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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Old Friends Reunited: The Wild Story Behind A Chevrolet Purchase

streetmusclemag.com
Article thanks to Roger Jetter and streetmusclemag.com. Links provided:

Oct, 2016  One of the cars that caught our attention at the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals in Pueblo, Colorado was Denny Jorgensen’s 1963 Chevy Impala from nearby Ft. Collins. The stories of how cars are acquired, and built, are sometimes more entertaining than the best movies … such is the case with Denny’s Impala.

Denny grew up in Guthrie Center, Iowa. In 1964, he dropped out of college, wanted to do something other than farm; being a farmer just wasn’t for him. He wanted to be where the car action was. One lazy afternoon he passed the local Chevy dealer and parked out front was a green 1963 409 SS Impala.
When he got home he talked to his folks about purchasing it. His mother told him “If you buy that car, you’ll need to find a place to live. You just quit college, now you want to buy a car? If you do, it’s time for you to move out.”
He bought it and decided to move to California – a shock to his parents – and he loaded the 1963 with his possessions, a few clothes and less money than he had before the purchase. On the way, he decided to see a friend in Ft. Collins for a couple of days before continuing to California.
The Start Of A New Life
Those few days turned into a full-on party, until his money was gone. Fort Collins was a nice small college town and had a lot of car activity. Luckily, the local Mopar dealership needed a new service manager. The Mopar bug got to him after he and his friend attempted to make the 409 faster. The Impala was sold and he bought a new ‘68 Plymouth.
Fast forward to the late ‘80s and a job at “The Car Corral” in Fort Collins, dealing in old Vettes and muscle cars. Denny yearned to see if his old 409 was still alive somewhere in Colorado. He called his sister-in-law at the license plate bureau in Guthrie, Iowa. Her comment was “It’s been over 20 years, the files are probably gone,” but she directed Denny to Des Moines and the DMV ran a title search.
Getting Closer To The Truth
Weeks went by, he’d forgotten about the request until a letter arrived from the Iowa Department of Revenue. In it was a copy of the original title. He immediately sent a title search form to the State of Colorado DMV.
In the mean time he’d taken a new job that involved traveling throughout five states. One day his wife called and said a letter arrived from the state DMV – a guy named Marv owned the car and was still in Colorado. Marv’s address was Grand Lake, Colorado, close to 200 miles away from Ft. Collins and in the Rocky Mountains. A phone number was included.
Denny knew a friend that was going to Grand Lake and asked if he’d find the address. Days later that friend called and said he’d “stopped there and asked about the green 1963 409 Impala.” It had been sold at auction and was taken to Denver to become a low rider.
Denny was asked to call Marv. Several weeks went by with several phone conversations, during which Marv and Denny got to be good friends because of the Chevy. One afternoon Denny’s phone rang.
“When are you going to get this old green car off my lot?” It was Marv.
“Marv, that isn’t funny,” said Denny.
“I know, but I’m tired of looking at it. The old girl is sitting here, come get it!”
The person that bought it had stripped it and left the hulk. The city towed it as an abandoned vehicle. It was scheduled to be crushed but someone did a title search. It was still in Marv’s name, the city called to inform him of storage fees. Marv told them he was no longer the owner. “According to the State of Colorado you are the owner – the title is in your name.” He drove to Denver, paid the hostage fee and hauled it to Granby. Denny drove to Granby but wasn’t prepared for what was left – nothing but the body!
The hulk was trailered home in 1999 and parked at the construction shop where Denny’s wife worked. A donor car was needed. A 1963 Impala SS, located in Fort Collins was spotted in a Thrifty Nickel Want Ad paper. The car was available – interior in it and all the parts needed to get Denny’s Impala on the road to recovery.
Denny had a Muncie 4-speed from his 1962 Vette but the Impala needed an engine. A friend might help, “Don, you have any parts to build a 409″?” His reaction: “Don’t tell me you found your old car.” Fortunately, a 409” was on an engine stand – a 1963 409” dual quad engine, complete from intake to oil pan.
Don said about six months ago a guy from South Dakota called, said he’d heard about the engine and would be down to buy it. Never showed up. “ But, it’s yours now and I want it out of here today.” The next morning the shop opened about 8:30, Don was waiting, he said. “You’ll never guess who was here when I opened – the guy from South Dakota!”
Denny got the engine. His Impala was going to be just like it was back when he’d first purchased it. While in the build process, Denny went to a car show in Fort Morgan, Colorado, and was visiting with a fellow enthusiast from Hugo, Colorado, whom he’d just met.
Denny asked if he remembered a green 1963 409 running around in the late sixties. He asked why? Denny answered that was his first car and had recently gotten it back. “You buy it from Marv up in Granby?” he asked, “We were buddies!” The car world is truly a small world.
A few nights later he called and gave Denny six names and phone numbers. The first name was the guy Denny had sold the Chevrolet to, and the fifth was the guy that sold it to Marv. The sixth name was the guy that had the original transmission for it.
The build was a seven year process, start to finish. There were days Denny didn’t think it was worth it, but it’s a part of history that needs to be preserved. Denny wants to add a special thanks to his wife, Cheryl, for letting him fulfill his dream of putting his old car back on the street again. Denny also thanks John & Joel Cooper of Cooper Auto Body and Pete Christiansen of Total Precision Engines for their help.
Denny recently debuted his 409 cubic-inch 1963 Chevy and plans on having as much fun with it now as he did all those years ago.



1 comment:

  1. This is really great article, I really like your blog. Thank you very much for the share. Keep posting.

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