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The Riviera Story

Rivi Pencil

Story by: David Blakeley

The "Rivi" started its life in May 1971 when she came off the assembly line. Purchased on June 22, 1971 by Dr. W.G. Low of Colorado Springs, Colorado, from Guy Martin Buick in Colorado Springs. Upon the death of Dr. Low his widow sold the Rivi to Roy (Bill) Paxson on April 26, 1973 with only 134 miles on the car. (Gas cost .35 cent's per. gallon)

Roy and is wife, Marilyn Paxson, took the Rivi on many trips across the USA. One such trip took them from Colorado Springs on July 31, 1975 to Vancouver, British Columbia on August 6, 1975 and back to Colorado Springs on August 10, 1975. (Gas cost .54 cents per gallon) This trip had a total mileage of 2978 miles in just 11 days averaging 14 mpg!

buick front

On December 1, 1980 the Paxsons moved to Arlington Texas. They arrived on December 5, 1980. At this time the Rivi was now nine years old and had 77,341 miles on her. (Gas cost 1.08 per gallon) By this time the Paxsons owned two cars. Marilyn got the Rivi and Roy got the other car (not a Buick). Marilyn, being a nurse at the local Arlington hospital, drove the Rivi to and from work every day. Since Marilyn lived within two miles from work the Rivi acquired few miles. It seemed the Rivi's cross country traveling days were over.

In March 1984, the Rivi was sold to Dale and Valerie Campbell. By this time she now had 86,804 miles and was showing her age. (Gas cost .98 cent's per. gallon) The Rivi was now limited to around town trips. But Dale would never pass up the opportunity to show just what the Boattail Rivi could do. Even at age 13 she could burn the rubber off the snow tires. Yes, even though she had been in Texas for three years, the Rivi still had studded snow tires from Colorado on her. This was once pointed out to Dale by a Texas DPS Trooper.

Buick rear

On May 31, 1988 the Campbells sold the Rivi to me. I drove it until November 1988. March 2, 1989 I started what turned out to be a three year restoration to bring the Rivi back to what she was when new. By this time the Rivi had 97,436 miles. The year 1989 was dedicated to the restoration of the engine compartment. After partially dissembling the engine it was found to be in excellent condition. There was no need to rebuild the engine. In 1990 the vinyl top was replaced and the Rivi received its original gold paint job. Next come the interior. In 1991 the seat upholstery was replaced with the original material.

The year was 1993. With the mileage of 99,470 the Rivi was entered in its first car show. The day before the Rivi was specially detailed by the now famous Brian (Car Wash Kid) Campbell. With Roy and Marilyn Paxson, Dale, Valerie and Brian Campbell present, the Rivi took second place in its class. I was once told the Rivi was ugly! I view it as a production concept car.


More trivia about my boattail story:

Roy and Marilyn Paxson (second owners) are the mother and father of Valerie Campbell. So the Riv was a hand me down when it was sold to Dale and Valerie Campbell. Valerie grew up in the Riv and learned how to drive in the Riv. This fact alone makes it very impressive that the Riv was in such good shape when I found it. When Valerie was a kid the Riv always had a CB in it. Her CB handle was "Goldnugget" because the Riv is gold and, at that time, they lived in Colorado. Ever since the restoration, the Riv is nicknamed "goldnugget." Dale Campbell is my cousin on my mother's side. So you can say that we are all related. Would this mean that the Riv has been in the same family since April 1973?

Since Roy bought the car in April 1973, he has kept a log on all the maintenance performed on the Riv since mile 5135. He also would record the mileage, gallons of gas, price of the gas and date every time he would fill up the car. Some times when on a vacation or business trip he would record the city and state where he filled up. Dale and Valerie also kept the log book up when they owned it. On Christmas 1991 after I completed the restoration of the car, Roy and Marilyn gave me the first set of Colorado 1971 license plates that were on the car when he bought it. Roy had kept the plates all these years in his garage.

When I moved from Pennsylvania to Texas in 1984, I met my cousin Dale and his family. I still remember pulling into his driveway and seeing the Riv for the first time. The paint was faded and peeling off the trunk but NO rust! I remember saying to myself that someday that car will be mine. I soon offered my services as a mechanic to make all repairs to the Riv at no charge! All they had to pay for was the parts. After all it's for the family! The only thing I asked is that I be given first chance to buy the Riv whenever they no longer want it.


Finally in May 1988 I got a phone call from Dale that he wanted to sell the Riv. I had just bought a new house and money was tight. So I gritted my teeth and asked "how much?". The reply was " the car dealer said it's only worth $1000." I said SOLD! So I scraped up the cash and the fun began! It took four years of free labor and $1000 to get my dream car. I spent three years restoring the Riv back to all its splendor. Now its time to enjoy!

In my story I mention Brian Campbell (car wash kid). He is the son of Dale and Valerie Campbell and grandson of Roy and Marilyn Paxson. He is also my best friend! You see, Brian has Williams Syndrome. This is a genetic disorder that causes severe heart conditions and retardation. Brian is very interested in cars and car washes. The International Carwash Association has embraced him and his interest in car washing equipment. They have been very good to Brian and he now has a lot of friends in the car wash industry.

If you would like more information on Williams Syndrome you can call or write to:

Williams Syndrome Association. Inc.
P.O. Box 297
Clawson. MI 48017-0297




This page was last updated on 09/03/00.