Just the Facts
Year: 1965
Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala
Owner: Carlos Guzman
State: California

Most folks find it pretty hard to build their dream car on a budget. When you're young and without responsibilities, it's easy to decide to either pay the phone bill or get a new set of hubcaps for your ride (sorry Ma Bell).

But when you have significant responsibilities, like when you're married with kids and another on the way, then priorities get shifted.

Carlos Guzman, a young Marine veteran from Los Angeles, didn't really want to sell his 1965 Impala, but he needed to in order to help finance an expanding family. He had bought the car from a Marine buddy, and nicknamed the car "Marilyn"—he also liked Marilyn Monroe. And for inspiration, he even carried a photo of another fixed-up Impala in his wallet.

So when he put the car up for sale with an ad on the Internet (stating "need to sell my baby to help pay for a new baby"), a pair of bloggers who claimed they did a restoration show on cable television came knocking on his door. They liked the car enough to buy it, and videotaped the sale for their show. They then called up a flatbed truck to haul it away in front of a reluctant and now former owner.

But what Carlos didn't know was the bloggers worked for the television show Overhaulin', and that his wife, two brothers, and an uncle were all in on the act. Overhaulin' is the TV show that takes cars from unsuspecting owners and rebuilds them to show quality before handing them back weeks later to the owner, who is usually quite stunned. The show, created and hosted by Chip Foose, is now starting its seventh season and is very popular, especially with the hot rod crowd.

Once the Overhaulin' crew got the Impala back to their Southern California–based shop/set, it underwent deconstruction right down to the bare body and rolling chassis. The frame was then straightened (there had been a small accident with the car), stripped, and then powdercoated, while the body was media blasted clean. Damaged areas of the body (from both collision and rust) were repaired, and new quarter-panels were added. Some custom work was done, too, including the removal of the door locks.

The chassis was upgraded with a Currie 9-inch rear, which was narrowed 4 inches (2 inches per side) for larger wheels. A Hotchkiss Sport Suspension system was also installed, along with Baer Pro Plus disc brakes (six-piston with 13-inch rotors) on each corner. An ididit steering column was also added, as were 19x8 and 20x10 Foose Design wheels that were wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero rubber (245/40-19 and 265/40-20).

The original 327 engine was then yanked out in favor of a new crate engine from Edelbrock that produces 315 hp with 381 lb-ft of torque. A radiator and electric fan from Classic Industries was used, as were ignition components and wires from MSD. Hooker Headers extract the exhaust, which exits through Magnaflow mufflers and out a one-off system. Famed drag racer Art Carr assembled the 200-R4 transmission from California Performance Transmission and it's coupled to a driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveline.

Using BASF waterborne 90-Line products, Foose and the show's A-team members painted the car Silver Screen Silver (to honor Marilyn Monroe), and Chip sprayed the fade across the bottom rocker area of the car. Dennis Ricklefs (with some help from Chip's son, Brock) then came by to lay down some contrasting fine lines all around the car.

Chrome plating for the car, which included the newly welded one-piece bumpers, was done at Artistic Silver Plating in Signal Hill, California. Chip wanted to update the base Impala interior to the higher SS-grade, so the stock front bench seat was tossed in favor of buckets, which were covered in red Katzkin leather by Bill Dunn. Overhaulin's A-Team also installed a killer ARC Audio-based stereo system, though it is well hidden from view.

Once the car was done, Carlos' brothers, Danny and Omar, got their uncle Alvaro Tello in on the act, too. Uncle Al runs an upholstery business, and he called his nephew up to get him to help with some upholstery he needed to get done. Carlos and his brothers show up at their uncle's shop to find a very nice Impala in for some work.

Carlos checks the car out and is a bit sad because he knows his car could have been finished like the one he's looking at, though he adds things up real quick once Chip and the Overhaulin' team come through the door with cameras rolling. After realizing the car he's looking at was the one he sold just four weeks before, he's blown away when Chip presents him with the keys and gives the car back to him. As a topper, Carlos gets to take the car out for a spin with Chip riding shotgun—which would be a truly speechless experience for anyone!

As fate would have it, the photo Carlos carried of a fixed-up Impala in his wallet had also been built by the Overhaulin' crew, but it now seems Carlos will soon have photos of his own car back in his wallet, right next to those of his family.