1963 Buick Riviera

When death comes knocking, this is his ride of choice.

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Story: Evan “Evo” Yates

Photography: Chris Fesler

It’s becoming cliché to deem your ride “mean.” Slapping on some black wheels and limo tint and removing your chrome trim is far from ballsy, as everyone has done it now. And although there are plenty of rides flexin’ this pseudo facade, only a select few can call their rides sinister or, even further, spawned from the Devil himself.

The Scottsdsale, Arizona, dweller, co-owner and CEO of toymaker Ronin Syndicate, Tony Diaz, began his pursuit of the dark side a few years ago, combing the country for the perfect candidate for his evil mission. “I had been looking for a Riviera for a long time,” explains Tony. “I just love the hard lines on it. I think it has an aggressive, old-school gangster look. Back in those days, all the cars were like boats, but the Riviera had that defined look.” The goal for the car was simple: to radiate gangster. And Tony wasn’t thinkin’ ’Pac in ’94—more like Capone in ’29. “I wanted it to look thug, but not modern-day thug—more like something from the ’30s,” proclaims Tony. “Like you would expect dudes with tommy guns to jump out of it.”

Tony definitely had gangster goals, and thankfully his friend Chris Fesler was up for the task of making Tony’s dreams a reality. If you haven’t heard the name Fesler yet, you’ve surely seen the Fesler Built artistry on the Web or at a number of high-profile car shows.

For the heart and soul of the bold Buick, it would need a modern touch under the hood. “It had the original nail head in it, but we pulled it out for the LS1,” says Tony. “I wanted something more reliable and more powerful.” He continues, “To achieve that gangster theme, it’s gotta growl and it’s gotta be able to scoot!”

One of the most intriguing aspects of the rapacious Rivi is the exclusive yet abnormal rolling gear. “I was lookin’ at hot rods from back in the day and was inspired by the moon wheels they used, and I wanted to do something like that,” Tony says. “But I wanted to put a lip on it. To me, when you add a lip, especially in the rear, it gives it more of an aggressive look.”

Under the trunk lid is nothing but bad news. With more than 3,000 watts of power going to the Kicker subwoofers and speakers, not only does it pound pavement, but it casts fear on anyone daring enough to peek inside. “Chris was like, ‘I don’t know, man, people might get nervous or get the wrong idea,’ but I didn’t give a shit. I wanted it to be thug and mean,” exclaims Tony. “Mean” is putting it kindly. Upon unlatching the lid, you witness glowing red Plexiglas with an unforgettable inscription: “Satan’s Sled.”

“I know this car is not for everybody. It’s supposed to look mean as hell,” explains Tony. “But you don’t build a car for everybody to like. You build it based on stuff you’re into—and for respect.”

Spec The Technique:

Performance: GM Corvette LS-1 fuel-injected engine; GM 4L65E transmission; MagnaFlow SS exhaust system; built 12-bolt rear end with 3.73 gears; Air Mobile polished custom radiator built with dual fans; Fesler GM harness, computer and tune package

Exterior: DuPont semi-flat paint by Gary Sharp; Fesler custom grille and light covers; custom LED taillights; shaved and smoothed body; brushed front and rear custom bumpers

Interior: Fesler brushed steering wheel, door pulls, dash inserts and center console; black leather and suede seats; suede headliner; Lokar shifter and pedals; Mercedes-Benz carpet

Ice: Dakota Digital custom dash housing with digital gauges, center console–mounted air ride control; Kenwood in-dash DVD DDX7015; two pairs of Kicker RS65.2 component systems, two L7 12-inch subwoofers, one ZX 2500.1 amplifier, one ZX 800.4 amplifier; custom fiberglass trunk, boxes and amp racks by Brian York; DEI Viper alarm; red LED lighting

Wheels/Tires: 20-inch Asanti Fesler FS903 3-piece wheels; BFG tires

Suspension/Brakes: Fesler custom Air Ride suspension; Baer Brakes with stainless-steel braided lines; master cylinder, booster and proportion valve