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1962 Chevy Impala - The Black Mariah

A Black-On-Black Smoothie '62 From The Lone Star State

Bob McClurg Oct 1, 2000
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Each and every year the Waco Mini Nationals (held Memorial Day weekend in Waco, Texas) attracts some of the best street machines throughout the Southwest. This year was definitely no exception. Right at the top of that list at the 25th Anniversary edition of the Mini Nats was this '62 Chevrolet Impala "smoothie" owned by Bubba and Pam Yates of Pasadena, Texas. It flat bowled 'em over at Waco.

This beauty is so slick that it looks like it's going 200 mph just standing still. Of course, a lot of that has to do with extensive dechroming, and the flawless Scott Schneckloth bodywork topped with multiple coats of Raven Black PPG paint. And then there are those awesome, yet extremely subtle, Rodney Hutcherson-applied airbrush graphics. Wow!

Of course, achieving the right stance also had a lot to do with the overall scheme of things. Riding underneath Yates' Impala is an Air Ride Technologies air bag suspension system along with a pair of TCI 2-inch dropped front spindles. The car is so low that it's capable of mowing down cockroaches at a deadly pace. You also can't ignore that huge set of "jalonies" stuffed inside the Impala's front and rear fenderwells. Up front you'll find a pair of 18-inch Budnik "Tillers" riding on 255/40ZR18 Michelin Pilot radial tires. And out back you'll find a larger-than-life pair of matching 20-inch Budnik Tillers running on 245/40xZR20 Michelin Pilots. Each and every suspension component was selected to contribute to that low 'n' lean look. Of course, pushing that much rubber around required some modifications to the Impala's power steering, which has been upgraded with a Mullins power steering kit.

But is this Impala all show and no go? Hardly! Lurking beneath its hood is a '67-vintage 396 big-block equipped with 10.5:1 Federal Mogul pistons and a Competition Cams hydraulic camshaft. Also along for the ride are billet pulleys from March Performance and a factory Chevy Tri-power intake sporting a Hutcherson-painted factory Tri-power air cleaner. You'll also notice a set of GM Performance Parts aluminum valve covers, HEI ignition, and a Flowmaster exhaust. Backing it all up is a Muncie four-speed utilizing an 11-inch clutch and a factory GM shifter and linkage.

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Once the Yates' had the look, the ride, and the power, they looked to add a little creature comfort. On the inside you'll find classic black vinyl Year One reproduction upholstery along with a Vintage Air climate control system and a Budnik billet-aluminum steering wheel. You may also notice that this Impala is devoid of the factory vent windows, further streamlining its overall appearance. Credit Jimmy Zieger at Southwestern Glass for that one.

In all it took four years, along with a sizeable monetary investment, to build this car. The results are impressive to say the least-a sweet Impala that has it all (smoothly) together.



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