Everything is fair game when it comes to reshaping the factory form; it’s just a matter of personal taste—and ultimately, the execution of the transformation.
The second-generation Riviera (1966-1967) is no less of a conceptual-design beauty than its predecessor—but like the first-gens, it’s just as much a prime candidate for further conceptualizing.
Al Hummel obviously agreed with that, and after his Arizona estate sale find 1966 Riviera had sat quietly in his Nevada garage for years, decided it needed to head west for a proper makeover. The destination was Escondido where Randy Clark’s skilled team at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (HR&CS) were tasked to interpret, execute, and candy-coat that vision of a properly made-over Riviera.
One of, if not the most challenging aspects of the project: the chop. From both the technical and the visual perspectives, many have tried … and many have failed. HR&CS did not fail by any means, pulling a little over 3 inches out of the Riviera’s roof profile in a manner that further accentuated the hardtop’s overall silhouette, making it almost appear longer in wheelbase in the process.
Further restyling was done by shaving the handles, crafting a custom wiper-concealing cowl panel, and trimming ’n’ tucking the now-shaved bumpers in tighter to the body. And it all works—very, very well for that matter — but HR&CS had one more major task to perform to really make the exterior transformation pop.
Once every last nook and cranny had been bodyworked and prepped following the initial metalwork, shop painter Andy Meeh stepped in and applied his trademark multi-gun skillset by accentuating the Riviera’s sleek lines and contours in a rather vivid way.
His “golden” palette, as it were, consisted of House of Kolor Kandy Pagan Gold, a custom mix of various gold Shimrins, and a pinch (or so) of gold ’flake—all laid down with hand-striped borderlines and sealed in House of Kolor’s Show Klear.
And with the addition of 18-inch Colorado Custom wheels — whittled out in SoCal with one-off Riviera caps — wearing Diamond Back Classic 55-series radial white walls, there’s no mistaking it’s a custom.
The chassis received a RideTech adjustable suspension setup controlled by an AccuAir e-Level system, while the brakes and steering were all rebuilt and kept in the mechanical equation. Same for the engine, of course, as Al’s Riviera is a factory GS, and its dual-quad equipped 425 Nailhead was freshened up by Machine Tech in Oceanside prior to HR&CS making her look better than new, keeping most everything as-was with the exception of dual-turbo pack mufflers.
While the aforementioned technical aspects may not stray too far from stock specs, the interior on the hand, well, it’s far and beyond what even Bill Mitchell had outfitted in his custom Rivieras. HR&CS’ in-house upholstery crew redid the original seating and paneling with a unique color combination of leather, then added gold-fleck embellished Trinidad black loop carpet (from ACC) below.
Hard surface areas, such as the center console insert, were candy-coated gold, while pretty much everything else was chrome plated. In the process, a RetrosSound/MB Quart sound system and Vintage Air were installed as well.
Once a one-owner, rust-free original resting peacefully, today Al Hummel’s Riviera apparently gets no rest — whether it’s making a star appearance on Jay Leno’s Garage (on CNBC’s YouTube), hanging out at major car shows, or in the studio in front of the lens, it’s been a non-stop ride ever since HR&CS wrapped it up.