J.F. Launier – 1964 Buick Riviera, Wins 2014 Ridler Award
The Ridler is one of the most prestigious awards in the custom car industry. This year’s presentation went to JF Launier, owner and designer of a custom 1964 Buick Riviera. Cars up for this award are judged on creativity, quality, and difficulty of customization. Launier’s car is truly impressive and includes numerous features that are deserving of the 2014 honor.
A Buick Riviera is not commonly used for street rodding. However, with Launier’s vision, he transformed a sleeper car into a work of art named “Rivision.” He began by removing over a foot of sheet metal from the rear quarter panels. The front wheel wells were also moved to allow for placement of the new 6.2-liter, 850-horsepower V8 engine. The best part of the design is the blending of two different Riviera generations. Launier used the back window and boattail rear deck from a 1971 model to add a twist on the 1964 design.
The car gets most of its power from the twin turbochargers located in the vehicle’s trunk. Inside, there is a bronze oversized intake tube as well. The roll cage is hidden under a special headliner. Although original plans called for two seats, the end model includes 2+2 seating.
The Ridler Award places great emphasis on the difficulty of fabrication. Over 20,000 hours of labor went into this car. Those who have seen this vehicle have expressed great appreciation for the dedication and creativity involved with the project. The beautiful BASF paint job is one of the greatest examples of detailing and quality customization.
Like other customized cars, this innovative vehicle will not just sit on display. Launier has future plans of introducing Rivision into the world of autocross. Until then, it remains an exciting advertisement for JK Kustoms, Launier’s auto shop.