‘Rivision” is the name J.F. Launier gave to the highly customized and stunningly yellow 1964 Buick Riviera that his JF Kustoms of Osoyoos, British Columbia, unveiled at the recent Autorama show in Detroit. Autorama judges gave Launier and his car the award named for the late Don Ridler.
The Ridler and the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award presented each year at the Grand National Roadster Show are the most important honors available for hot rod and custom cars.
Only cars being shown to the public for the first time are eligible for the Ridler. Cars must be able to move under their own power, though they don’t necessarily have to be put at risk by driving on public roads, and especially not the pot-holed roads of a harsh Detroit winter.
The Ridler is named for Don Ridler, a former Michigan State University college football star who became a master of event promotion, in part by mixing hot rod cars and top musical entertainment back in the early days of the Motor City Autorama.
Photos by Margaret Hehr
Each year a “Great 8” from among the cars entered in the Detroit Autorama are selected as finalists for the Ridler Award, which was first presented in 1964 to an AA Comp Bantam Coupe known as “Aggravation.”
A JF Kustoms-built 1967 Shelby GT500 known as the “Kardiac 500” was one of the Great 8 finalists for the Ridler in 2012. Launier also was responsible for the R’Evolution, a customized 1955 Chrysler station wagon that won Goodguys Rod & Custom Association honors in 2013 and earned Launier the club’s Trendsetter award for that year.
Rivision’s work in turning a ’64 Riv into the Ridler-winning Rivision included creating hand-formed fenders, hood, rear quarter panels and a rear end with the boat tail rear window from a 1971 Buick Riviera, as well as a hand-fabricated leather interior, and a custom-built 6.2-liter GM V8 engine tuned to provide 850 horsepower and linked to a six-speed gearbox, all on a one-off Perimetre chassis.