Obsession. Simply stated, it's an idea that can be compared to a total mental domination regarding a certain subject. Some people go through their entire lifetimes without experiencing anything that closely resembles it. For others, though, it becomes a way of life.
For Lou Querusio of Mendon, Massachusetts, his overwhelming obsession with customs started early on at a time when names like Barris, Starbird, and the Alexander Brothers were dominant forces in everything to do with automotive restyling. The staggering creativity that was flowing through the design studios in Detroit in the 1950s gave the daring visionaries with a hammer and dolly amazing bases to work with and build upon. Frequenting the local hobby shop in his area as a youth, Lou was awestruck by the scale models available to be built right at home on the kitchen table. It's a story to which many of us can relate, one where a youngster fueled his desires with a kit rendition of an original creation, thanks to the cash he made on his paper route.
Now that's a hopped-up mill! Wanting to make any viewers do a double take, Lou had the tea
Never losing his fascination with custom cars, Lou managed a few sweet rides as the years passed, but it wasn't until recently, when he became acquainted with Todd Lewis of Xtreme Restorations in Slatersville, Rhode Island, that he fully realized the potential of bringing his many obsessions to life. Starting with the purchase of a '66 Pontiac LeMans, he had the team at Xtreme breathe new life into it with countless mild custom touches, while a fire-breathing Pontiac mill let the neighborhood know when he was ready to hit the streets. Having always admired the body lines of the '58 Chevy Impala-especially for the fact that the car looked like a custom right from the factory-Lou set a course to locate a suitable base to start with for his next project.
While driving thorough a bordering town near his home, Lou spied a bone-stock '58 sitting in a driveway with a "For Sale" sign taped to the window-talk about fate! After checking out the car, it was determined this clean original would be the next project, and Lou soon went over his ideas for the car with the Xtreme team. He wanted it to be a very subtle car with just enough change to the exterior to make it look period-perfect.
The custom grille, spots, and real-deal lakes pipes are straight from the book of old-time
One of the many facets of designing a true custom starts with the car's stance. Miss this and you may as well throw in the towel, because the car will never look right. The crew made a call to Air Ride Technologies for one of its ShockWave systems, and it was combined with tubular upper control arms and an antiroll bar from Hotchkis Performance to make sure the car's newfound personality would be just what the doctor ordered. As the team worked their way through the chassis, a new steering box was added from an '88 Jeep Wagoneer, while plenty of stopping power is ensured by a combination of MP discs and calipers up front, and rear drums and the stock rearend out back.
The car almost melts into the pavement with the Air Ride Technologies ShockWaves exhaled.
Choosing Wheel Vintiques billet smoothies topped with chrome bullet caps rolling on Diamond Back Classics wide whitewall radials added just enough dazzle to the mix. A decision was also made to have the team rebuild the original 348ci mill with a twist; after punching out the block, it was filled with TRW slugs, a Crane stick, and Manley valves prior to being deburred and doused with vivid red gloss. To bring it all home, an Offy six-pot intake was bolted on top and teamed up with a squadron of Rochesters capped with traditional air cleaners.
Finally, the team cast their spell on the body, first by shaving the hood, then by making sure it was razor-sharp before masking it up and dousing it with PPG Cashmere Blue. Once it was rolled out of the booth, it was treated to a full continental kit, custom front fender side moldings, and its signature bullet-tooth grille. From there, it was time to give it some new threads, so the team at Xtreme installed a tri-color motif interior they further accented with an engine-turned dash and steering wheel inserts, a customized flip-down tissue dispenser containing hideaway gauges, and an updated sound system.
Lou told us he's been burning up the miles on the Impala on a daily basis. We can hardly wait to see the pair of early Caddy customs emerge from Xtreme Restorations that he is having Todd and his team design and build right now.