They say things can come your way when you least expect it.
That’s exactly what happened to Greg Golab with his 1966 Buick Riviera. Golab actually found the car advertisement for a colleague who was looking for a ’69 Riviera. Golab said, “I showed him the ad in a local newspaper. He didn't even want to look at it; I on the other hand couldn't stay away. One look and I knew I had to have it.”
BoldRide: Why did you acquire the ride?
Golab: I was the proud owner of a 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS and unfortunately the motor let loose. I purchased a 1970 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ to drive while my Impala was being repaired. Once the Impala was running again I sold the Grand Prix…big mistake, the motor in the Impala let loose again. I found myself in need of another car and when I came across the advertisement for the Riviera, I just couldn’t say no.
What do you love about your Riviera? When I drive my Riviera down the street, every single head turns. That’s right, every head and this is not a Camaro or a Mustang. Even driving my Stingray doesn’t turn as many heads as my Riviera does. You just don’t see cars like this every day. I also love when a young lad in his Camaro or Mustang pulls up on my right, expecting to pass the ‘land barge’ with no problem. Their mouths drop wide open when my tires start to melt and I pull away.
Dream accessory you'd love to get for it and why? I read that there is a steering column mounted tachometer, called a Knee Knocker, with the Buick name on the face. Not that I need a tachometer, but having that item would be pretty cool.
What would you change about your car? As much as I like the color, Sea Foam Green, I would love to have it repainted in its original color, Verde Green. The dark green color looks so rich and deep (sigh)… sometime in the future.
Does it have a name? Her name is Gretta. I happen to hear the name somewhere, TV, radio, I don't remember which, but with the green color the name Gretta just kind of just stuck.
What do you feel like when you drive your Riviera? I feel like a celebrity! Everyone, young or old, man or woman, stops and looks. Pictures are okay, but I really don't like to sign autographs.
What's your favorite memory of Gretta? I remember after tuning the Riviera up at Dukes Drive In, on a local cruise night, a gentleman happened to walk around my car. After asking a few questions, he was absolutely amazed that the car was running – he couldn’t believe it when I balanced a nickel on the hood.
What was most challenging about the restoration process? Finding the correct part is crucial throughout the restoration process, which also makes it a challenge and the goal. My Riviera has correct chrome Buick mag wheels, but finding the hubcaps with the correct spinners was rewarding for me. The mags are nice, but the hubcaps make Gretta look very sedate, until the engine roars to life, and then look out.
Favorite and dream place to drive and why? I love to drive everywhere! I didn’t buy a couch or a trailer queen. I bought a car that’s meant to be driven. I would love to drive all over the USA, from coast to coast, North and South, and in between. As the song says "See the USA in your Chevrolet"...why can't I see the USA in my Buick?
THE BASICS Make: Buick Model: Riviera Year: 1966 Price (base when new): $4,424 Estimated Price (now with restoration): $16,000-$25,000 Engine: 425 Nailhead Horsepower: 340 hp Torque: 465 ft-lbs. Car Type: Classic, Coupe
THE MEASUREMENTS Overall length: 211.2 inches Wheelbase: 119 inches Height: 54.4 inches Width: 78.8 inches Curb weight: 4370 lbs.