2014 Ridler Award Winner-Wild Custom Buick Rocks Detroit
2014 Detroit Autorama – Ridler Award Winner
I told ya! JF Customs run by JF Launier out of Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada came to Detroit, not to compete, but to DOMINATE!
Standing around the car, I frequently heard: What is that? It’s a mid engine car…. and often: WOW. Compared to the other cars competing, all blow-out successes for the builders and owners, did not gather the crowd or the buzz the Buick had. This car embodies all that is custom like a new chapter in custom cars. The only thing more rad than that? JF plans to Autocross the car ASAP. The car’s built to drive! All the hating, “Oh, that’ll never see the road” folks out there… I’m waiting to say, “I told you so” for when JF hit’s 200 mph in a Ridler Award winner!!
If you skipped right to this story, you might want to review the Ridler Award rules, or, there’s a summary at the end of this story.
Other than that, we have a few more 2014 Detroit Autorama stories and picture galleries here. If the Ridler cars aren’t your style… check out the basement!
Click on any pictures, even the thumbnails, to see them full size.
2014 Great 8 Ridler Award Winner ~ 1964 Buick Riviera Custom
Here it is… Perched up at a slight angle and with glowing yellow paint and spot lights all around… it wasn’t the easiest to photograph, but the details stood out and the clear winner was selected.
Contrary to rumors… and a near argument with a guy standing near the car when the hood was down… the Buick is CLEARLY front-engined. The confusion came from this:
See what’s peaking through there? The copper colored tube sends charged air back up through the driver’s compartment (with what must be a mind blowing whoosh!). The packaging is nothing short of spectacular as the once 4-seater Buick now has room for only two passengers. The pilot and the kat grinning ear to ear!!
How are the turbos fed? Glad you asked!!
Ever seen something like this? High speed, low drag!
The exhaust pipes are siamesed together to form one bigger pipe to feed bother turbos equally. That’s the only thing you see from below, if you don’t count the tricked out oil pan (there’s a picture below) and custom-smoothed transmission. Most show cars at this level have a detailed under body, but this is unreal!
These are the shots I published with all the “Great 8” Ridler Contenders. As I said, you’re seeing that the Buick is now a two-seater, an 850 horsepower, turbo’d six speed super-muscle car, I’d say!
Out back, you see the single exit for the exhaust. Click on the picture, then take a very close look at the hatch release. It’s polished stainless, but sandwiched in between is a layer of cooper. See it? That’s a theme JF and his crew used all over the car. Below there’s a picture of the door handles showing the same cooper sandwich. The door handle is completely hand made, so you might as well! It’s tiny details like this that made me sure the Riviera known as “Rivision” was the winner.
Not that there weren’t BIG changes! Here’s what a 1964 Buick Riviera used to look like:
Rest assured the entire interior was scrapped for the project. For that matter, most of the body was too. The “as found” shots in the build book were pretty rough.
If you look at the grille on the stock Riviera, you can see cues from the original made it onto the finished car… but as you might have guessed, it ain’t stock. The grille, headlights and clamshells were all custom CNC’d by Mike Curtis (you remember him from American Hot Rod with Boyd Coddington) over at his shop called Curtis Speed. Mike also did the one-off wheels for the Riv.
Then, do you recognize this?
This is the inspiration for the back of JF’s Buick. All the sheetmetal was custom fabricated though. (of course…) (last 3 photos courtesy of Wikipedia)
Here’s the rest of the pictures I shot up close and personal with “Rivision”. Special thanks to JF Launier and his crew for letting me “on the carpet”. If you see hands or cleaning towels in my pictures, that’s cause I was shooting during their mad rush to have the Riv look perfect for the judges.
How does the 2014 Ridler Award Winner compare to past years?
Have a look for yourself!
- 2013 Ridler Award Winner – 1940 Ford Hot Rod
- 2012 Ridler Award Winner – Peace Family 1955 Thunderbird
- 2011 Ridler Award Winner – SOHC Powered 1950 Ford
As a reminder… Rules for the Ridler Award are pretty simple: The cars should show: Creativity, Engineering and Workmanship. (What they don’t mention is that the winner typically shows all three of these in a way, most likely, never seen before or done in a way that’ll cause mouths to hit the floor) Just a few other rules, the Ridler contenders must be showing for the very first time and must run, drive and stop in a basic way.
What’s not in the Ridler Rules? Body style, year or anything specifying what kind of car it is…
If you like what you see…
Please leave a comment and share this story on Facebook and where ever you hang out, including discussion forums. I really appreciate it! -pikesan