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Monday, March 7, 2011

Barn Find: 1958 Chevy Impala stays parked after big block engine swap, tragedy

Barn find 1958 Chevy Impala's restoration was placed on indefinite hold after 427 engine swap woes, then owner's tragic death.
Big engine blues park 1958 Chevrolet Impala. No one is certain if the owner/builder of this barn find Chevy regretted his hot rod engine swap. A decision to stuff a late 1960s 427-cubic inch big block engine under the Cashmere Blue hood wreaked havoc on his Impala's road-worthiness. Continual problems didn't stop the horsepower-hungry owner from holding on to his his full-size Sport Coupe for more than 35 years, despite spending little time driving it on the road. Few neighbors in the owner's Alabama neighborhood have seen the secret classic '58 Impala. 

A complete 1958 Chevy Impala is hiding under years of stored memories.

Sad news
This Impala has spent decades hidden in a storage building and covered by a wilting sheet of plastic. Buckets, boxes and all manner of clutter found their way on top and around the chrome-laden car. The owner planned to restore the Chevy until his tragic death in an automobile accident two years ago. His family, who shall remain nameless, and do not want to sell their dad's car, are left to pick up the pieces and finish building his project.


Finding original and straight 1958 Impala "S" moldings, that loop around tail lights, are rare.

What next?
  The family would like to restore their dad's '58 Impala to its former glory. The good news is that the car has been stored inside a dry building on a concrete floor. The Impala is not a rust bucket and is complete except for the engine. In light of the troublesome big block engine issues, a new drive train swap is in order but locating the Impala's original engine among their dad's parts pile is a long shot. That power plant was removed more than 30 years ago and likely went to the scrap pile. The weak, three-speed, column-shifted manual transmission is also possibly toast after serving limited duty behind the big block 427-cubic inch engine. Once the Impala is purring under its own power again, work on the suspension, interior, paint and body work will follow. This may quickly become an expensive endeavor but worth every penny to restore this dad's hot rod.

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Can you spot the 1958 Impala in this barn find photo?

1958 was the first year for the Chevrolet Impala.

'58 Impalas were covered in yards of aluminum and stainless steel body trim moldings.

A three-speed manual transmission served duty behind the Impala's 348-cu inch V8 engine.

'58 Impala still wears original tri-color seat covers in the rear.

This '58 Impala is covered in Cashmere Blue paint.

Remnants of a tattered plastic cover shield the 1958 Impala barn find.

Tail light lens design of 1958 Impalas were also used on '61-'67 Corvettes.
Send your photos, tips and stories to junkyardlife
Email junkyardbull@gmail.com