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1962 Chevy Impala SS - First Impressions

Sometimes It's What's Below The Surface

Kevin Lee Feb 1, 2002
Sucp_0202_01_z 1962_chevy_impala_ss Front_view 2/5

We never know what's going to catch our attention when walking the various shows we attend each ear. Sometimes it can be unadulterated power; other times it can be pure simplicity.

When we first got a glimpse of the front end of the Impala pictured here, we immediately noticed the unusual color and raised cowl hood. As we got closer and got a look at the traditional five-spoke front wheels, we figured that we had stumbled upon a sleek street cruiser. As the entire car came into view and we noticed the large meats stuffed within the stock quarters, the parachute hanging off the rear bumper, and then the cage intertwined within the otherwise stock-appearing bucket seat interior, we questioned whether this was going to be just another Pro Street poser.

Our doubts were put to rest as soon as we located Larry Radford, the man responsible for the Impala. He obliged us and opened the hood, which revealed a sanitary but ready-for-business-looking small-block. A flick of the ignition key awakened the beast and it didn't sound happy. The worked-over '70 LT1 350 sounded about as mean as a small-block can.

Larry has owned the Impala since 1984, when he rescued it from being an abused lowrider basket case. After a couple of incarnations, he rebuilt it into a fun street bruiser with a highly modified 327 backed by a Powerglide (replete with a 4,000-rpm stall converter) and 4.88:1-geared Posi spinning 10-inch tires.

Since the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, it's no wonder that Randy's son is also into cars. In fact, he built a Pro Street Chevelle that won its class at the '00 Grand National Roadster show. Not one to be upstaged, Randy decided to tweak the Impala and make a run for the award the following year.

The Impala got a new drivetrain and a new attitude just in time to compete at the '01 show, where it backed up the family's win with another First Place in the same Pro Street class. Now that Larry has racked up a few awards, he fully intends to take the Impala out to the track and flex its muscle with some 10-second passes, hoping to bring back the days when he raced gassers in the mid-'60s. Definitely some show and go.

Larry Radford, Danville, CA

'62 Impala SS

'70 LT1 350 short-block with a Crane mechanical roller cam and JE 12.5:1 pistons topped with a set of ported-and-polished Brodix Track 1 aluminum heads and HV1002 intake with a Holley model 4150 1,000-cfm carb. 525 hp at 7,800 rpm normally aspirated with an optional 200hp NOS spray.

Hooker 1 7/8-inch headers and Spintec 4-inch oval NASCAR pipes and single-chamber mufflers

Turbo 400 with a reverse manual valve body, trans brake, and TiJi Boys 8-inch 5,800-stall converter

(F) Rebuilt stock with Moroso race springs, Koni SPA-1 drag shocks, and Chevelle 10-inch disc brakes
(R) Mark Williams aluminum 9-inch with a 4.56:1 spool and 35-spline axles, Wilwood 11-inch four-piston disc brakes, Performance Fabrication (San Carlos, CA) custom four-link with Koni adjustable coilovers

Original interior restored with Harmon's kit by Sure-Fit Auto Upholstery (San Leandro, CA), Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges, Grant wheel, B&M Pro Stick shifter, 12-point cage installed by Performance Fabrication

VHN fiberglass 4-inch cowl hood, bumpers and trunk lid, DuPont Chroma-base Laurel Metalic Green by Larry Fenton at The Race Shop (Brentwood, CA)

American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs (15x3.5 with 1.75 bs and 15x14 with 4.5 bs)

Mickey Thompson DOT Sportsman Pros (28x7.5 and 31x18.5)



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