Sometimes it's hard to tell someone what you can do for them-it's usually a lot easier task when you can actually show them rather than spend the time talking about it. So when the team at Classic Industries, a Huntington Beach, California- based Chevy restoration and performance parts business, wanted to showcase what they can offer their customers in the way of parts and pieces for older Chevrolets, they figured what better way than to put them all together on a low-slung hot rod?
Classic Industries covers both ends of the spectrum for Chevy enthusiasts-restorers as well as folks who like to customize their Bow Tie rides. Dealing in parts for everything from Camaros and Novas to Caprices and some GMC trucks, they have a wide base of knowledge and can help their customers with their own projects.
When Mark Vogt, the general manager for Classic Industries, decided to upgrade the company's '64 Impala, it was a no-brainer as to where they were going to get the parts! But the one thing Classic doesn't do is actually build cars themselves (they just sell parts), so Mark turned to American Muscle Cars in San Bernardino, California, to have the car customized.
Hidden behind the American...
Hidden behind the American Racing Salt Flat wheel is a set of Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation's Force 10 calipers and disc setup.
The team at American Muscle Cars, as the name implies, specializes in that type of car and uses their shop (complete with fabrication as well as paint and body facilities) to do what it takes to get those vehicles back on the pavement. Their talents were also noticed by Speed's "Chop, Cut, Rebuild" TV show, which covered the entire teardown and reassembly of the Impala during the show's fourth season in 2007.
Not a quickie, "slap some paint and wheels on this pig and see if it'll sell" type of build, this Impala went together like a street rod-from the ground up. The entire car was completely stripped, the body removed from the chassis, and the frame straightened with all factory spot-welded brackets fully welded. The rear shock mounts were removed and new ones were fabricated, and when the frame was done, it was powdercoated in a semi-flat black finish.
The Impala's suspension centers around Air Ride Technologies products, the front with Strong Arm tubular control arms, Monroe shocks, and Classic Industries 2-inch dropped spindles, while the rear uses an adjustable Panhard bar and a Firestone air spring/Monroe shock combo. The rearend is a Currie 9-Plus unit with 31-spline axles and was set up with a 4.11 gear ratio. AMC also converted the front brakes to disc using Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation's Force 10 Extreme 4-piston system with 13-inch rotors while the rear disc conversion, also SSBC Force 10 units, uses 11.75-inch rotors. The stock steering box was replaced with a Remy Racing plated box, set up at 12.7:1 (which gives the wheel a 2.5 turn lock-to-lock ratio). The chassis itself rolls on American Racing Salt Flat wheels (17x7 and 8s) wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force Sport rubber (205/50R17 and 255/45ZR17).
The heartbeat of any Chevrolet...
The heartbeat of any Chevrolet is the engine and, in this case, a potent one at that. After ordering a ZZ 454 crate engine from GM Performance Parts, American Muscle Cars added a Holley 770 carb, MSD ignition, Hedman Hedders, and MagnaFlow mufflers to ensure a high level of performance.
The body Classic had originally wasn't in that great of shape, and this project eventually took three different cars to get enough straight metal to even get started (the Classic crew said if they were to do this project all over again, the only thing they'd change is starting with a more complete car!). The body was shaved of its trim and molding, then prepped for the House of Kolor paint, applied at American Muscle Cars. AMC started by laying down four coats of black base, then five coats of Razberry Red on the top panels while the sides got four coats of silver. The job was then finished off with seven coats of clear and a subtle orange pinstripe by Lil' Louie.
Original Equipment Restorations supplies GM-licensed reproduction parts to the aftermarket industry, and the company stepped up with many new parts and pieces for this ride. From the hood and grille to the taillights and bumpers, OER made the Impala look factory fresh. The company also stocks interior pieces, so AMC used OER's dash, insert, and gauge cluster along with an OER three-spoke steering wheel (an option on '69-70 fullsize Chevys).
The steering wheel is bolted to an ididit column, the gauges wired with an American Autowire kit, and a Vintage Air A/C system was installed as well. AMC tapped Tune Time to install the Sony X-Plod stereo system, using Hushmat sound-deadening material in conjunction with material supplied by Classic Industries (capably upholstered by Wanda's Upholstery in San Bernardino, California).
About the only item still not addressed was the powertrain, and Mark wasn't about to drop a stock 283 into the engine bay after all of this exceptional work. A GM Performance Parts ZZ 454 (PN 12498777) was ordered up and came with 440 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The V-8 comes with aluminum heads and is fed by a single Holley 770 Street Avenger carb. Exhaust travels through a set of Hedman Tork-Step Hedders and out MagnaFlow mufflers, while spark is handled by an MSD system. Other engine upgrades include an aluminum Be Cool radiator, a Billet Specialties water pump and alternator, and a K&N X-Stream air cleaner. Helping get the power to the ground is a TH400 transmission, prepped by California Performance Transmission in Huntington Beach, California, and a driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveline Service.
There is a lot of metal in a '64 Impala, and that's one reason American Muscle Cars racked up more than 1,200 hours in bodywork. But the end product, a rolling testbed for the products Classic Industries offers, turned out great and is testament to the fact that, with enough time and talent, you can convert your mid-'60s Chevy into a rolling piece of art, too!
Many of the pieces needed...
Many of the pieces needed to recreate a factory Chevy interior are available using Original Equipment Restorations parts, including the dash, insert, gauges, mirror, and steering wheel.
House of Kolor paints were...
House of Kolor paints were used exclusively on the Classic Industries Impala, starting with four coats of black base, followed by five coats of Razberry Red, four coats of Orion Silver, and seven coats of clear before being pinstriped by Lil' Louie.