- - Thursday, August 30, 2012

When Pennsylvanian Burt Zwibel was discharged from the Army in July 1965 after serving as a dentist at Fort Myer, he was smitten by Virginia and decided to become a Virginian by choice.

He was also enamored of the new 1965 Buick Riviera. ‘It wasn’t in the cards,’ he says. ‘I had one wife, two kids and no Buick.

‘The allure of the Riviera is that it looks like a customized car,’ Dr. Zwibel says,.

An older physician in Silver Spring, however, did purchase a new black 1965 Buick Riviera with a base price of $4,318. He kept the car for 27 years, then sold it to another Silver Spring doctor.

In 1998 the Buick was advertised for sale and Dr. Zwibel leapt at the opportunity. Another prospective buyer, a man from Stafford, leapt quicker. A disappointed Dr. Zwibel told the third owner to call him if he should ever want to sell the sleek Riviera.

His telephone rang in the summer of 2003 and, after a 38-year wait, Dr. Zwibel was the owner of a like-new 1965 Buick Riviera. ‘I wanted an original car,’ he says. Except for a respray of the gleaming black finish by the second owner, the car is virtually as it was when it left the factory.

The car still had fewer than 100,000 miles when Dr. Zwibel drove it from Stafford home to Fairfax. ‘The original radiator was not doing the job,’ he says.

Since then, an oversized custom-made four-core radiator has been installed. ‘Now it’s a nice parade car,’ Dr. Zwibel says. ‘It cannot overheat.’

Beneath the sculpted engine hood is a 401-cubic-inch V-8 developing 340 horsepower, which can give the 140-mph speed- ometer a workout.

Factory-installed optional equipment includes:

• Tinted glass.

• Cruise control.

• Power antenna.

• Custom interior.

• Air conditioning.

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