I have been meaning to write about this car since it won the Ridler Award (a while ago) but never got to finishing it until now. The Ridler Award is kinda like the Super Bowl of Hot Rod building, if you win, your car must be amazing. The 2014 winner was J.F. Launier’s 1964 Buick Riviera called “Rivision”. It is probably one of the most unique Ridler award winners and the first Canadian to win the award since 1987.
Launier started with a pretty busted shell. The body was heavily modified with 18 inches of metal removed from the quarter panels, 10 inches behind the doors, and 8 inches behind the rear wheel well. This threw off the wheelbase so the front wheel wells were moved 3 inches forward. This also helped the engine sit lower and behind the front wheels. The rear deck and split window were sourced from a 1971 Rivera. To get the roof to fit, its length was shortened 14 inches and the width six inches. The tail lights are built to resemble a 1962 Impala.
The engine is a 6.2L, 850 horsepower LS1. Power is generated through a pair of turbochargers placed in the trunk. He chose the truck area for the turbos because he wanted to put more weight over the rear wheels. Another unusual design feature was running the intake tube through the cabin to his engine. His careful layout resulted in a weight ratio or 48% front and 52% rear. Launier looked into building a high horsepower Buick Nailhead V8. But after talking to Troy Trepanier he realized it could cost over $100K for such an engine.
If you are interested in what it takes to win a Ridler award, J.F. Launier estimates he put over 20,000 hours of work along with $300,000 into Rivision. But all that time and money will not result in a trailer queen. Launier is running this at autocross events, hot rod tours, and high speed events. He seems very interested in having the “fastest Ridler Award winner.” It’s amazing to think a ratty $300 shell can turn into this.