Under The 1965 Buick Riviera Detroit Speed Chassis

Unmatched Street Performance & Sixties Style

By Gerry Burger   –   Photography by Cody Barnes

Faithful readers of Modern Rodding have already seen this Detroit Speed & Engineering built 1965 Buick Riviera in all its Ferrari crimson glory (Modern Rodding Oct. 2023). But many real hot rodders like to take the full tour to see the artwork that lies below. For you see, Jeff Mosings’ Buick Riviera is no showboat, the team at Detroit Speed likes to build cars that can haul-the-mail on the street, road course or autocross circuit. Now since Mosing has ample time wheeling Porsches in the IMSA series, he is well in tune with high-performance machinery for the track and the street. This car was destined to be a perfect blend of unmatched sixties style and ample street performance. Of course, this Buick Riviera is also fully capable of drawing a crowd under the indoor show lights and will blend in perfectly with the other cars at Mosing Motorcars.

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02 Greening Auto Company valve covers on a 1965 Buick Riviera with a Holley Dominator EFI and 468 LSX engine
It’s a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” for sure. While the Greening Auto Company valve covers give it a Nailhead Engine vibe, under that custom air filter a Holley Dominator EFI feeds the 468 LSX engine Mast Motorsports mill.

Read More: The Ultimate Buick Riviera Build?

After due consideration with Mosing, the final plans were laid.  The team at Detroit Speed decided a properly located 9-inch Ford rear end with coilovers out back would be combined with Detroit Speed SLA subframe independent front suspension. There is simply no way to make a personal luxury car this size a lightweight, so that called for some serious brake power. Gone were the big, finned Buick drums replaced by a set of Carbon Ceramic ZR1 Corvette brake pads. Since ultimately the stopping is decided where the rubber meets the road, Michelin Pilot Sports tires measuring 265/35R19 and 295/35R20 will provide ample grip. This combination should handle all the chores, but remember, this car is being built for a man with the motto “Drive Yourself Happy”.

03 Chassis of a 1965 Buick Riviera blending old and new with a Detroit Speed box tubing frame
The chassis is a skillful blend of the old and the new. The rear portion of the chassis is joined with the new Detroit Speed box tubing frame. This preserves the kickup, rear body mounts and gas tank location, but big suspension changes are coming.

Read More: Family Tradition

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Building the chassis was an interesting blend of old and new. The chassis utilizes the rear kick-up of the 1966 Buick Riviera chassis. This approach provides the stock rear body mounts, gas tank location and room for the nine-inch to move. When this rear portion was all finely blended to the hydro-formed Detroit Speed front chassis you might never suspect there is any Buick metal remaining.

04 Original rear section of a 1965 Buick Riviera joined to a newly fabricated chassis
Joining the original rear section to the newly fabricated chassis is a skillful blend of tubing, fishplates, gussets, box, and round tubing. After this connection is complete all the old Buick stuff is headed to the scrap pile.

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In the end the Buick Riviera had the perfect stance, modern power from a Mast Motorsports LSX 468 LSX engine that is dressed appropriately for the occasion and monster brakes. Thanks to the team effort at Detroit Speed, the end result is one high-performance street chassis that is up for everything from a classy trip out for dinner to a spirited morning drive. Yeah, this thing will drive you happy. MR

05 Gear FX 9 inch Ford rear end replacing the stock Buick rear axle in a 1965 Buick Riviera
Once the rear portion was connected the stock Buick rear axle was replaced with a new Gear FX 9-inch Ford rear end. Double adjustable JRi shocks mount in custom fabricated DSE shock mounts.
06 Adjustable Panhard bar mount inboard of shock mounts on a 1965 Buick Riviera
Inboard of those beefy shock mounts we found this equally stout Panhard bar mount. The mount is adjustable if ride height asks for it. Hand Formed bracketry like this is worth a close look.
07 Upper shock tower of a 1965 Buick Riviera encapsulating the JRi shocks
This side view shows how the upper shock tower encapsulates the JRi shocks. Note the beefy upper mount, imperative when you’re supporting something the weight of a Buick Riviera.

 

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08 Custom Detroit Speed designed three point wing on a 1965 Buick Riviera
This custom Detroit Speed designed three-point wing works in conjunction with two lower bars and a Panhard bar to locate the rear axle. Detroit Speed Swivel Link Technology makes this system possible.
09 Three point wing installed in the chassis of a 1965 Buick Riviera with Detroit Speed Swivel Link Technology
Here is the three-point wing installed in the chassis. The Detroit Speed Swivel Link Technology allows just enough movement to prevent any unwanted binding as the rear axle travels over the uneven roads.
10 Rear view of a 1965 Buick Riviera showing the wing lower bars and Panhard bar
From the rear we can see the wing in the middle, two lower bars angled inboard and a Panhard bar keeping everything centered. Fabrication is first class.
11 Middle section of a 1965 Buick Riviera with final braces in place and three inch stainless steel pipes
Okay, things do get a little busy in the middle. With all the final braces in place and those big ole three-inch stainless-steel pipes passing over the rear there isn’t much room to spare. This is one stout chassis, and with the forces generated by those big tires this strength is a welcome sight.
12 Front subframe connected to the rear chassis section of a 1965 Buick Riviera with Holley EFI and stainless steel Hooker mufflers
Rectangular tubing on the flat connects the front subframe to the rear chassis section. Combustion is in through a Holley EFI and out through 3-inch tubes and stainless steel Hooker mufflers. Full 3-inch cuts out ensure a proper symphony of combustion on demand.

 

13 Trunk of a 1965 Buick Riviera remaining largely intact despite new suspension and driveline
A good portion of the very solid original floor was removed to accommodate the new suspension and driveline and yet the trunk remains largely intact.
14 Front suspension of a 1965 Buick Riviera with Michelin tires and a Detroit Speed rack and pinio
The front suspension is quite a bit simpler. Those big Michelin tires afford ample grip and the Detroit Speed rack and pinion provides precise steering. The actual subframe is hydroformed by Detroit Speed and blends nicely with the rectangular tubing frame rails.
15 Front view of a 1965 Buick Riviera showing the hefty sway bar and coilover front shocks
From the front we can see the hefty sway bar tucked through the front crossmember. Coilover front shocks are fully adjustable, and the rack and pinion is power assist.

 

16 Front of a 1965 Buick Riviera during final assembly with chassis black paint and Bosch anti lock brake system
Here is the front as final assembly begins. We love the “all-business” approach of chassis black paint. What’s not to like about durability and ease of maintenance? Brake lines to the Bosch anti-lock brake system are outrageous, from the tubing to the bracketry holding the lines in place.
17 ZR1 Corvette Carbon Ceramic rotors on a 1965 Buick Riviera for superior braking
Jeff Mosing has spent plenty of time hustling a Porsche GT3 in IMSA competition, so big brakes are mandatory. These ZR1 Corvette, Carbon Ceramic rotors on all four corners can handle the heat and will whoa things down quite nicely.
18 LSX Mast Motorsports 468 engine in a 1965 Buick Riviera replacing the original Buick Gran Sport 425 incher
Wow! The LSX Mast Motorsports 468 engine replaces the original Buick Gran Sport 425-incher that was coded LX with dual quads. That front-runner system is from Vintage Air and those huge Michelin tires (265-35X19) should put this Buick Riviera right where Jeff points it. It is interesting to see all this engineering and technology packaged in such sanitary fashion.

 

19 1965 Buick Riviera with fully adjustable ride height combining the latest technology with vintage flair
Have you ever noticed that when things are done properly, they often look simple? The ride height is fully adjustable on this 1965 Buick Riviera and the car combines the very latest technology with just the right amount of vintage flair.
20 Rear quarter view of a 1965 Buick Riviera with the body reunited with the chassis and a well filled wheel well
With the floor fabricated, bodywork complete the body is reunited with the chassis. We offer this rear quarter view as a lesson in properly filling a wheel well.

SOURCES
Detroit Speed & Engineering
(704) 662-3272
detroitspeed.com

Forgeline Wheels
(800) 886-0093
forgeline.com

Greening Auto Company
(256) 352-8700
greeningautocompany.com

Holley and Hooker
(866)464-6553
holley.com

Vintage Air
(800) 862-6658
vintageair.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Life Under the Riviera.

mr december 2023

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