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1963 Buick Riviera
Silver Arrow Show Car

William Mitchell's Personal Customized Riviera

1963 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow Show CarReported to have been one of the first 1963 Rivieras to roll off the assembly line on day one of production, the Silver Arrow Show Car started life as a regular production Riviera, but didn't remain in that state for long.

The Father of the Riviera, William L. (Bill) Mitchell decided a modified version needed to be created to tour the show car circuit, and when it wasn't on duty at a show somewhere, Mitchell himself would keep it in good running order by using it as his personal transportation! After completing final inspections, the car was whisked off to Creative Industries in Detroit, Michigan for modification.

The Silver Arrow featured a roof that was chopped two inches, with a slightly lengthened hood and modified front fenders, and a non-stock silver leather interior. At first glance it could have almost passed for a standard 1963 Riviera, were it not for the front end, which was a preview of things to come for 1965. Originally, the 1963 Riviera was intended to have the hidden headlights that didn't make it into production until 1965. Engineering required a bit more time for the design work, so the 1963 and 1964 Rivieras went to market without them.

Stock Rivieras had two sealed beam headlamps mounted on each side of the grille, with parking/turn signal/cornering lamps concealed behind translucent grilles in the forward edges of the front fenders. The Silver Arrow was modified to remove the headlamps from the grille, which was then filled in with panels painted to match the car body. The lights themselves were relocated behind the translucent grilles in the fenders. This meant the parking and turn signals needed to be moved to the area just below the front bumper, and cornering lamps were eliminated completely. Instead of the stock four headlamp system, a dual headlamp system was utilized.

Color-keyed silver metallic sport-style rear view mirrors were mounted on both doors, and one of the more notable exterior styling touches included the addition of wheel discs that were reminiscent of cars from the 1930s, which had an expanded polished and satin-finished concentric ring design. They covered up the real wire wheels on the car, but could be removed quickly to expose the sportier looking wire wheels when a different look was desired. Mitchell was obviously delighted with the car, as he drove it for years, despite having access to almost anything being built by General Motors at the time.

The original 1963 Riviera Silver Arrow was later referred to as the Silver Arrow I, as a Silver Arrow II and a Silver Arrow III were also built. Both of the later cars were also modified versions of stock Rivieras intended for the show circuit.