steering, Air Conditioning
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: Black Vinyl
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Safety options: Passenger-side outside mirror
  • Options: Rare Vinyl Sunroof
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Location: Bountiful, Utah, United States


Arguably, one of the most beautifully-styled cars ever to come out of Detroit, the 1965 Riviera represents the pinnacle of the Bill Mitchell-inspired designs.From the clamshell hide-away headlights to the clean treatment of the tail, there isn’t a crease, curve or angle that doesn’t add to the visual appeal this car possesses.

Factory-correct Silver Cloud metallic paint, rare black vinyl roof and wire wheel covers add the final touches to this elegant Riviera. Inside you’ll find a correct vinyl interior installed in 1993 with bucket seats, floor shifter and wood-trimmed center console and door panels. Passengers in back are also treated to bucket seats. This Riviera features power steering and brakes, factory air conditioning, and tilt wheel. Power comes from the venerable Buick 401 Nailhead.The car retains its original engine and transmission.Power steering pump rebuilt by Lars and 4-barrel Rochester carburetor rebuilt by National Carbs of Florida.Original factory a/c compressor rebuilt and updated to R134.

This Buick was a one-family car until I purchased it from the original owner’s son in April of 2012. I began the restoration immediately. Pictures of the restoration are available. Car was originally purchased from City Motors in New York City on 11/22/1965 and spent most of its life in Virginia. Originally painted Turquoise Mist, but repainted to the factory-correct color “Silver Cloud” by the owner’s son as a father’s day present in 1992. Pictures of the re-paint also available.

This car features a factory-installed vinyl roof that was newly available for the Riviera in 1965. Only 1 in 12 Rivieras were ordered with vinyl roofs in 1965.

This is the car with the one-year-only, “Clam Shell” opening stacked headlights. These work perfectly. The motor was rebuilt by Riviera Owners specialist Thomas Moody.

I have found and installed a rare passenger-side review mirror for added driving safety.

New correct muffler, new shocks, new starter, and new Interstate battery with cut-off switch installed for shows and long-term storage. The original AM radio has been refurbished, the clock operates properly and even the “Speed Minder” is functioning.

Original Owner’s Guide, bill of sale (pictured) and Guardian Maintenance Guide with its protect-o-plate come with the car as well. Included with the purchase is the 1965 Buick Chassis Service Manual, the 1965 Buick Part Book and the 1965 Body Service Manual I used for the restoration. Also included is a full wiring diagram from Ron Francis.

In addition, this Riviera was featured in the 2015 indie movie, “Coming Through the Rye.” See picture of car on the set. It is seen three times during the film. A full story about the making of the movie and the car’s scenes can be seen in the July/August 2017 edition of the “Riview”, the Riviera Owner’s Association magazine.

This Riviera is very “well-sorted” and rides and drives more like a Lexus than a car from the mid-sixties. The X-frame combined with modern radial tires and shocks have a lot to do with its “modern” ride. A new 3M weather-proof car cover comes with the car as well. A special “X-frame adapter bar” I built comes with the car as well. This bar allows you to use any two-post lift to properly raise the car. A picture is included.

118,000 documented miles. I have put 15,000 miles on the car since May of 2012. Car is driven weekly on short trips around town and to local gatherings. During my restoration, I drove the car to the 50th Riviera anniversary in Lexington, Kentucky June 2014 (880 miles round trip) replacing only the voltage regulator on the way. Car was driven to the Riviera Owner’s Association in Reno, Nevada in June 2017 (1054 miles to and from) in comfort with a/c on, with a surprising overall 13.6 mpg!

This Riviera is a pleasure to drive due to its advanced for-the-time, X-frame chassis (low center of gravity) construction which makes it ride and handle more like a modern car. It is not at all like the heavier “floater” cars of its generation like the Thunderbird or the Grand Prix.

This classic can best be described as a very nice driver and its price reflects that.

AREAS THAT NEED ATTENTION: I like to sell the cars I restore in as close as possible to full working condition. The only two areas that could be addressed are both in the fuel system. The fuel gauge is slow to react to fuel usage. Installing a new sending unit would solve this problem. The car has the infamous Riviera gas-line “shudder” during cold weather months until the car warms up. I have cut the noise in half by installing padded gas line clamps along the body, but it is still audible for a brief time after start-up.

The frame is typical of an original 50 year-old car. It is a mix of flaking undercoating and some light rust.

There were some rocker panel rust issues, but they have all been cleaned, sanded and resprayed with rust-proof primer and paint to prevent further corrosion. Although I have taken great care to keep it original, it is not a perfect frame-off restoration.

1965 Buick Riviera Values--2 door hardtop





Base Price





Factory Air Conditioning








Please call or email me, Frank O’Donnell at 540-819-5235, or if you have any questions or would like me to take additional pictures. I have lifts in my garage as well.

Thank you for taking the time to look at my 1965 Buick Riviera.