Tara Nield’s 1971 Buick Riviera GS Gran Sport is a beloved family heirloom treasured by three generations of women.
Nield inherited the ride from her mom, Vivian Kenderdine, in 2019.
"[The Riviera] is in pristine, beautiful shape," Nield said.
The car was a 50th birthday gift to Kenderdine from her husband, and it stayed with her for 17 years.
"It had been my mom’s dream car for basically all of her life," Nield said.
How the car came to occupy Nield’s fantasies is a tale of family legend.
"She was in the hospital in labour with me, flipping through a magazine, and that was the ... first year of that Buick, and she fell in love with it right then and there," Nield said.
Kenderdine always hoped to get behind the wheel of the ride, and her 50th birthday proved to be the perfect occasion.
The Riviera was found by Nield’s stepfather near Edmonton. He immediately bought it as a surprise for Kenderdine.
The body of the car was in beautiful shape, Nield said, and the immaculate interior has also been preserved to original specs.
The Riviera was Kenderdine’s prized position for the 17 years she drove it, because it was a dream come true, Nield said.
Her mom added a personalized plate to the Riviera: "Vivs Riv."
Along with the car, Kenderdine left Nield the right to continue with the personalized plate.
Nield has upheld the tradition, and in the spring of 2021 switched it from the Manitoba plate to the Classic Car plate.
"It will always be Viv’s Riv," Nield said.
Her mom had a paint job completed on the Riviera about 10 years ago, but other than that, minimal work has been needed for the ride outside of standard maintenance.
The Riviera was originally cream-coloured with a white roof when it left the factory. When it was discovered by her stepfather, it had been painted forest green with a brown vinyl roof.
After the paint job was completed, the Riviera took on Kenderdine and Nield’s favourite colour in the world — purple — complemented by a white vinyl hard top.
"She was just drop dead gorgeous with purple," Nield said.
The Riviera boasts a 455 V8 engine producing around 315 horsepower.
"She rides like a dream. It’s like floating on a cloud."
When she revs the engine, the big block comes to life and "rumbles pretty good."
Nield described herself as "not [a] big car person" before inheriting the ride.
The Riviera has served to help introduce her to the wide world of wheels, inspiring her to learn more about anything automotive.
"I am loving it. What an amazing bunch of people that are in the car world."
While not officially a Road Rebels Car Club member, Nield will attend car shows when she can make the trek from her home in Virden.
She began to truly immerse herself in the cruise scene in 2021, when COVID-19 public health measures allowed.
When she first got the Riviera, the wounds of her mother’s death were still too fresh, so the ride stayed parked in the garage for the first year, she said.
"I didn’t even want to look at the car, so I did not drive it the first year I had it."
The second year, the pandemic hit, and she was only able to visit one event at Dirty Word Customz in Oak Lake with the Riviera.
It is a cool classic car, and Nield enjoys how it turns heads on the street. But most importantly, it allows her to keep a piece of her mom with her when she is on the road.
Nield drove the ride a few times with her mom, she said, explaining how Kenderdine would take it out now and then, but tried to only put the rubber on the road for a special occasion to preserve it.
"I maybe drove it more in three years than she drove it in 17," Nield said with a laugh.
She added that the Riviera has remained a treasured family gem and is closely shared and beloved by her daughter, Carissa.
Together they visited about four shows in 2021, including the first and only Cruise Night in Downtown Brandon last September.
Carissa is more of a gear head, Nield said, describing her as someone who "knows her cars, makes and models."
Carissa is also a detailer by trade.
"For all intents and purposes, I will leave it to her, and she will continue the Vivs Riv plate as well," Nield said.
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