Adrian M 1971 Buick Riviera

Father and Son Buick Project

July of 2007 the 1971 Buick Riviera was pulled out of the weeds, off of the bricks and into the garage. But the story really begins in the 80's. Before I was born my dad got this car from Willie Nelson (so he says) after doing some floor work in his studio (which he really did do.) Says he bought the car from him after he was done. The truth is that down the street, Willie Nelson's neighbor at the time was selling this car.

My dad enjoyed this car for a few years with the family, but eventually like too many of our old classics, was parked and sat for 20 plus years. In July of 2007 I was with my family driving on Congress downtonw when my dad pointed out a 71 Riviera parked on the side of the road. I asked if that was the same car that was sitting in the weeds at home and he said yes. The car was all there and clean and I couldn't believe that my dad had this hidden gem in the weeds!

The following weekend I got to work immediately on this car and started by washing it and cleaning out the inside. Rusted out floors, quarters and around the back window, and a frozen motor made a good home for wildlife, but soon this turned into a project. 7 years later, countless hours spent together working on this Buick with my dad, and the many road blocks we encountered along the way it has finally been completed. Although, these cars are never really complete, there's always something to do with them. And, the memory of this project and spending all of that time with my dad was worth all of the money spent, dealing with the lack of parts, dealing with the frustrations of finding a decent painter and having to buy another Riviera from Corpus Christi for parts. It was all worth it because now we have an awesome reward in the end: father and son bond, oh yea and car too.

7 Reader Comments

  • 1
    John Potter Grand Rapids, MI, United States June 11, 2014 at 20:18
    Great job, Adrian. Your smart to realize the important side of the equation (although the car is a nice bonus). Enjoy your Mom and Dad while you've got em. Time has a way of sneeking up on you.
  • 2
    Chris Ducharme Cranston, Rhode Island April 1, 2015 at 14:48
    Adrian, I read your article and agree with John Potter's comments. You and your Dad did a great job on putting the Riviera back together. And the bond you forged during the process is the real success story here. It's funny how projects like these help people to come closer and find real appreciation for life. Hat's off to you and your Dad for a job well done. As a fellow Buick owner ('72 Centurion) I have been down this road as well and you're 100% correct....they're never truly done being restored. Thanks for sharing this story and enjoy the Riviera. It's a fantastic car!
  • 3
    Pete Oster Bay, AR April 1, 2015 at 12:37
    Love the story, hope to do the same thing has my boy's get older. Love the car to, I drove a 72 in high school back in 76. One of the best cars I ever owned.
  • 4
    Bill Texas April 2, 2015 at 08:28
    What a wonderful story, and a great looking Buick! If more son's and dad's did projects like this together, what a wonderful world this would be!
  • 5
    Mark New York April 2, 2015 at 22:00
    Loved that car. Ordered one in 71 from the dealer fully loaded. Wish I still had it. Sea Green Saddle appulstry Tan Laundo roof. Now restoring a 1967 Oldsmobile. Good luck
  • 6
    Les Myers Vermont April 2, 2015 at 10:01
    Oh Boy,,,,it's good to see I'm not the only one that's in the process of restoring a 71 Boat Tail. I named mine Lucille. And there's a story book tale that goes with it , the proverbial "barn find" we all dream about. I literally got mine from 2 house's down the road after 12 long years of begging and pleading to purchase it from the owners. I purchased mine in 2009 where it had languished all covered up for over 15 years and only driven occasionally by there son,,maybe 2-3 time a year for short distances due to only ever having a "screwdriver registration transfer" performed,,,LOL!!!. When I got Lucille, she was a one owner car with 67K original miles, 0 rust and never fussed with,,HOW SWEET WAS THAT?? It was originally bought in Fla and it moved back to VT in the mid 80's when the original owners retired back to there home town . It was always garaged , covered and never driven in the winter and the original owner was malicious about taking care of it,, so it survived quite well over the years. The interior and all the rubber on the other hand took a serious beating from many generations of mice and squirrels taking up residence. I'm now at the point that is pretty much all that's left to finish up after completely dismantling the car down to just the main body sitting on the frame and everything stripped to bare metal and repainted and reassembled in 2011/ 12 by myself. I go to many car shows every year in the local area and Lucille has gone to several to compete in the "under restoration " class's,,and so far pretty good, 8 trophy's sense then! Actually the first show I entered her in once I started the restoration in 2010,, I literally drove it there sitting on a 5 gallon bucket with nothing else in the interior, LOL !! Seriously,,, After that the restoration got really serious . I'm also very lucky as I have every service record, original bill of sale, title and every other piece of paperwork associated with the car and I know the complete provenance of her sense the day it rolled off the showroom floor in Fla. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do Adrian,,there a real head turner when there all shined up and in there glory,and being somewhat rare now you'll get many questions about it , I'm sure. Life is better in a Buick,,as the old sales adds say.
  • 7
    David Miller Toronto, Canada April 23, 2015 at 09:20
    Love the car, love the story as well, no matter it takes it is always when family can bond together. My daughters (3) and I now seem to share a passion for old classics as well. We enjoy spending time in out 1973 Ford LTD

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