When our 1959 Chevrolet Impala was delivered to Hot Rods by Dean (HRBD) to begin its transformation into the 2014 Road Tour car the general consensus was we were off to a good start. The original X-frame would be replaced by a fully independent perimeter chassis from The Roadster Shop, the empty engine bay would be filled to the brim with Ron Shaver–supplied horsepower, and the Powerglide would give way to a Hughes-built 4L80E. Couple that with Dean Livermore and the rest of HRBD guiding the thousands of other details involved and we had every reason to be confident.
One of the first tasks to tackle was rust repair and the rebuilding of the car's floor to fit the perimeter chassis, which was covered in the July '14 issue of SR. Once the body fit the frame it was time for HRBD to focus on making the sheetmetal pristine.
Basically the processes used by Livermore and his crew are standard body shop procedures, however what will set this car apart is the level of workmanship. Every square inch of the Chevy's sheetmetal was stripped by a combination of sanding and media blasting. Once that was done the corrosion repair that is part of reviving any vehicle of this age was carried out the only way repairs are permanent—the rust was cut out and new metal was welded in place. Thanks to a shop full of Eastwood equipment all the necessary replacement panels could be produced in-house regardless of their complexity.
With what was now a rust-free body the next chore was to make the acres of sheetmetal perfectly smooth. Careful bumping with hammers, dollies, spoons, and all the other tools of the trade and a trace of filler here and there and the body is nice enough for an average build—but Livermore doesn't understand the concept of average. An application of PPG's VP2100 Polyester Primer, followed by block sanding, then more VP2100, followed by more block sanding, provided the desired results: perfect 1959 Chevy sheetmetal.
After a final application of PPG's K38 primer the Impala was ready to be covered in PPG's DBC 908276W—or as it's better known, Ferrari Red. A coat of PPG's D894 high-solids clear, a round of color sanding and polishing, and the results speak for themselves.
As the body and paintwork were being seen to at HRBD, Art Holman and Dave Dougherty at Sherm's Custom Plating were sorting out miles of stainless and aluminum trim that would be refurbished along with all the pieces that would go into the chrome tanks. From the factory the aluminum pieces were anodized, which provided an almost satin sheen. We were looking for a finish with a little more sparkle so the aluminum pieces were polished to the point of looking like chrome—they were then clearcoated by HRBD to preserve the finish. Like everything Sherm's does, the chrome, stainless and aluminum components were finished to concours standards.
With body, paint, and trim work being attended to, a long list of components needed was sent to Classic Industries. They provided everything from the headlight buckets and hardware to the rear license plate trim and trunk latch and tons of stuff in between. Mirrors inside and out, an original-style antenna, assorted badges, trim clips, and more came from our friends at Classic Industries.
If the question is “What has independent suspension all around, tons of horsepower, impeccable fit and finish, and is Ferrari Red?” We'll give you a hint. The answer won't be found in Italy. Check out streetrodder.comfor more on our 1959 Impala and the 2014 Road Tour.
1. Looking like it was dipped in lipstick, Hot Rods by Dean has our AMSOIL/Street Rodder 1959 Chevrolet closer to being Road Tour ready.
2. This view gives one a sense of how big a 1959 Chevy is. Our 1959 Impala was reasonably solid and was sans engine, trans, and some big pieces of glass.
3. Rusted areas were cut far enough away to get into solid sheetmetal so a patch could be welded in place. Most of the damaged areas were small.
4. On the other hand some damage, like this hole in the front fender, were more extensive.
5. Sean Rosic of Hot Rods by Dean began stripping paint off the large, flat portions of the body with a dual-action sander, the remainder of the Chevy's curvaceous sheetmetal was media blasted.
6. In the case of this front fender a considerable portion was cut away.