As promised, here’s an in-depth look at Rivision, JF Launier’s sensational Ridler Award winner for 2014, with 33 detailed photos.
JF Launier’s ’64 Buick Riviera is as original and ambitious as any Ridler winner in the award’s five-decade history—a bold stroke. As a Great 8 finalist on multiple occasions, Launier knows better than most what it takes to win hot rodding’s top award: The bar is sky high. Until a builder has been there, the fit and finish and attention to detail required at this level must be difficult to even imagine, let alone execute.
We could go on for days describing all the unique details the Osoyoos, British Columbia builder has incorporated in his latest creation. But for now we’ll simply note a few of the key features and mainly let the photos speak for themselves.
+ While Rivision is based on an original (and highly modified) ’64 Buick Riviera, part of the car’s visual identity is also supplied by the boattail-style rear glass, a familiar feature of the ’71 Riviera. Other elements, including the front fender vents, the profile, and the compact proportions, reminded many Autorama spectators of the ’63-’67 Corvette Stingray Coupe.
+ Another signature element is the ducted radiator with hot air exit in the hood, a common feature on ’60s sports racers, most memorably the Ford GT.
+ While the ’64 Riviera styling at first suggests a traditional kustom, Launier’s Buick is miles removed from that old genre. With its two-seater coupe footprint, 850 hp turbo V8, and six-speed manual gearbox, Rivision is really a highly stylized track day car.
+ A custom-designed perimeter frame fabricated from rectangular steel tubing permits the driver and powertrain to be dropped down low in the chassis, enabling the compact packaging and low, low roofline.
+ The 6.2-liter Chevrolet LS-series V8 is mounted up forward between the front wheels, but the twin turbochargers, waste gates, and associated plumbing are located out back in the rear deck compartment. While the long-tract layout seems counterintuitive, it’s a well-proven solution in many performance applications.
Photo gallery below.