Eye-Popping Gold Flaked 1966 Buick Riviera is One Custom Beauty Queen
Of 3,000 total labor hours, 1,500 were spent on the paintjob alone
Gold-painted cars are definitely an acquired taste, especially when they’re also sprinkled with flakes. However, when one spends as much as 1,500 hours shaping the texture of that paint job, you gotta give him credit. That’s exactly what Randy Clark and his crew down at Hot Rods and Custom Stuff have done with this 1966 Buick Riviera. Escondido, California-based garage has yet again proved its merit as a premier custom hot rod shop. With Clark having been in the business for more than 50 years, that really doesn’t come as a surprise.
In order to avoid being compared with one of Pimp my Ride vehicles, Clark’s Buick Riviera remains mostly stock. Drivetrain and interior are basically unchanged, while chassis and exterior have been heavily modified. Already in great condition when Clark bought it, this 1966 Buick Riviera started taking its current shape rather quickly. First they chopped its roof and lowered it by 3.5 inches. Then they trimmed the rear bumper and fenders. After that, it was time to hide the windshield vipers by installing a special hood lengthening kit. Clark’s team also deleted the door and trunk handles. Both are now opened remotely. Finally, it was time to wrap those nice whitewall tires around custom-built 18-inch wheels and one-off caps. And that’s it as far as exterior goes (apart from the paint).
Underpinnings have been bolstered by some modern options like the new transmission, rear end, suspension, etc. Suspension is so modern in fact, that the car can be raised or lowered using a remote. Just like they did with the doors. In Clark’s own words, it rides on air. But under the hood, this custom personal luxury car remains mostly as it was more than 50 years ago. 425ci Nailhead V8 is unnaturally neat and clean, but otherwise almost unchanged. It is as if by popping up this Riviera’s hood, one can travel back in time 50 years. Only upgraded part is the air conditioning system. And that’s perfectly understandable because this Riviera will be cruising the Californian riviera in the future. Like the engine, Buick brake drums have also remained intact.
Interior has received some of the exterior’s pizzazz. Sprinkled carpets and floor mats complement those exterior flakes, and so does the color-matching leather. However, in true 1966 fashion, seat belts are something you won’t be able to see. And so are airbags. One has to admit that this skinny three-prong steering wheel looks great. And the stereo is original too.
In the end, it came to applying this majestic gold candy paint job, but that endeavor took half of custom restoration’s total hours. Like it or not, Randy Clark and his Hot Rods and Custom Stuff crew have proved that one doesn’t need to change too many things in order to complete a perfect resto modded car. They’ve changed the outdated underpinnings and freshened the car up, while keeping its engine intact. Most importantly, however, they’ve preserved this Riviera’s soul. It even hopped to Jay Leno’s garage to say hello.