• 1967 Chevrolet Impala

Eye Candy: 1967 Chevrolet Impala

Buried in snow at a Fenelon Falls gas station in 1979, Cliff Taylor's ’67 Chevy Impala has had many upgrades over the years to keep it running smooth and looking great.

Avatar By: toronto star March 7, 2018

Cliff Taylor: Wheels Reader

Occupation: Retired

The Car: 1967 Chevrolet Impala

My friend, Ed Crooks, dug this car out of a pile of snow at a Sunoco service station in Fenelon Falls and showed up with it at the Green + Ross Tire Store I managed in Oshawa. Buying it for $225 with 60,219 miles on it in 1979 was a good decision.

Built at GM in Oshawa, it was originally shipped to Regina Motor Products, in Saskatchewan. That year, 11,631 models of my Impala were made.

I loved the two-door hardtop roofline and realized its 1967 Centennial year connection could one day reflect an added value. Now 38 years later, it’s been appraised at $48,000.

I bought new fenders, inner fender wells and a hood. Maaco Auto Body in Oshawa put it all together with a fresh coat of Marina Blue paint.

Later, I reinforced the frame under the driver and passenger foot wells, mounted a bumper trailer hitch and my bride, Giselle, and I went on our Maritime honeymoon, towing a camping trailer. Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail made for a wonderful trip and memorable honeymoon.

In 1985, Brian Owens, who had worked for me as a mechanic, called about a 1968 Chev station wagon headed to an auto wrecker. He figured I could use its solid California frame and disc brakes on my Impala. Paying a mere $35, I had it towed to my tire shop.

1967 Chevrolet Impala

My father, Cliff Sr., helped me remove the body mounts that weekend, and on Monday, a tow truck lifted it off the frame. The chassis was dismantled and its components were acid dipped, stripped and had a fresh coat of epoxy enamel applied at Redi-Strip in Brampton.

Over the winter, I assembled all the shiny, new frame parts. The scariest job was cutting the metal bands after putting the front springs between the control arms. They sprang into place with a jarring force that left me trembling for hours.

The old running gear was removed at Jay’s Autobody in Oshawa, and the new one went in. The car was repainted in a 1968 Corvette blue colour, slightly darker than the original Marina Blue, and the new disc brakes required 15-inch Corvette wheels.

The 283 cubic-inch engine was rebuilt, giving me 220 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The two-speed power glide was replaced with a TH350 three-speed transmission.

A few years later, my friend, Eric Carstenson, a body man, replaced the rear quarter panels with new ones. The rusted area below the windshield was patched with body filler, to be repaired years later.

I made many trips for parts. Carlisle and Hershey, Penn., were popular destinations, and I’d always come home with something from the Barrie Flea Market, when it just featured car stuff.

1967 Chevrolet Impala

A variety of improvements were done at Oshawa businesses from 1986 to 2012; the interior by Citation Trim and Glass Works, seat repairs by Larry’s Auto Trim and Trim Tech Interiors, owned by Larry’s son, Jason.

In 2003, Don Butt Auto Body began a major exterior restoration and the engine was removed and detailed. By 2015, Exceltec Auto Services in Markham replaced the old motor with a 350 Chevy crate engine, and the next year, an Edlebrock 1405 carburetor improved gas mileage.

I also had a RetroSound Model 2 radio with USB and Bluetooth put in. The amp in the trunk gives the car a big boost in sound.

Last year, Exceltec replaced the brake lines with stainless-steel ones, installed new rear wheel cylinders, a chrome master cylinder and a Classic Auto Air conditioning system. Now it is a cool car.

It’s a pleasure to drive, and you don’t see many ’67 Impalas at car shows. My father used to give me $100 for my birthday, and one year, I put it toward personalized plates — 67 PLUS — that reflect the fact the body is a ’67 and the frame is a ’68.

My Impala and I have been regulars at my favourite car event, Oshawa’s Autofest, and now that I am retired, I just might do some more cruising.

1967 Chevrolet Impala

Show us your candy: Got a cool custom or vintage car? Send us high-res pictures (at least 1 MB, and horizontal shots are best) of you and your family or friends with your beauty, and your story. We like photos — the more the better — of the interior, trim, wheels, emblems. Email wheels@thestar.ca and type ‘Eye Candy’ in the subject line. Google ‘Wheels.ca Eye Candy’ to see classic cars featured in the past.

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