The car was delivered to the Hot Rod Garage and the team wasted no time in getting the project started. Since the original chassis had previously been restored, it was perfect to use as a rock-solid base. Out back the stock rear was replaced with a fresh Currie 9-inch unit packed with 3.73:1 cogs. To enhance the handling capabilities a call was placed to Hotchkis Performance for their rear suspension package, featuring their beefy upper and lower trailing arms as well as their adjustable Panhard bar and all mounting hardware. To balance the mix a Hotchkis Performance sport sway bar and pair of QA1 adjustable coilover shocks were added to finish the combination. To give the car handling like it was attached to rails, a set of Hotchkis Performance tubular upper and lower control arms were combined with their matching sport sway bar, 1-inch dropped springs, and 2-inch dropped Superior spindles to help set the stance. To help navigate the course, a Flaming River power steering box was linked to a Flaming River tilt steering column. Sure it’s easy to go fast, but when the need to stop comes, a Wilwood dual master cylinder pushes fluid through stainless lines to Wilwood 12-inch discs and four-piston calipers mounted at each corner. To set everything rolling nothing sets the pace better than American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels in 16-inch front and 17-inch rears capped with BFGoodrich rubber.

With the bottom end of the car set, Joe decided to raise the ferocity of the engine bay to a new level by packing it full of big-block power from World Products with one of their race-engineered Merlin 540ci behemoths. Dyno’d at 610 hp, the cast-iron block was packed with all the right goods. These included an Eagle 4340 forged steel internally balanced crank linked to Eagle rods and Mahle pistons along with a COMP Cams solid flat-tappet cam to set the thump. Merlin aluminum heads breathe deep through an Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake capped with a Holley Street Avenger 770-cfm carb while spark comes through an MSD distributor linked to an MSD 6AL box. To dump the spent gases, Sanderson headers link to a Hot Rod Garage–designed 2-1/2-inch exhaust, exhaling through Flowmaster mufflers. Planting the power to the pavement a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed trans moves the gusto through an 11-inch Centerforce clutch to a custom steel driveshaft.

With the body already in nice shape, the Hot Rod Garage focused on dialing in Joe’s business office. Team leader Dean Alexander reworked the stock seat bases and door panels, infusing plenty of custom design and stitched up a decadent interior clad in vivid red Ultraleather accented by complementing red wool carpet. To bring the dash to life an array of Auto Meter dials and a vintage Sun tach keep track of all the vitals while a restored factory steering wheel looks right at home and Vintage Air cools the cabin. The Hot Rod Garage breathed new life into the Impala and Joe wasted no time in taking to the streets to relive the glory days with his latest street shaker, and to us that’s bitchin’!

Tech Tips


Remove inner springs during break-in

Always remove inner springs when breaking in a flat-tappet camshaft to ensure a safe break-in process. After spending at least 30 minutes varying the engine rpm periodically from 2,000 to 2,500, put the inner springs back in.


Linkage is key

When you set up your EZ-EFI, double-check the throttle body to make sure the linkage is 1:1 front to rear. Improper linkage will cause a stumble during acceleration.


Let it breathe

The fluid damper on the fuel gauge must be vented to operate properly on a carbureted system. The gauge will not read correctly otherwise.