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1963 Impala - The Taco Factory

Rolls Out a Saucy '63

Dakota Wentz Jul 1, 2006

When it comes to goin' out for food, there's no tellin' what you might find-fingernail disguised as parmesan cheese on spaghetti, a Band-Aid mixed in with some mashed potatoes, or the infamous hair tossed in with a handful of pepperonis on your pizza. The possibilities are endless. The fact of the matter is, there's no way of tellin' what sort of mystery lies in your food endeavors. Take Johnny Romano for instance; what he found at a Denver taco factory was the last thing he thought he'd find in the deck of cards.

Among the stacks of tortillas, cans of refried beans, mounds of beef, and the roach coaches, there laid a dusty silhouette of something resembling an Impala. Upon further inspection, it was clear that Johnny had just unearthed a '63 convertible Impala. Apparently, the car had been sitting there for years, as if someone had abandoned a project in the works. The '63 had been completely gutted. The interior, convertible top, and the motor and trans were all yanked. But the sheetmetal was intact, straight, and rust-free. Johnny rounded up what was left of the Impala and hit the road.

The build was on. Seeing as how there wasn't much there besides a body and suspension, the plan was wide open. Johnny wanted the car to appear stock with a few modern twists. As far as the exterior and interior are concerned, the Impala would stay true to its roots. As for the suspension, the '63 was slammed on the ground with Boyd Coddington Smoothies. In the back sit 20-inch rims, and up front are smaller 17-inch rims to give the Impala the stance Johnny was looking for. Since the drop-top is a rather large sled, he didn't want to be left sitting like a duck in the water. Johnny found a 454, which he figured would provide adequate power-not the case, however. Not being an advocate of the "less is more" theory, he decided he was looking for something a little more. Johnny had Don Spaulding Motors bore out the 454 to a 468. Then, the motor was hopped up with a COMP Cams camshaft, an Edelbrock intake manifold, two Edelbrock 500-cfm carburetors, and more. For now, that setup gets the sled up and running with no complaints.

For the body, Alan Clarks Body Shop put in the time and effort to make the '63 pop. Since the body was intact, all that was in order was to clean up any dents or dings the Impala had picked up over the years. Once the bodywork was all finished, the '63 was ready to roll. It was primed and blocked three times before a drop of paint touched the surface. Why such meticulous work, you ask? Simple-Johnny wanted the Impala black, but not just run-of-the-mill. He wanted the kind of black that was as smooth as glass. Alan Clark sprayed the glass-like PPG Black paint job. Impala Bob's trim was then added. Not bad for car hidden away in a taco factory!



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