2014 Detroit Autorama: A Buick is Nation’s Hottest Rod

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fr 3The most prestigious award among modified automobile extremists is called the Ridler Award. It is awarded annually at the Detroit Autorama. The Ridler for 2014, for the baddest hot-rod in America, goes to a Canadian car. This highly modified 1964 Buick Riviera, which is a cherished muscle car when restored to original specifications, is so innovative and so skillfully enhanced that it absolutely stole the show among a sea of exemplary rides at this year’s Detroit Autorama; sponsored by the Michigan Hot Rod Association (MHRA).


rearThe car has been renamed the Rivision, which is a play on words that represents both the Riviera and the remarkable vision for this Canary Yellow masterpiece. The unique appearance of the Rivision is attained using the factory styling of two Riviera model years in conjunction with the extraordinary creative abilities of a custom hot rod shop in Osoyoos, British Columbia called JF Kustoms (JFK) and specifically a proud Canadian named J.F. Launier. As a journeyman auto refinisher and now custom hot rod shop owner, Launier has seen more than his fair share of stunning projects take shape but none more eye-catching and jaw-dropping than this Buick. The front end is of the 1964 model with a customized JF Launierfront chin spoiler that helps to yield the trademark look of a JFK build; low and mean. The “boat-tail” aesthetic of the 1970 Riviera was used in the rear, with specially designed taillights that promote a cooling effect for the turbochargers (?). This combination of beautifully modified sheet metal and pristine paint provides a one-of-a-kind automobile worthy of the Ridler Award.


interiorThe interior of this show stopper is all business. Launier is known for classically understated simplicity in his builds. They typically promote a “less is more” mantra. Luxurious leather seating surfaces seem to go on forever in the spacious interior of this massive muscle car and chrome accents on the door sills, pedals, steering wheel, door panels, ample center console, and dash glimmer like stars. Instrumentation is analog and the transmission is manual; evident by the long chrome shifter with a large solid chrome knob affixed to the tip. The interior is indeed straightforward and simple, yet stylish, expansive, and elegant. This car is just as capable of carrying out a picnic with your honey on a sunny Sunday afternoon as it is of winning street races on a cool Friday night, despite being outfitted with a full roll cage.


engineSpeaking of racing — as simple and straightforward as the interior and exterior appear to be, the power plant for this big Buick is anything but understated. Under the hood a built-to-the-gills late model GM 6.2-liter V8, chrome abounds on this beast of a motor which is mated to a six-speed turbosmanual transmission. Wait a minute — that is only the beginning. In the trunk you will find twin turbochargers which uptake exhaust from the rear of the car and induct in through the passenger compartment in route to the engine. Massive, copper colored silicon induction hoses run nearly the length of the car. I can only imagine the sound effects when the accelerator is flattened against the floorboard and these turbochargers go to work. Horsepower is estimated at 650.


rear 3The car also has a full underbelly pan perfectly painted in yellow, just like the exterior, with the chrome exhaust pipes neatly tucked inside. Front and rear wheel tubs provide room for the custom fabricated 24-inch Mike Curtis wheels.


The Autorama is coming to a city near you, with dates in Winnipeg, AB (March 14 through 16), Salt Lake City, Utah (March 21 through 23), Omaho, NE (March 28 through 30), and Boston, Mass. (March 28 through 30).

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.