Originally a trim level to denote Buick’s ultra-luxury cars stretching back to the 1940s, the Riviera broke off into a separate model in 1963. Debuting as a stylish personal luxury coupe, those early Rivieras had something almost unheard of in the halls of GM:

Their own totally unique body.

(Image/OnAllCylinders)

Yup, outside of the Corvette, there was usually some degree of platform sharing between the branches of the GM family tree. But not with the first-gen Rivi—it was its own thing, baby.

And that’s exactly what Greg Poe likes about them.

(Image/OnAllCylinders)

We caught up with Poe at this year’s Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals and asked what drew him to Rivieras.

With a smile, Poe simply responds, “the oddity.”

He continues by describing how he and his wife go to car shows all over Southern Ohio and Kentucky, and his is often the only Riviera at those events.

But after owning the Rivi for close to two decades, Poe also explains that driving such a unique car has its drawbacks—like when he recently needed to source an original power steering pump. “Took me four or five months to find one,” Poe jokes. “Junkyard in Arizona.”

Though it was originally aqua blue, the Riviera’s previous owner had it repainted in a factory-correct 1964 Sunburst Yellow, which Poe tells us is a much less common shade. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Poe’s Riviera also carries the upgraded 425 Nailhead engine, the biggest Nailhead Buick ever offered, which disappeared from the options sheet soon thereafter. “They only made them for two more years,” Poe explains, before Buick’s more modern V8s took over.

Since it’s original to the car, Poe recently had the 425 Nailhead completely rebuilt after a piston suffered some separation anxiety. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

When we asked him how it drove, Poe quickly replied with “Great, it drives great. Down the highway, 65, 70 miles per hour the whole way, engine sits right at 160 degrees.”

To that end, we asked him about his future plans for the car.

“Just driving it,” he grins.

…And there’s nothing odd about that.

Since Poe drives his Riviera all over the place, he’s made some smart upgrades to its interior, with some supplemental gauges, creature comforts, and a Vintage Air A/C retrofit. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or watching a 1972 Corvette overheat. An avid motorcyclist, he spends the rest of his time synchronizing carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.