In an age where car designs can easily hang around for a decade, it’s hard to imagine an automaker turning out jaw-dropping but completely different styling five years in a row.
Between 1955 and 1960, Chevrolet did just that and, over time, each model has climbed the ranks to become an exalted American classic. The 1959 Impala is one of the most sought after cars of Detroit’s golden era, and examples like this professionally restored convertible are great reminders why. There’s absolutely nothing like it in dealer showrooms. It’s an iconic package that includes a correct Turbo Thrust V8, a correct Powerglide transmission and a sizzling black on red color scheme that’s guaranteed to turn heads. And every one of its parts is solid and ready to cruise. Want to get your name engraved on a few trophies? Get to know this awesome Chevy drop-top!
Longer, lower and wider were predominant buzzwords in the late ‘50s, and Impala marketing touted all three. The car’s roofline was lower, its chassis wider and fins that once grew upward now extended rearward. With that in mind, there’s a lot of metal to contend with on these cars during the restoration process. And there’s also a lot of continuous lines, meaning getting that metal right is especially important. The beneficiary of a frame-off restoration, which refurbished a roster of original trim parts, this classic Impala is a top-notch cruiser that makes no excuses. When you walk up to the car, the first attribute you’ll notice is a spectacular coat of Onyx Black urethane, which has been massaged and buffed to a fantastic shine. Take a longer look at its solid flanks and you’ll see large and highly detailed panels, which create a near seamless profile. And when you study this Chevy for an extended period of time, it becomes very apparent that whoever performed its restoration knew exactly what they were doing. There’s no filler, no hacked-up patches and the car’s straight body presents a virtually perfect silhouette that highlights everything great about optimistic American design!
Lift this Chevy’s long hood and you’ll find a 348 cubic inch Turbo Thrust V8 that’s branded with a correct 3755011 casting number, stated with a May (E) of 1959 (59) casting date and detailed with a correct “G” suffix stamp. A staple of working-class luxury, this sturdy 250 horsepower big block is one of the many reasons the Impala model enjoys fantastic name recognition. And absolutely every item, from its thick coat of Chevy Orange paint to its unique, bowtie-branded valve covers, has at one point been rebuilt, refinished or replaced. At the top of the bright block, a Satin Black, single-snorkel air cleaner funnels wind in to a big Rochester carburetor. At the sides of the block, restored exhaust manifolds allow oversquare cylinders ample breathing room by pushing spent gases through correct, true-dual pipes. At the back of the block, a traditional points distributor shoots fire through fresh Radio GM plug wires. Cooling is provided by a beefy Harrison radiator, which circulates water through a series of pliable hoses. Charge comes courtesy of a Delco yellow cap battery, which jolts a tagged Delco-Remy generator. All the right details, including a stainless fuel line, correct decals and a rebuilt brake booster, have been fitted between standard silver hinges. And the car’s Satin Black engine bay serves as an ideal backdrop for the engine’s many different textures.
Park this topless full-size on a lift and you’ll find a solid undercarriage that’s hardly seen any road time at all. The car’s straight floorpans are covered in a traditional coat of Oxide Red primer, which perfectly contrasts its Satin Black X-frame. A rugged Powerglide transmission, which hangs a correct 3742349 casting number above a May (E) 26th (26) 1959 (9) casting date, spins a beefy GM drop-out that literally sails the engine through its power band. Under that capable drivetrain, a completely rebuilt suspension is equipped with factory power steering, which makes turns easy, and power drum brakes that successfully counter torque. At the center of the floors, a stainless, true-dual exhaust system utilizes correct turbo mufflers to weave an aggressive, full-throttle rumble into a subdued and classy idle. At the corners of the chassis, great looking 8.00-14 BF Goodrich Silvertown whitewalls frame fresh NOS hubcaps. And everything, from this Chevy’s stiff shocks to its shiny fuel tank, is fully sorted and ready to hit the pavement.
And the car’s luxurious interior is every bit as welcoming now as it was when new.
Stylistically, there’s a lot to admire about this Impala’s interior and, best of all, it’s just as great to use as it is to look at. At ground level, Fisher sill plates anchor plush red carpet under thick, rubber floor mats. Firm bench seats wear retro plaid covers that remind us of family picnics. In contrast to the exterior of the car, the stainless-trimmed dash dons an even coat of Roman Red paint; playing host to factory instrumentation, a correct radio and chrome accessory pulls. In front of the driver, a traditional Impala steering wheel spins speed-drilled spokes around a storied cross-flag emblem. At the sides of the car, expressive door panels found simple exit handles beside factory power windows. And behind the passengers, a cavernous trunk features a correct jack, a full-size spare tire and fresh mats.
This highly polished cruiser is an all-American piece of jet age magic that’s ready to be shown and celebrated. With its sturdy 348/Powerglide drivetrain, reliability won’t be an issue.