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1958 Chevy Impala - Still The One

An Ever-Evolving Impala

Kevin Lee Jun 1, 2002

Every car nut has that one special vehicle: the one that has fueled the fire for many years and still continues to cruise through many a daydream. Richard Mitchell of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, has long known what his dream car is, and he says "The '58 Impala has been my favorite big Chevy ever since the day they first appeared at the dealership."

But it wasn't until almost 20 years after his admiration of the Impala began that Richard found his low-mileage dream car with some light damage to the right side sheetmetal. He spent the next seven years hunting and buying every N.O.S. piece he could find for an eventual total rebuild. Once all the parts were collected, Richard wasted no time and spent all of his spare hours and minutes for three months transforming the originally black Impala into his mild custom dream car. Before he laid down a slick coat of turquoise paint, he shaved the door handles, hood and deck lid. Once the paint was dry, and he had dropped the '58 3 inches on both ends, Richard added a homemade tube grille and bolted on a set of American wheels. The original 60K-mile 283 small-block ran perfectly, so Richard decided to just dress it up with a "three-deuce" intake and a dual exhaust system. The time warp was complete with a fresh set of white rolls and pleats for the interior.

Richard's '58 was first finished in 1983, and then it was driven extensively for 12 years with absolutely no problems. By 1995, after all those years of enjoyment, Richard decided it was time for a color change and also a good time to "freshen up a few things." Before you knew it, the Impala was again completely disassembled, this time with the body off the frame.

After the bare chassis was given a good scrub and shine, Richard dropped in a self-built 350/350 combo that consists of a '79 block with 2.02 heads, a Summit cam, and an Offenhauser manifold with three Holly two-barrels on top, backed up by a low-mileage Turbo 350 transmission.

On the exterior Richard left all of his previous customizing intact, but jumped to the completely opposite side of the color wheel from the previous cool blue-turquoise to a self-squirted coating of eye-popping Orange to give his Impala a whole new personality. The timeless good looks of American five-spokes were again used, this time with a set of fully polished Torq Thrust IIs that have been wrapped in "big 'n' little" Kelley rubber.

The interior has remained familiar with white Naugahyde rolls and pleats by Seat Cover King in Springfield, Ohio, covering the factory seats and door panels. The cabin has been brought up-to-date with a Naiser "Trilite" steering wheel and a trio of Auto Meter gauges to keep an eye on the vitals.

After so many years together, Richard still enjoys tinkering on his Impala and driving it as often as possible. Plans for the future include a four-deuce-equipped 348 mill backed by a manual four-speed transmission. We are always happy to see a guy who has found his dream car, and it's even better when he continues to find inspiration in his familiar friend.

Richard Mitchell
Mechanicsburg, OH

'58 Impala
350ci V-8
Turbo 350 automatic
Rebuilt with 3-inch cut coils front & rear
15x7 American Racing Torq Thrust Iis

Front 195/60 R15 Kelley
Rear 215/60 R15 Kelley
DuPont Chroma Orange



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