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1963 Buick Riviera ***Pic's & Info***

Old 12-17-2006, 02:11 PM
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Arrow 1963 Buick Riviera ***Pic's & Info***

Today’s kids, man, they just don’t get it. They have it all wrong. They have it better than we did when we were their age, and they don’t know what to do with it. They’ve got no taste. They have no interest in building good stuff—just bolting on a few goodies from a catalog and calling it done. They’d rather be screwing around than getting serious.

Ever said those words? Congratulations, you boring old fart, you’ve become your parents. Nice going. Now go sit in the corner and count your gray ones. This country is crawling with under-30 builders who are victims of wrong-headed, ill-conceived notions such as those. Troy Trepanier is the most prominent example of a young builder made good, but there are plenty more out there who do excellent work if you’re willing to look for them. Few harbor any sort of preconceived notions of what a given car ought to be or not be. Rods need not all be smoothed within an inch of their lives. Musclecars need not necessarily have a thousand horsepower underhood. There can be a blending of styles that aged purists of a given genre would never think to put together.

Take Tim and Carrie Strange, for example. Tim is barely 30, and Carrie is a tender 25. They don’t have the resources of the legendary builders; hell, they operate their rod shop, Strange Motion, out of their backyard in Cambridge, Illinois. Yet their workmanship is flawless—the sort of craft we’re constantly being told that young people don’t know how to do or have the patience to learn or even give a hang about any more. “We constantly look to other things for colors and inspiration,” says Tim Strange. “BMX bike racing—as I’m a BMX racer and two-time state champ—skateboarding, music (being a diehard punk rocker), along with all things automotive from concept cars, hot rods, customs, rat rods, Indycars... basically anything with wheels can be cool if done with a sense of style. Even imports can be bitchin’!”

But the latest Strange one is a ’63 Buick Riviera. Lift the hood and you can see that Corvette was clearly an influence, but beyond the engine, Tim cites coloring (Cloisonne Blue is a ’95 Corvette color) and the outrageous six-pot Wilwood binders as places where the Plastic Fantastic’s vibe can be readily seen. Still, they popped out this Rivvie in a mere five months—during nights and weekends—all by themselves with, occasionally, “a couple of buds [Joe Hensler, Bill Holden, Lance Carlson, Andy Pine, Brad Loveridge, and Charlie Marek] who came by some evenings to lend a helping hand.” This is between working on customer cars during the day. It’s an example of what you can do when you really put your mind to it—and crank Pennywise on the shop stereo to help you forget that it’s 2 a.m.

It started innocently enough. Carrie needed a daily driver, so she and her husband decided to make it a rolling showcase for their shop. “I wanted to do a ’60s car but with all the modern stuff,” says Tim. “What better car to start with than a ’63 Riv? They’re pretty, and most of them (including this one) have A/C, power windows, steering, and brakes. Plus they have lots of style from the factory.” Modern stuff, he decided, would have to include 345hp worth of late-model LS1 Corvette power. “I was tempted to do an injected nailhead, but thought the LS1 would be cooler.” The Stranges obtained a beautiful, straight, rot-free Buford that lived its life in the California sun, and got to work tearing it to shreds. The list of alterations is detailed below, but suffice it to say that Tim has 450 hours into the bodywork alone.

Still, the biggest hassle was fitting the LS1 into the Buick engine room. “The LS1 is a lot wider than the nailhead. It took 70 hours to fit everything together. I had to narrow down the front crossmember both horizontally and vertically, reinforce it with 1-inch round tube, and triangulate everything into both the crossmember and the rack-and-pinion mount. We had to change it from a rear-steer to a front-steer car with Mustang II rack-and-pinion for clearance, since the side-mount Riv steering box wouldn’t clear. It’s heavy, but it doesn’t matter—it’s a Riv. Built for comfort.”

Meanwhile, Carrie got to work stitching a new interior that retained the ’60s architecture but brought it up to New Millennium standards of color and material. Liberal amounts of oatmeal-colored Ultraleather (stronger and more supple than leather, says Tim, and available in a wider variety of colors) were lavished upon most surfaces; the stock chairs and dashpad, the flamed door panels and headliner, and the sheetmetal trunk surround were all trimmed in this new-age Naugahyde. The square-weave carpet is a Mercedes item, and the package tray is now a single piece of fiberglass with flush-mounted speaker grilles. Auto Meter Phantom gauges (with body-color bezels) face front and center, while custom billet panels for the dash (by J&B Microfinish, Pontiac, Illinois) incorporate other auxiliary gauges and eliminate the ashtray. The Vintage Air A/C and heat controls and CD head unit fit nicely into this modernized cockpit.

One doesn’t automatically think of “punk” and “cars” in the same milieu, but Tim says the punk spirit is alive in the Riv, “Only as far as not trying to impress anyone but yourself. At most shows it’s not custom enough for custom classes and too custom for stock modified classes, but we don’t care. Too many people get caught up in awards or trying to outspend the next guy. They forget this is supposed to be fun! We’re all just a bunch of gearheads, after all. Besides, we’ve booked two big jobs since its completion in June, so it serves its purpose.”

Skate punks. BMX racers. Car builders. People with ideas, one and the same. It’s not the same old car-building scene anymore. Thank heavens.
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:14 PM
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:34 PM
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turbo si street rep is low. keep going
looks good
i like the 2 tone
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Old 12-17-2006, 03:44 PM
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Midnight Racer street rep is low. keep going
I was expecting a lorider but this is a lot better
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:19 PM
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crazyae will become famous soon enoughcrazyae will become famous soon enough
looks awsome, lots of work into that car for sure!
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Old 12-18-2006, 11:01 AM
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Schweeet

Not the power plant I would have chose but still a cool ride....
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