It took a while but we finally rounded up the 2015 Detroit Autorama Don Ridler Memorial Award winning 1965 Chevy Impala SS belonging to Don Voth of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Designed and built by Chip Foose it’s an impressive exercise in creativity and ingenuity blending a ’65 Impala and a 2008 Corvette (hence the name Impostor).
This 1965 Chevy Impala is not what it appears the theme for this build is the concept of what if Chevrolets Corvette studio modeled a muscle car in 1965 as well as the two-seater sporty car that is an American icon. The Imposter is not the original cruiser it once was but something that may have surfaced from the Chevrolet Division—Corvette. The Corvette is stretched 7-5/8 inches and wrapped up in a 14 inches shorter body.
Let's begin with the bumpers that are handmade, as is so much of this hot rod, and fitted and tucked neatly into the body. The roof is 1-1/4 inches lower and 8 inches shorter and in so doing the windshield is laidback 2-1/2 inches while the decklid is 7 inches shorter. Another is more distinctive on a second generation Corvette than the twin round taillights. Reminiscent of possibly a ‘50s Pontiac taillight these Corvette units are distinctive and often used or copied. Note there are three while no factory Corvette came out with three, but rather two, the triple taillight treatment was a popular custom treatment back in the day. The Impala-Corvette taillights feature custom-built bezels to hold the lenses in place.
Onto one of the many sheetmetal mods: The rear wheel wells are raised 2 inches and pull forward 7 inches. This necessitated handmade steel quarter panel extensions that are welded in place eliminating the original pot metal pieces. Finishing out the rear sheetmetal the factory decklid now extends down an additional 2 inches to fit the bumper eliminating the stock aluminum trim above the bumper. The rear bumper is much narrower and handmade to feel more like mid-year Corvette styling. The lower rear body extends under the bumper all the way to the wheel arches for a continued bellypan across the bottom of the car. While they are called waste gates, sometimes these openings are referred to as “ducts”, that were added to the front fender to pick up Corvette styling cues. Mesh and chrome accents add to the styling details.
The side glass is prototyped and built with curves to fit its new application and tempered to last in the real world when the time comes to cruise down the highway. Individual compartments allow storage trays behind the twin Corvette bucket seats hold the removable quarter glass for an open-hard-top theme.
The interior, while using numerous items from a C6, still was hand sculpted in clay mold with carbon fiber and epoxy parts and leather wrap to fit inside the custom body. The new interior maintains a few of the cool details of the Impala interior for a nice blend of both cars and eras. The front and mimics the egg crate grills of midyear Corvettes and carries the headlamps and custom built aluminum buckets that are bolted to a hand fabricated core support.
Congratulations to Don and Elma Voth of Canada for taking home the Don Ridler Memorial Award from the 2015 Detroit Autorama but also thanks for sharing with the rest of us an amazing car.
Look for this car to make the rounds and should you find yourself standing alongside a good looking 1965 Chevy Impala…look closely it may be the Impostor.