Featured Customer: John Lyons
Every dream has to start somewhere, and John Lyon's dream of building his 1968 Buick Riviera into the fastest, best handling, and agile Riviera out there started when he attended his first autocross event. Customizing a big and heavy 1968 Buick Riviera to become a light and agile car is no easy feat! Besides the extensive chassis and suspension work, this "big girl" as John affectionately calls her needed some weight reduction.
“This project and my experience with composites began about four years ago. I did research and experiments to learn and fine tune my skills. It has been such a satisfying and fulfilling endeavor creating composite parts and panels that exist nowhere else than on my custom Riviera.”
John started "trimming the fat" so to speak with the hood and truck lid as they were the heaviest body panels on the car. A mold was made from the existing parts using black tooling gel coat and polyester molding resin. With the hood and trunk lid being so large and flat they were strengthened with Lantor Soric® XF functioning as a sandwich core material, surrounded by 3K, 2x2 Twill Weave Carbon Fiber.
The custom front bumper was more of a challenge because it was made completely from scratch. John started with a 2x4 and plywood frame onto which he poured Polyurethane Mix & Pour Foam to carve and sculpt into the plug which he would use to create his final mold. From this final mold John has created a one of a kind bumper using vacuum infusion to achieve an optimal fiber-to-resin ratio. But the most challenging parts to create were the front and rear fender panels.
Building off of the existing panels, John applied a layer of Chavant Autostyle Clay to sculpt and widen each of the panels by 2-1/4". The clay was then prepped, molds were cast over the clay plugs, and again using vacuum infusion John created custom resin infused carbon fiber fenders. To ensure the beautiful cosmetic appearance of the carbon fiber remained stunning well into the future, John coated all of these panels with Duratec® Sun Shield for improved durability and to prevent UV degradation. Keep up the great work John!