If you're anything like us, you didn't become a car guy overnight. You probably grew up around cars, and they've been a part of your life since childhood. A true passion for classic cars often begins while wrenching in the garage with Dad, cruising the streets with your best friends, or blasting down the drag strip on weekends. Then, over many years, it becomes an integral part of who you are.
The term "survivor" invokes images of doing battle and coming out unscathed, against all the odds. Similarly, when applied to a classic car, the term "survivor" indicates a vehicle that has endured the passing of many miles and decades in near-untouched factory condition. These unlikely survivors still look brand-new, without the aid of extensive restoration work.
Here at Classic Industries, we love sleeper vehicle builds—even the name evokes mystery. Much like a sleeper cell of operatives that infiltrates a bigger group, waiting for the right time to strike, sleeper cars are perfect for hiding in plain sight. The dented beater that rolls up to you at a stop light might just blast by you with tires ablaze when you least expect it. This unexpected characteristic never fails to keep things interesting.
The Chevrolet Impala arrived in 1958 as an upscale alternative to the Bel Air, creating a more competitive mid-price ride with a sporty demeanor. With its cool crossed checkered flags and distinctive silhouette, the Impala quickly became Chevrolet's widely recognized flagship nameplate. Those old enough to remember the era understand '58 was a standalone model year, styling-wise, with a new X-frame chassis underneath that would remain a GM mainstay through 1964.
The all-new '59 Impala's futuristic styling completely eclipsed everything in the marketplace. This model's overwhelming presence made it an awe-inspiring mode of transportation. So, it made perfect sense to take a '59 Impala two-door hardtop and give it an incredible makeover.
Although there's nothing wrong with leaving your restoration project in the hands of qualified professionals at a trusted shop, there's something truly special about doing all the labor yourself. After countless hours of turning wrenches, and many late nights in the garage, you end up having personal knowledge of every last nut and bolt on your car.
This was the case for Larry Richards, of Seal Beach, California, who recently stopped by the Classic Industries showroom with his 1956 Chevy Bel Air. Larry restored this classic Chevy himself over the last five years, with some assistance from his friends on occasion. It features a 383ci stroker small-block V8 paired with a 700R4 automatic transmission. Disc brakes are visible through the windows of its chrome American Racing five-spoke wheels. We appreciate its vintage green and white two-tone paint, and abundance of intricately polished chrome accents.
One of our favorite qualities of classic cars is the history and sentimental value they carry. The 1970 Chevy Nova seen here is no exception. Jim Turner, of Van Nuys, California, drove out with his best friend to purchase the car over 30 years ago. Sadly, his friend was killed in a motorcycle accident a year later, but this tragedy brought Jim closer to his friend's family. Soon enough, Jim had married his best friend's sister, and the pair decided to hold onto the Nova and the memories that went along with it.
When Jim pulled into our showroom parking lot in the silver and black SS, we knew we had to get a closer look. The car has been beautifully maintained and restored inside and out, thanks to the addition of a few parts from Classic Industries and plenty of elbow grease. Jim cares deeply about this car, and it shows.
If you've ever restored a car, you know that setting an accurate timeline for the project can be a difficult task. Everyone starts out ambitious, excited, and ready to complete the build as soon as possible. Then, nine times out of ten, life gets in the way. Often, the car gets rolled into a garage or covered up, not to see the light of day for years at a time. Occasionally, projects are completely forgotten, left to rust and be resurrected as barn finds years later.