Readers Rides

Care For Your Impala

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By Mark Weisseg

I looked closely at this picture and if you do you will see it has some issues. I always worry when I see a bungee cord holding the hood down. But, I like these cars and really do not see that many around.

There is a guy that shows up at our car cruise that has one with a factory 396 and 4 speed. It’s a plain Jane car and has a slight rumble to it. I really like the car and told him so. Of course the back story like so many cars we see today of these types of cars is that a family member had one in the day and now he had to have it. I understand that way of thinking because I have one like that but I can also tell you my ride to vacation bible school back in the 60’s was a Rambler four door. It had the speedometer that instead of 10,20′ 30′ 40 and so on the speedometer had numbers like 1,2,3,4 and so on. It was a weird shaped car and I rarely see them anymore anywhere for good reason.

But the Chevrolet was cool in its day and still is. From a six cylinder with a power glide and engines like the 307, 327, and so on up to a 396. Big seats, great ride, and now a true classic. If you can get one I encourage you to buy it.

But I wanted to share a story about a Impala that my brother and I ruined. We were young and foolish at the time, so never repeat what we did below.
It was a car sitting out in our field at work for a long time. One day we were bored and slow at work so we went out to see if it would start. It did start and that was about all that did. The frame was bad, the body was rusted badly and the interior was in shambles. So, being young and full of bad ideas we decided to blow it up. No, not with TNT, but we put a large rock on the gas pedal and ran to a safe distance. We figured we would blow up the engine in a matter of minutes because it had a slight knock in the lower end of the engine.

As we stood at a safe distance the engine roared at full throttle and was smoking blue out of the exhaust. Any minute we expected a loud boom and thought we would see pistons blasting through the block. We waited, and we waited, and we waited. Nothing happened other than this bad engine was racing at full throttle. Now, we thought we might run out of gas before anything funny happened. We started questioning if we should halt our experiment but nobody had the guts to run up to the car and take that rock off the gas pedal. Over thirty minutes later we heard a very small pop noise and the engine slowly wound down and just quit. No big boom, no fire, no big smoke, just an engine that just slowly slowed down and quit. We were certainly bummed out as we were sure it would explode we would all enjoy the show.

We walked away impressed that this little Chevy engine that was abused and ignored and towed here to die just would not give up the ghost.
We were impressed then and I assure you we are still impressed with these mid level Chevys. If you find one, buy it and restore it.
It has stood the test of time and the foolishness of two young whipper snappers.

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