My Classic Car: Arnold’s grandfather’s 1965 Buick Riviera

This Riviera reminds me of grandfather's | photos submitted by Arnold Slater
This Riviera reminds me of grandfather’s | photos submitted by Arnold Slater

My grandfather was a prominent chiropractor in the Washington D.C. area. He was very successful. He had the best of everything. He loved his cars.

My favorite of his cars was a big black 1965 Buick Riviera. It had black leather interior with “wood” paneling and chrome fixtures. It was beautiful!

It reminded me of the Batmobile and sounded like it, too!

Grandfather's car had his name in script
Grandfather’s car had his name in script

The coolest thing was that it had a personalized metal signature monogram on the center column. Not a plate, it was a signature, like the name Fleetwood featured in Cadillacs. It said in script: “Property of Dr. Arnold R. Tolley” on the center gear shift column.

When my grandfather retired around 1986 he sold the car to a collector in Virginia. The buyer took the car to car shows all around. Whenever he was in the area he would pick “Pop” up and take him for a ride.

I have no idea who the collector was or what the VIN of the car was, but I wish I did.

I would love to know what happened to that car. I think if I saw it again I might cry.

— Arnold Slater, Germantown MD

7 thoughts on “My Classic Car: Arnold’s grandfather’s 1965 Buick Riviera”

  1. Arnold:

    I really enjoyed your article on your Grandfathers Black on Black ’65 Riviera. Ironically, I to have a Black on Black ’65 Riviera that I inherited from my Grandfather. The pictures you show are identical to mine except I have the wood steering wheel, but I do not have the power windows, but it does have the delux interior with th extra wood. It has a 3.23 positrac rear end, Switch pitch ST400 and a 425 2X4. Mine is not a GS. It seems that My grandmother didn’t like the style of the GS insignias, he wanted the 425 ci., but not the 3.42 rear gear ratio. When I went to pick the car up I also found a single 4 Bbl intake and carb as well as a set of 5 wire hubcaps. It was repainted once in the original REGAL BLACK, the interior is as it was when new. I’m encouraged that they are starting to make aftermarket parts for them. I hope someday they are “re-discovered”. The ride, the Torque of 465 ft pounds of Tq. at 2800 rpms and 340 hp or 360 hp with the 2X4’s, makes this car really get up and scat. For the life of me I don’t understand why these aren’t considered right up their with the first muscle cars. The “Gentleman’s” Sports Car. Ha, I remember my Grandmother would take my brother and I out during the day in the 60’s and she would drag race from light to light. Many willing Teens and twenty y.o.’s would take her up on her encouragement, and the Riviera’s with the switch Pitch converter and 465 torque would blow many of the “Muscle Cars” off the line to the next light. It was terrific looking out the rear window watchig the rubber layed down, and the fog of burning rubber coming of the tires. Some of my best memories ever. I have the paperwork for it when they bought it. He had many offers to sell the cars over the next 40 years, but thankfully we were able to convince him to keep it. When I got it I had it gone through from stem to stern and it runs like a “Scalded Cat” as my Grandfather used to say, among other things. 😉
    Anyway, thanks for the story. From what I can tell, the car I was lucky enough to have passed down, is a pretty rare combination of parts. I can’t wait to get it out again and go to a cruise night.
    I hope you find your car. Check out the Riviera Owners association they are a great group to be associated with. Until you possibly find yours, get a ’65 Riviera and enjoy it. I think they were the best year specifically because of the headlights.

    Tell us more specifcs about your car, who knows you might get a good lead from someone.

    Thanks again.
    Ty

  2. Wow. Two awesome stories in one. Thanks, guys! Arnold, I’m praying you find your grandfather’s car. How amazing it would be to have it again!

  3. Arnold, and Ty
    Awesome stories. We had a 64 in 1969 (I was 16 at the time) it was fast. Just like you said Ty. The smoke would buldge out from under that car like a jeany was angry. WOW! I never thought to think it was never considered to be a mussel car, you’re correct. But they had what it took to kick butt and then some!

  4. I own a 1964 Buick Riviera that is black with white interior. Mostly stock except different wheels. It has a 465 engine with a 4 barrel carb and original California plates from 63. I love it and it gets special treatment when we are out at car shows. Not many like the Riv’s of that era are around more. That’s too bad! Good luck in your search for your Grandfathers car.
    Mike Podgorny

  5. deffently like your hows it run are you far from Los Angeles 90046I rember those kind of day’s with my father in his el Camino had a 409 big block blew away for Shelby no lie!

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