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1968 Chevy Impala - Made To Order Muscle

Speed Was Just An Option Box Away

Photography by Steve Reyes

Motion...The mere word conjures up images of fluid movement, wind through the hair, and freedom. For die-hard Chevy enthusiasts, "Motion" means power and scarcity, as well. And for Jim Kopersiewich of St. Constant, Quebec, Canada, he knows these traits first hand.

Jim is one of the lucky few that has been able to latch onto, although quite by chance, one of Baldwin-Motion's Fantastic Five super cars. When Jim found his '68 Impala in Ontario, Canada, way back in 1993, he was not on a quest to uncover a legendary musclecar; he merely wanted a project to help him pass the time during the long Canadian winters. What he found was a well-optioned Impala that took some imagination to see its potential. Rust had infected the floors and the quarters, the body was in primer, and a big-block and four-speed were out of the car. But all the parts were there and the original interior was mint, with the exception of the headliner and package tray.

The engine and trans were determined to be the originals, and upon closer inspection, Jim could barely make out some faded Baldwin-Motion decals. With a little more research, he found that this Impala was indeed a factory L72 427/425 horse SS427, built by Motion Performance, and sold through Baldwin Chevrolet in Long Island, New York. In comparison to the Baldwin-Motion's better known Camaros, Novas, and Chevelles, the Impalas and Biscaynes were a walk in the park for the dealer. Instead of ordering a car and transplanting a 427 in it at the dealership, they were able to check the order box and have the assembly line workers do it for them. Then it was just a matter of personalizing the car to the buyer's tastes with some performance add-ons and upgrades.

Jim's first step in the restoration process was to enlist the help of his friend, Mario LeBlanc. LeBlanc jumped in and took on the task of rebuilding the drivetrain back to its glory days. He sent the engine out to R.M. Motor in Montreal for some machine work, and once it returned, LeBlanc reassembled the short-block with the stock steel crank and connecting rods, TRW 11.25:1 pistons, and a Crane CC-290 solid lifter cam. The factory, rectangular-port, closed-chamber heads were treated to a minor clean-up and bolted on along with the factory aluminum, high-rise intake. In order to retain a stock appearance, but boost the spark, an electronic conversion from Mallory was installed inside the stock distributor. Spent gases exit out Hooker 2-inch headers and through a 3-inch dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers. With the engine complete, LeBlanc restored the rest of the chassis to as-new condition.

New floorpans and quarter panels replaced the body's cancerous pieces before it was straightened and blocked to perfection. The body was then coated with a DuPont basecoat/clearcoat in its original H-code Grecian Green, and all the brightwork was cleaned up or rechromed. To get the interior road ready, all LeBlanc had to do was replace the headliner and package tray.

With the restoration finished, the Impala now has a much more pampered life than it ever did when new. Jim is careful to save it for pleasant-weather drives with his wife, Josee, and their two-year-old son, Jeremy, who, with any luck, will get the keys to this piece of automotive history.

FACTORY OPTIONS
Z24 SS427 PACKAGE
L72 427 CI V-8 / 425 HORSEPOWER
M21 CLOSE RATIO 4-SPEED TRANSMISSION
G80 POSITRACTION THIRD MEMBER WITH 4.10:1 GEARS
F41 SPORT SUSPENSION
J52 POWER ASSIST FRONT DISC BRAKES
U14 SPECIAL INSTRUMENTATION
  (6,000 RPM TACH)
A51 BUCKET SEATS AND CONSOLE
N33 TILT STEERING
N34 SPORT STEERING WHEEL
U63 PUSH BUTTON AM RADIO
U73 REAR MOUNTED ANTENNA
C08 BLACK VINYL ROOF COVER
V31 FRONT BUMPER GUARDS
V32 REAR BUMPER GUARDS

Baldwin-Motion Modifications:* American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels (15x4.5 front, 15x7 rear)* Mickey Thompson Indy Profile G60x15 rear tires* Sun tach and gauges* Hooker headers* Hurst shifter* Holley 850 cfm carburetor* Harland Sharp roller rockers* Lakewood scattershield

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