1965 Buick Riviera – AMT – Rescue

The Kit

For those that attend model swap meets, you know those bags of trashed model kits sellers keep under their tables? This is where I found this Rivera. My son and I bought several bags for $15 with the intent of blowing them up with fireworks. While spreading out our bounty, I picked three that I wanted to try and restore. Sadly, only one of the three were salvageable.

The Riviera was missing it’s hood but everything else was in tact and restorable. One of the wheels was missing but I had no intention of using the original set.

Straight out of the bag. Dusty, unloved.

The plan:

With no hood, I needed to build a knock-out of an engine bay. My plan consists of a blown Chevy Big block and shaving the engine bay. Beyond that, I will use other parts from my stash…most of which were salvaged from other swap meet buys!

Basically this.
Stripped and ready!

Donor Parts/kits

  • 55 Ford truck wheels and tires
  • Viper radiator and fans
  • 69 Camaro Big block
  • 79 Camaro blower

Materials Used

  • Gravity Colors Porsche Arena Red paint
  • 2 part automotive clear
  • Spaz Stix chrome paint (over Testors gloss black enamel)
  • Various primers and paints

To Date

All of the fabrication work is complete and everything is in paint. All of the chrome parts were stripped then painted with Spaz Stix Chrome paint. Stay tuned!


While researching color options for the interior, I found one that was two colors, black and beige. I liked the idea of mixing the colors to create more contrast. Tamiya paints were used for color then detailed with bare metal foil and Moltow chrome paint. To add a bit more detail, I used a pin to create a turn signal stalk. Flocking wrapped up the overall appearance. Added bonus: I used Best Model Car Parts gauges to add more depth to the dashboard. They are amazing!

The Riv’s interior is on the right. Flocked and detailed. I also used Best Model Car Parts gauges (found on ebay)


For the most part, the body is unchanged. Most of the work was done to the engine bay since it will be permanently on display. I shaved all of the strange protrusions on the firewall and fender wells. I went a step further and cut out the batter and radiator.

One other significant change necessary was creating a panel to cover the space between the grill and the core support. With no hood, this would be wide open. I created a panel using sheet styrene. When I later decided to cut out the molded-in radiator and replace it with one from a Viper, I needed to create an additional piece to shroud the new radiator. I’m not sure it was the best decision but I think it works.

All of the chrome parts are finished. At this point it is time to sand and polish the body.


The chassis has all of the detail molded into it. The strange exhaust, the rear axle and part of the transmission and drive shaft. It also utilized metal axles that passed through the original engine. Once I decided on the wheels, I had to figure out how to create the low stance. The rear was easy given the fact that I could still use a metal axle. I used the upper hole in the mount and all went well. The front was lowered by drilling additional holes and gluing a short metal axel in each side.

Other work completed involved cutting out the part of the molded-in transmission and grinding away the rear portion of the exhaust. The new engine will take care of the space created. Additionally, solder will replace the tail pipes from the muffler back.

The Stance.