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I think every custom car builders dream is to create a masterpiece that will catch the attention of the media across the globe. To eventually be able to showcase your work and be nationally and internationally recognized for what you’ve done. Okay, so it might not be your dream but it’s a good one to have, and that’s exactly what happened with this award-winning 1964 Buick Riviera.
Where did this 1964 Buick Riviera come from?
It’s crazy to think that this car initially cost JF Launier, the founder of JF Kustoms, a mere $400. That may seem like a small price to pay but on the grand scheme of things, this car cost him 22,000 man hours. Wowzers.
Initially the car had no windscreen, no doors and no sears, so when Launier began working on the car, he had no idea that it was going to take six years to complete, but looking at the finished project, I’d say it was well worth the blood sweat and tears.
How much is it worth today?
When I say $1.5 million you might think I’m crazy, but it’s true. $400 to buy, $300,000 worth of modifications and the final product is an outstanding car. Launier really has gone to town on this hot rod.
A journey full of struggles
Creating a project like this isn’t without its difficulties. And when you need to stump up $300,000 cash, it can be a different kind of challenge. In fact, Launier had to not only remortgage his own house, but his parents too, in order to be able to get the cash he needed to complete the project.
But his efforts weren’t wasted and the car has already won a number of awards that I’ll come to a bit later on.
What’s under the hood?
Like any custom car, this 1964 Buick Riviera is one of a kind and Launier wanted to make sure that it not only looked good but performed well too. The solution? A 6.2 liter twin-turbocharged V8 Chevy engine. An engine so big that he had to move the front wheels forwards in order to get it in.
Initially wanting to put the engine in the rear of the car, Launier soon realized that it wasn’t feasible as the driver would be too close to the windshield and so the only solution was to have it up front. But to keep the NASCAR feel to it, he choose a long steering column and was able to get that stretched out feeling that he wanted.
Reminiscent of the era in which it was made, this 1964 Buick Riviera has a custom interior that hails its roots. Kitted out in chocolate brown leather and chrome, it works as a testament to the 60s.
Out on the track
Practical enough to use as a street rod, this custom can reach a top speed of 155 mph and Launier isn’t shy with it. Taking part in drag and road racing in order to raise some money for the local track, this car is definitely the perfect all-rounder.
I’ve already mentioned the fact that this is an award-winning car and for good reason. The car won the award for the America’s best modified car at the Detroit Autorama expo in 2014, also known as the Ridler Award. The award goes to the most creative and innovative custom car and I think we can all agree that this 1964 Buick Riviera is definitely both of those things.
For a great insight into how the car is built, watch the amazing interview with JF Launier himself at the top of the page.