The Grape Space Coaster has a long history of being a loved car. She is over 50 years old and arrived to me with 97K miles. She has had only four owners before myself and each of them preserved her documents and handed them down to the next owner. You know your car is loved when all the documentation dating back to her first sale winds up in your hands.
This 1965 Buick Riviera was born on August 13, 1965 to Harold Wyatt on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills. Harold owned a Buick dealership and this was his choice car off his own lot for his personal possession. His favorite of all his Buicks, I like to think.
On May 5, 1974, Albert Barnow of Thousand Oaks, CA bought her with 64,667 miles on her for $500 (a brand new car went for $800 back then). Albert kept numerous receipts and catalogs from Orange, CA’s Classic Buicks, Inc. He surely upheld her vintage integrity.
Family friend, David Beck, officially became her owner on April 22, 1991 for a declared $1000 sale price. There is very little documentation of this 2 year period, but thanks to a valid telephone number left on this owner’s for sale listing, I actually got to speak with Albert's son, Chuck. I called asking for Albert himself, however he has passed away (rest in peace). David and Chuck however, remember the Riviera and how much Albert loved it. David and Chuck are now in business together doing Rolls Royce / Bently conversions including engine swaps and brake modifications. Because the sales listing also listed the Riviera as “solid California car ... has new motor, never been fired”, I assume these men did the engine swap themselves before resale. Thank goodness for good record keeping.
The Riviera was purchased by Chris Dursa on May 15, 1993 from the above listing. Chris restores and races Buicks in Ohio for hobby. As a child, Chris remembers his father owning the 1965 Riviera model, which is probably why he took such pride in doing this vehicle's frame-off restoration.
On May 13, 2009 the 1965 Buick Rivera was registered to me, Tonya Kay, with 97,000 miles. I owned 6 diesel vehicles, 3 of which run on vegetable oil fuel. I had been tinkering with my personal WVO VW TDI Jetta for years, refining the waste vegetable oil delivery system, and I really needed to look up from the mechanical marriage a driver and her alternative-fuel vehicle inevitably get locked into - I needed to have some fun with a car again. I searched eBay for 71-73 Riviera boat tails, obsessed with their Batman-esque aesthetic, when I found this rare beauty. The color caught my eye straight away, but it was her sexy, elegant lines that mesmerized me. I could tell from the details of the listing that this car had been loved and had a powerful mechanical base. I made an offer to Chris Dursa on eBay and the Grape Space Coaster was shipped from OH to CA to me right away.
I have since put much money and energy into her, started producing my own classic car and pinup shows, Pinup Pole Show, and in 2017 partnered with Anaheim Rod and Custom for a partial restoration (completed 2018). Now I’ve got those clam shells winking and that 401 sealed to make her feel special with me now in Los Angeles, CA - only 2 miles from where she was born and registered to Harold Wyatt in 1965. She’s made it back home.