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Saturday, January 7, 2017

In A World Of Change, This Impala Stays The Same

streetmusclemag.com
Article thanks to Kyler Lacey and streetmusclemag.com. Links provided:

Check this original '62 out! I had one in the late 1960's, 327 inch motor and a factory 4-speed. It was a great car.

Nov, 2016  Joe Clotfelter of Poulsbo, Washington, is the owner of this stunning 1962 Impala. “I was at Goodguys event once, and a lady came up and asked me who restored my car. I replied, ‘nobody, it’s just original’.” This car has never been repainted, and the rustless body is completely original. It’s never been taken apart, it’s never been in an accident, and it still has the original windshield between the a-pillars. Although it has received required maintenance and some changes, it largely remains as it was the day it showed up at the dealer lot.
There is more about Joe and his car that makes this story so cool. This isn’t just a beautiful, original 1962 Impala that he recently acquired. Joe actually bought this car way back in 1968, when it was a mere six years old. That makes this his first “real” car, as Joe explained. “I had some ’57 Chevy junkers before this, but this is my first real car. I found it on a used car lot in Bremerton, Washington.”
My car back in Milwaukee

He drove the heck out of it after he bought it, because it was all he had to drive. It wasn’t until around 1973, five years after buying the Impala, that he bought something else to replace it as his daily driver. Even after he aquired a newer car to drive every day, he decided to keep his Impala. When he purchased the replacement car in the early seventies, the Impala’s value just didn’t warrant unloading the decade old ride. “I probably couldn’t have gotten $1,500 for it,” he explained. “It was worth more than that to me.”
“While I was raising a family and working, the car stuff kind of got put on the back burner,” Joe said. He found a nice, dry place to keep the car, and put it away for a while. His intentions were always to pull it out someday and fix it up. Finally, in the late ’90s, he felt it was time to revisit the area behind the steering wheel of the Impala.
The Impala lived in many different places during the course of the two decades or so that it resided in storage. During that time, he had to move it every couple of years. “With having kids and not having money to fix it up, I’d store it with whoever had a place for it,” Joe detailed. So when it got in the way, he would have to find it another temporary home.
The entire time it was in storage, Joe never forgot about it. In some ways, it was still just his old car, but we’re sure it started looking more attractive as the years went by. While time was passing by, he knew the value was going up and it was becoming a much rarer item, as other Impalas of the same vintage rusted away in fields and were crushed at wrecking yards.
streetmusclemag.com

After twenty years of storage, Joe finally had the time and money to get it back on the road. He figured he’d pull it out of storage and put a new paintjob on it. The years in storage had been kind to his old car though. With a twinge of surprise in his voice, he said, “When I got it out of storage, I cleaned it up, and realized that it was so nice, it didn’t even need a paintjob.”
After getting his old car out of hibernation, changing the brakes and wheel bearings, and getting it back on the road, he was ready to put a few miles on it. He drove it until the original 327 cubic-inch engine got tired, so he pulled it out to have it rebuilt. While he was waiting on that to happen, he dropped in a Chevrolet Performance ZZ4 350 cubic-inch crate engine in the car so he could keep driving it.
“I always had the intentions of putting the original engine back in, but it runs so nice, I just left the ZZ4 in it.” Joe continued, “I still have the original engine if I ever decide to go back.” The car itself only has 144,000 miles on the odometer, and with the new engine (and a new front seat cover), it was ready to be driven. “I have had different hotrods and roadsters over the years, and if I can’t drive it across the country, I don’t want it.” he explained.
In the Pacific Northwest, even cars that are stored inside will usually have rust when they are this old. It is a hazard of the area. With Joe’s car though, it is surprisingy just as solid as the day it was built. “What amazes me is that everything just works,” Joe said.
Joe made sure that we know he drive’s his car – a lot. He has driven it to Arizona seven or eight times, and plans on driving it to Texas, for the Lone Star Roundup next year. He takes it to car shows during the summer and uses it the way it was meant to be used. He takes good car of it, stores it in a nice garage, and doesn’t see himself changing anything else on it.
Joe has a hard time pointing out a single thing about the car that stands out. “It speaks for itself,” he said. “It’s such a cool thing. It’s comfortable and it drives great.” In other words, it’s just a good, straightforward, old Impala, and that is part of what makes Joe like it so much. It has power steering, a radio, and a heater, but that’s about it as far as options go. It you want cool air, you better roll down the windows.
Joe had a smile on his face as he said, “You know, when I get in that car and I’m driving down the road looking through the windshield, it’s like I’m eighteen years old again.” This is the car that he was driving back when he started dating his wife. What he once held on to because he knew he couldn’t sell it for more than $1,500, has become a priceless artifact of his past that he would never let go of—it doesn’t hurt that it’s also a badass Impala.

http://www.streetmusclemag.com/features/car-features/keeping-it-simple



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