1963 Buick Riviera – A Ruby Red Restoration
This smooth 1963 Buick Riviera dripping in PPG ruby red paint had a magical aura at the Goodguys 1st Kentucky Nationals in Lexington. It pulled us in for a closer look and a photo shoot. Besides the slick jewel color, low stance, original nailhead 401 and a custom grill, your eye catches a hint of carbon fiber on the top of the hood as it closes, sending you along a carbon trail to the interior complete with black ostrich and leather seats.
Owner Brian Whitis of Avon, Indiana grew up on no other than Riviera Drive, and it only seems fitting for him to unveil this amazing restoration dubbed “Morpheous” (The Greek God of Dreams) earlier this year. Even more impressive? It was homebuilt in his garage.
Brian and his father-in-law Alan Riddle started the project to restore it to original condition, but it “morphed” into a full blown custom rebuild. “This has always been a bucket list car for me” he said.
For two and a half years, painter Brian and body man Alan added plenty of touches including 57 pieces of chrome and 47 pieces of stainless steel including the horseshoe panel details, shaved door handles, a smoothed firewall and filled numerous holes of the inner fender panels, restored 401 with a serpentine March Performance pulley system, custom taillights and grill, carbon fiber inlays, a suede headliner, black leather with red stitching & ostrich seats, glowing red Dakota digital gauges, and vintage air A/C.
Complete with Gibson side-exit exhaust tips and Flowmaster mufflers, it sits low on a RideTech air suspension kit, Wilwood Disc Brakes and polished 19” Rocket Racing wheels wrapped in Yokohoma tires.
Unsurprisingly, when we came across it, the car already had a neon award winning ticket sitting on the dash at the show for the Goodguys “Bitchin’ Buick” trophy, handed to Brian just hours after arrival.
His wife Kim says “Brian has always had a passion for old cars, building his first, a 1949 sedan delivery, at age 15. Since then, he’s built or owned seven other hot rods. Since his early hot rodding days Brian has dreamed of building a custom car, one that would be worthy of the indoor and outdoor circuits. His dream started to take shape several years ago as he took notice of the few and far between Buick Riviera’s he came across while attending local car shows. The clean lines and sleek looks were the deciding factor and ironically, he found this one just 10 minutes from our home. The Riviera was in rough shape but was still intact with all its original parts and motor.”
Ever the hot rod family, Brian helped restore father-in-law Alan’s ’65 Impala and wife “The Boss” Kimberly’s ’66 Mustang before finally getting to his own special project. “This car was made to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride” and we hope he does!