#6254
V8 Staff
Keymaster

In late June of 1992, My buddy Paul and I were enjoying a 64oz Double Gulp at our local 7-11 thumbing through a Tradin’ Times newspaper when an ad jumped off the page and kicked me right in the forehead.

1970 BUICK RIVIERA – 455, A/C, RED / WHITE, CHROME WHEELS, BUCKET SEATS, RUNS GREAT, NO RUST, $2700.00

Hmm… I wasn’t very familiar with those cars, but I could probably use the engine / trans some day, and it had white bucket seats and a consolette, 15” wheels… all things that could someday work in my GSX clone.

Paul and checked it out the next day, and I was blown away. I had never seen a 1970 Riviera with no vinyl top, no side spear trim, and the bright red paint and white interior sold me. I had to have this car. The seller, Mr. Bob Kendzie, turned out to be a former mail man from my home town and was losing his vision, so it was time to sell. He was also selling a Honda 175 motorcycle that had Paul all jazzed up. Kendzie passed away in 2006 at the age of 80, so he was about 66 when he sold me the car.

I negotiated the price down to $2400.00 on the Riv, and Paul ended up buying the bike. It was July 4th weekend of 1992, and I remember having to work the weekend before I could pick up the car. The silly car was all I could think about. My summer job was working for an insurance company doing building maintenance, and I had the after-hours and weekend task of sealing the aggregate sidewalk with a Thompson’s’ Water Seal product, so I had hours of time to let the Riv stumble through my noggin’ in anticipation of picking it up after the weekend.

The time came to get the car, and I recall the drive home being split evenly by moments of thinking how cool I was shared by a bunch of “Holy Crap” moments as I tried to keep the thing on the road. The front end was shot, and the Rochester Quadrajet had a bad accelerator pump, so it had a wicked stumble, the A/C didn’t work, and the brakes sucked, but I was still on top of the world. This was a game changer. I couldn’t wait to get some photos of the car and go cruising.

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