The first generation Buick Rivera was introduced in 1962 as a 1963 model. The one-of-a-kind Rivera shared its body shell with no other model, unusual for a GM product at the time. Naturally, this first generation of the Buick was and still is considered a styling landmark, and the car has remained very popular and very collectable over the years with many car builders and collectors. With its aggressive look and coupe styling, the first generation of the Rivera has also remained very popular with Lowrider car builders. The highly sought after model has remained a mainstay of our pages, and continues to be with this very feature.
A number of Lowriders mark the coveted Rivi as a dream build, and Oxnard, California resident, Steve Quesada, is one of those builders. In fact, Steve has had his eye on the Buick since he was a youngster growing up in Maywood and Pico Rivera, California. While others dreamed of Impalas, Steve’s passion for Rivis came thanks to his exposure to many different makes and models courtesy of his older brother, Efraim. A custom car painter in Steve’s younger days, Efraim introduced his younger sibling to various makes and models thanks to his constant influx of customers. Almost every day when Steve would come home from school, there would be a different car in the driveway that Efraim was working on. As the youngest and last boy in his family, Steve became the go-to apprentice for Efraim, helping his brother to mask the cars using newspaper as masking paper; a popular choice of masking material for painters of the era.
The experiences would serve as Steve’s introduction to American classic cars and stoke his fire for Lowriding. Of all the cars that Steve saw his brother work on, one in particular stood out above the rest; the 1963 Buick Riviera. As an 18-year-old, Steve remembers his next door neighbor as being an owner of this first-gen Rivi, and it furthered his dream of one day owning one. A fan of its already unique styling, Steve felt the Rivi was made before its time, and vowed that he would not only own one someday, he would also restore it to its factory look because the car was so beautiful and elegant.
Proud of keeping his promise to himself, the day finally came when Steve held the keys to his dream machine. With an initial investment of $6000, Steve’s Riviera dream began. Intent on seeing his Rivi make it to the status that he always dreamed of, Steve took his time; ten years to be exact. After a decade of building and a few more thousand dollars invested, Steve Quesada finally had the 1963 Buick Riviera of his dreams. The car’s factory appeal is obvious, and Steve’s modernizations of audio and hydraulic setups really cap off this incredible build. It’s certainly easy to see why this car has remained so popular over the years, and Steve is one of the lucky few to drive his own dream.
Steve would like to thank his wife, Teresa, and his daughter, Josie, for their love and support with the restoration of the Rivera. He would also like to thank Ernie Flores for all of his help and input with Buick. Lastly, Steve would like to thank his brother, Efraim, for all those years of letting him help to paint so many amazing cars. We would like to thank Steve for restoring the classic Buick Rivera, and we are proud to have it within our pages.
Owner: Steve Quesada
Vehicle: 1963 Buick Riviera
Club: Brown Sensations
City/State: Oxnard, California
Paint: Bob Dutton from Bob’s Rods & Kustoms in Ontario, California prepped the Riviera for its two-stage factory Marlin Blue color scheme.
Interior: Steve installed an all-original factory Buick interior kit to keep the original styling of the Riviera intact. Josh Furagganan from Breakers Stereo in Oxnard, California installed an audio system that consists of an Alpine head unit with CD/iPod adapter, two 5-1/2 inch mid range speakers in the kick panels, and two 3-inch tweeters in the kick panels. Two 6X9 speakers in the rear package tray and two 12-inch sub woofers in the trunk beef up the system’s low end. Two 600-watt amplifiers power the system. All speakers, sub woofers, and amplifiers are Memphis Audio brand.
Engine: The Quesada family rebuilt the numbers matching all original 1963 445 Wildcat. The transmission was rebuilt and a 40 series Flowmaster exhaust was installed on the Buick. Oxnard Chrome in Oxnard, California did all chrome.
Suspension: Ernie Flores at Joernies in Santa Fe Springs, California in-stalled a one-off custom airbag set up for Steve in the Riviera. The chrome 10-gallon air tank in the trunk is mated to two ViaAir 450c polished compressors. All of the lines in the set up are steel braided lines, which not only look good, but also are stronger than standard rubber hoses. The system allows the Rivera to lift the front and rear ends independently as well as to lay frame when it is parked.
Wheels: 13x 8 Tru Spokes.
Tires: 13-inch 5.60s.