ROGER’S FINE ‘59

My love for the 1959 Chevy Impala convertible started while on leave from the US Air Force in 1964.  I saw a beautiful black ’59 Impala convertible parked along the street in my hometown while visiting my folks and fell in love with it.  The next time I returned home, I saw that same car for sale in a used car lot, and I just had to have it.  The asking price for the car was $800.  Since I only had half that amount, I borrowed the rest from my Dad.  I drove that car for the next three years until circumstances forced me to sell it.  Around 1980, I was in a position to start the search for another ’59 Chevy Impala convertible.  I first tried to locate my old car for about one year but each time I came up short.

I found my present car in South Carolina in 1983 through an ad in the paper.  The owner called his large car collection “Chevy Heaven” and that is all he had, old Chevys everywhere.  The ’59 Impala convertible I was interested in did not have a very good trunk floor so the owner took his torch, cut a trunk from another old ‘59 and slid it into my car.  He also gave me copies of the titles from the three previous owners.  I signed the needed paperwork making me the fourth owner of the car and up Interstate 95 I drove.  It was a two-day trip (for what should have been eight hours) because the generator did not work and had to run from a charged battery alone.  At dusk, I stopped for the night, charged the battery and started fresh in the morning.  The car was in really bad shape but even in that condition, people tried to buy it from me on my trip home.

That car stayed under cover for years and then in an old shed until about 2006 when I retired.  I built a 30 x 40 x 15-foot steel building with a portable lift just for this project.  From the beginning of disassembly to a completely restored frame-up show car, it took me 8 ½ years.  There were not many days that went by that I did not work on the car in my shop.  My wife, Lucy, sure had her doubts that I would ever complete such a large project.  There were many times that I had to ask her, my son, Roger, my neighbor, David, or my brother, Butch, for a little help when needed.  The disassembly, repairs, body work, welding, and reassembly were all done by me in my shop with help from my friends as needed.  The only major items farmed out were the painting, upholstery, powder coating, 283 engine rebuild, power glide transmission rebuild, rear end rebuild, and the stainless polishing.   The car paint is a three-stage candy apple red paint from PPG, and it has a custom black leather interior, is lowered two inches all around, has a custom dual 2” stainless steel exhaust system with MagnaFlow mufflers, power brakes with disc up front, 18” Billet Specialties wheels, 11 ½” wide tires on the rear, and 8 ½” tires on the front. 

When the car was completed, I became a member of the Heart of Maryland Classic Chevy Club.  The car’s first show was in June of 2016, and it earned a six-foot tall trophy for “Best In Show”.  How fortunate I was to have a convertible to transfer that tall trophy from the show to my home.  By the end of the year, I had driven the car more than 2,000 miles and was presented with an additional 25 trophies and awards, to include thirteen more “Best In Show” and a “Best Paint” award at the 2016 East Coast Indoor Nationals in Timonium, MD.  

I would like to thank my wife for her patience, Roger at Final Touch Powder Coating, Frank at Dawg House Classics for painting, Robert at Main Street Upholstery, George at Maryland Performance for engine work and exhaust fabrication, Don at Brass & Copper Polishing, and the rest of my family and friends who gave their time to assist in making this awesome project a reality.

 

Story by Roger Blanchard

Adamstown, MD