1959 Chevrolet Impala
Sales - Design/Build - Restoration
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Longer, lower, and wider were predominant buzzwords of the late 1950s and Impala marketing touted all three. The roof line was lower, the car was truly wider, and where fins once grew upward, the ‘59’s simply extended further back. With that said, there is a lot of metal to contend with on these cars during the restoration process. There are also a lot of continuous lines, meaning getting that work right is especially important. Suffice to the, this Impala nails that portion of presentation. Panel gaps are even and a quick look down the side of the car reveals straight panels all around. The body is shown in Roman Red and the paintwork is every bit as nice as the metal below. When the weather works against you, simply call on the white convertible for both protection from the elements and a striking contrast against the red paint.
Once you’re done admiring the overall view, there are a plethora of details to admire across the nearly 17.5 ft cruiser. The show begins with a bright nose which features dual headlights at either side of a toothy stainless grille. A full-width chrome bumper hosts rubber bullets and an integrated license plate recess while vents at either side of the Chevrolet badge draw cool air through the hood. The side features a full-length trim strip topped off by cross-flags and Impala letter while the fenders are capped by a stainless piece that disappears at the windshield an reemerges at the fins. Mix those pieces with chrome door handles, rear view mirrors, and mirror-like rocker trim and watch quick glances turn into stares. The rear view is instantly recognizable, featuring a V-shape created by the fins. The unique profile is filled in by “cat eye” taillights, a crisp Chevrolet badge, and a chrome bumper which fits the optional reverse lights neatly below.
If you wanted a little quicker ‘59 Impala than the average Joe, the 348ci Super Turbo Thrust V8 was a great foundation. The package utilized 9.5:1 compression, three two-barrel Rochester carburetors, and a hydraulic lifter cam to produce a factory-rated 280hp and 355 lb-ft of torque The foundation for this example is a 3755011 block dressed in bright orange paint and topped by a T (Tonawanda) 424 (April, 24) HA (1959-61 348ci V8/280hp) assembly stamp. The 3x2 setup is hidden underneath a satin black dual-snorkel air cleaner assembly with a discrete AC decal at the front. At either side, instantly recognizable heads take deep breathes while correct cast iron manifolds show spent gases the way out. The front of the engine turns very little by today’s standards but the integrated power steering pump and generator is always a conversation starter while the tagged radiator and large fan shroud continue the list of correct parts. The 348 cubic inch centerpiece is framed by satin black inner fenders and a red firewall that features replicated inspection stamps to round out the authentic presentation.
Peer underneath to admire the unique X-frame dressed in a fresh coat of black and backed by red oxide floors, just like the factory intended. There are also replicated inspection marks, paint daubs, and more new hardware than the average home improvement store. In the center, a reliable two-speed Powerglide channels power back towards a GM corporate rear end dressed in fresh black paint. The pristine stainless dual exhaust system replicates the factory setup by following the frame rails and exiting at either side of a new stainless fuel tank. Suspension is equally true to stock form with coil springs and spiral shocks at all four corners. Those pieces are assisted by double A-arms up front while a three-link with a panhard bar keeps the rear end in check. These definitely aren’t small cars, so the power-assisted steering is a huge plus while manual drum brakes rein the 348 in with surprising confidence. At the corners, 14-inch steel wheels with full covers are wrapped in 7.50x14 BF Goodrich Silvertown white walls to round out the classic look.
For GM products of the 1950s, interiors are always a highlight. This Impala continues that trend with an eye-popping tri-tone red interior that presents as new all around. At the ground level, Fisher Body door sill plates welcome visitors while anchoring plush red carpeting with matching floor mats. The jet age theme is strong on the door panels where sweeping lines center on the armrests. Slide into the driver’s side of the bench and the stylish stock dash comes into full view. Like the rest of the car, the dash wears an even coat of Roman Red while playing host to factory instrumentation that monitors generator output, oil pressure, speed, gasoline. Below the gauge pods, a healthy dose of stainless trim fills in the negative space while providing a home for the ignition and chrome pulls for the accessories. Other highlights include an AM/FM radio, a crisp Impala badge on the dash, and instructional sleeves that slide over the dual sun visors. Stylistically, there is a lot to admire about this interior and, best of all, it’s just as great to use as it is to look at. Lift the deck lid to find a cavernous space completed by a trunk mat, full-size spare, and roadside tools.
This convertible is a nicely polished piece of jet age magic ready to be shown and celebrated. With its sturdy 348/Powerglide combination, drivability certainly won’t be a problem and the impressive interior is every bit as welcoming now as it was new. If you’re looking for a first-rate 1959 Impala to add to your collection, don’t think twice about bringing home this convertible today!
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