: Review: 1964 Chevrolet Impala



Jesda
07-04-11, 07:43 AM
http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/wpid-P1060082-2011-07-4-00-26.jpg

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/wpid-P1060111-2011-07-4-00-26.jpg

The written review here:
http://jesda.com/2011/07/04/review-1964-chevrolet-impala/

A driving video (no verbal commentary) here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RspNwTu8uKw


Short version: It is excellent.

FrankT
07-04-11, 08:23 AM
:thumbsup: Jesda, Good Job and nice video.


:2thumbs: Gary, Nice Ride! If you every feel like taking Betty on a road trip you may enjoy the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in August.

http://www.woodwarddreamcruise.com/About/2009CruisePhotos.aspx

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-04-11, 09:38 AM
Awesome review Jesda! Well worth the time & effort you put into it.

I've really begun to appreciate the 61-64 Impalas as of recent. It's not that I didn't like them, but I never paid them as much attention as I did the 65-69's. But the 61-64's have that cool "new frontier" era styling inside and out, and overall are a lot cleaner than the later years. A friend of mine (owns that '02 Corvette) recently told me that when he finally buys his first classic car, it'll probably be a 62 or 63 Impala, as he likes the way those look best of all the early '60s Chevys.

Florian
07-04-11, 01:01 PM
well done Jesda....as always.

F

orconn
07-04-11, 01:43 PM
Great review! As always an entertaining read. Glad you enjoyed you initiation with the "classics."

gdwriter
07-04-11, 04:54 PM
Wow, Jesda! :thumbsup:

That's probably a better review than I could have written myself. After 12 years and 75,000 miles, I've become accustomed to Betty's charms, and while I still very much appreciate them, there's nothing like that fresh discovery of something special.

I especially like a couple of the points you made:


...with its array of round tail lights and distinctive green paint, it draws the eye like an outdoor museum piece. However, its subdued enough to tastefully fit in with traffic, drawing admiration without begging for it.



Instead, the Impala was “Jet Smooth” — its factory exhaust carried just enough sonic feedback to remind us of what was under the hood without being disruptive or crude. If Saabs were inspired by Swedish fighter jets, the Impala was influenced by the Boeing 727.



Loved the analogy to the Boeing 727; it's perfectly apt. The 727 entered service in 1964 and was a huge hit with airlines, passengers and pilots (who loved its performance and responsive, easy handling). And like the Impala, the 727 sold in record numbers, becoming ubiquitous at airports around the world all the way through the 1990s. I miss flying them. Great take-off performance.

One minor correction, I don't just drive Betty to car shows or when the Cadillac is in the shop, although I did take her to Seattle for the Boeing 747-8 first flight in March because the intake manifold gaskets on the Seville needed to be replaced, and there wasn't time to get it done before my trip. But I do drive Betty regularly. A prissy trailer queen she is not.

ben.gators
07-04-11, 05:18 PM
Very nice review, thanks Jesda

Gary, two questions. Why were you switching back and forth between R134a and R-12? Also in your restoration progress table some prices were a bit strange. As an example, four Gabriel gas-charged shock absorbers for $65.34! I guess this is the price for one single shock, not all? Am I right? The same thing about Eight AC Delco spark plugs?

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-04-11, 05:44 PM
As long as we're on topic of Impalas, I always liked the '66 the most.
http://www.rmauctions.com/images/cars/ds09/DS09_r126_01.jpg
http://www.investmentcars.biz/resources/_wsb_489x293_1966+Chevy+Caprice+427_425HP+4Speed.j pg

First full year for the Caprice as a separate line (introduced in '65 as a trim for the Impala Sport Sedan), first year they had rectangular tail lamps, first full year for the 396 and 427. They're my favorite year for Impala in the '60s, second being 1969
http://www.impalass427.com/72res/1969_Caprice.jpg

gdwriter
07-04-11, 06:04 PM
Gary, two questions. Why were you switching back and forth between R134a and R-12? Also in your restoration progress table some prices were a bit strange. As an example, four Gabriel gas-charged shock absorbers for $65.34! I guess this is the price for one single shock, not all? Am I right? The same thing about Eight AC Delco spark plugs?When I first bought the car, one of the first things to get attention — considering I lived in Phoenix at the time — was to get the air conditioning working again. The shop I took it to recommended switching to R134a, but it never cooled worth beans. Maybe 55 coming out of the vents at best. Which isn't nearly enough with all that glass, three small vents, and Phoenix heat. So I had it switched back to R12, and output from the vents dropped 10. Big difference.

I guess I wasn't consistent with how I did the restoration table, which really needs to be updated. The first set of spark plugs must have been the price each, but I think the shocks may have been for all four. Subsequent spark plug entries were for all eight. The four KYB shocks — which have been excellent — were $70.64 in 2005.

gdwriter
07-04-11, 06:26 PM
They're my favorite year for Impala in the '60s, second being 1969
http://www.impalass427.com/72res/1969_Caprice.jpgI love the sleek lines of the 1969-70 Impala and Caprice 4-door hardtop (the Catalina, Bonneville, Delta 88 and LeSabre had this roofline as well). It's like the '63-64 roofline with a little more sweep.

http://images.canadianlisted.com/nlarge/1970-chevrolet-impala_5438500.jpg

I also love the '65 Impala with that sleek roofline and the six round taillights:

http://www.autofiends.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/ssrear.jpg

I'm just lucky to have grown up with a car that has become a recognized and coveted classic, unlike poor Jesda with the Datsun B-210.

Jesda
07-04-11, 10:04 PM
Its interesting how much each model year, even within the same generation, changed so much. I like the roofline and rear deck on the late 60s models, but it seems like the wheels are more sunken in. I suppose one could always remedy that.

jayoldschool
07-04-11, 10:09 PM
Nice job! Anytime you are in my area, you can review any of my rides.

I'm partial to the 65, of course... but I am biased...

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e202/jayoldschool/011-2.jpg

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-04-11, 10:35 PM
I also love the '65 Impala with that sleek roofline and the six round taillights:

http://www.autofiends.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/ssrear.jpg

From that view, the car reminds me of a jumbo jet, but instead of six tail lights, it's six jet engines.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-blbRFOT4y4M/TVp7aA1_hQI/AAAAAAAADRo/NsBq9mzcorw/s640/89784429_666e6860ec.jpg

Playdrv4me
07-05-11, 03:51 AM
I was thinking of that exact same thing, Chad.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-05-11, 10:16 PM
You thought of the Caspian Sea Monster as well?

gdwriter
07-05-11, 10:39 PM
Actually, I think Chevrolet's original idea with the taillights was to simulate rocket exhaust, similar to the '59 Cadillac taillights. This is especially true of the 1960-61 Impalas:

http://www.lcci-sack.com/car_photos/Chevrolet/Chevrolet_images/60impalaGlenn2.jpg

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1062/4610648938_88076e4f1b.jpg

Even with all the styling changes, you could always tell an Impala by the triple taillights. It's too bad Chevrolet abandoned that styling trademark after 1985. I know the current Impala is only slightly less boring than a Camry, but at least until the 2010 model, it still had the graceful Impala emblem on the C-pillar. I suppose to save a few bucks, GM decided nobody would notice if it was deleted. I did.

SDCaddyLacky
07-06-11, 06:56 AM
It's really amazing how America used to build such beautiful well made cars back then. Owning a classic like a 60's Chevy really shows you the quality of materials, workmanship, details, power, size, and interior space used to be like in that time.

Today with all the government regulations, and restriction on everything, car designers don't have as much freedom to work around those rules, unlike before the 1970's when government involvement in the US auto industry was very minimal, stylist had the upper hand on what was being said and done in board meetings.

They sure don't build cars like they used to, you don't get the same satisfaction getting behind the wheel of modern car like you do in a classic with all that real metal, and chrome. Pillar-less hardtops are so cool, it truly makes the car feel much bigger than what it is, the added visibility is also a bonus with pillar-less sedans. Sure new cars are quieter and safer to drive, but their isn't anything to them, most all interiors look the same from car to car, hop in a 64 Impala, then into a 64 Cadillac, then a 64 Lincoln Continental, then a 64 Imperial, then a 64 Buick Electra, all of the cars didn't look alike on the inside. That's what is so special of classic American cars of the day, no homogenization, maybe some copy catting, but nothing to the point were every other car looked alike.

The Impala was considered luxurious in the 60's, even as a Chevy. I mean, it had many options of Cadillac's.

They were also well made quality vehicles. My grandfather owned a 63 Impala station wagon, he told stories of taking my mom and her brothers to go camping every year to Oregon, Yosemite park, and many other famous camp sites all across the country, and not once did that station wagon break down. Even with a car load of 6 people and weeks worth of luggage, never did the Chevy have problems. It was a V6 too. He rebuilt the engine twice by himself, not because the engine was tired, just simply because he wanted to keep the engine parts as pristine as possible. He loved working on and repairing cars for fun and enjoyment. When he would get off work as a machinist, he would go to the garage and tinker with his cars from time to time, staying up real late during the weekdays out there.

I think that's where I get my car smarts, and appreciation for old cars from, thanks gramps if your watching me type from above!:cool:

brandondeleo
07-06-11, 07:08 AM
It's really amazing how America used to build such beautiful well made cars back then. So true. Those cars were true works of art, unlike today. Even in Cadillac, where the new CTSs and STSs are hardly discernible. Homogenization is the worst quality of modern cars...

SDCaddyLacky
07-06-11, 07:18 AM
So true. Those cars were true works of art, unlike today. Even in Cadillac, where the new CTSs and STSs are hardly discernible. Homogenization is the worst quality of modern cars...

Your exactly right, modernization has it's qualities, but personally it has made everything too similar, too bland, including modern building architecture.:bigroll:

brandondeleo
07-06-11, 07:49 AM
I like modern minimalist architecture, as I am a bit of an architecture aficionado, I also love Victorian and Edwardian detail. They have their strengths. It just disappoints me to see that all of the cars being built today are almost unrecognizable from others. I have trouble discerning between STSs and CTSs of the new generation, and that disappoints me. Cadillac was the biggest and the best in the world, and now it produces mid-sized generic commuters that can hardly be told apart...

MacMuse
07-06-11, 12:07 PM
I still find the STS (mine is a 2006) far more than a commuter car.

I've had mine for 2+ years, and I still enjoy every long drive opportunity. My previous car - a 98 Park Avenue - had grown quite uncomfortable on trips over a couple hours. And as a commuter car is was too sluggish and soft responding in tight traffic.

When the Park Avenue died, I grew concerned the ever shrinking car sizes would leave me with nothing comfortable and affordable for long trips. I'm 6'3", and when I test drove used sedans in early 2009 I had a hard time finding anything that let me see the road in front of the car - literally. I refused to even test drive a 300 because I couldn't see enough of the road to safely navigate. I frequently found stop lights non-existent to me as they were all well above the top of the windshield as I approached intersections.

The STS shocked me with its site lines, I didn't expect it based on its outward styling. And as I mentioned, after two years I can still drive this car for 4-6 hours straight without a hint of discomfort.

I continue to debate the merits of a softer riding DTS and its even softer predecessors compare to the mildly sporty STS setup and aggressive CTS siblings for my own driving preference. I'm driving a DTS loaner for a couple days right now and I instantly recognize the significant difference in suspension setups between the DTS & STS. But after 2 years, I'm very happy and somewhat surprised with the 'Cadillac-ness' of my STS.

So please, stop lumping my STS in the same bucket as the tiny euro sport CTS.

brandondeleo
07-06-11, 03:44 PM
I concede, the STS is much more car than a CTS, but they do look strikingly similar on the outside.

johnny kannapo
07-06-11, 04:48 PM
http://youtu.be/lEi7GdSjFyg

Jesda
07-06-11, 04:53 PM
That looks like an episode of Trailer Park Boys

gdwriter
07-06-11, 06:29 PM
I hope that poor old Impala gets fixed up.

Interesting detail: listen as he closes the door in the first second. Despite that poor car's obvious deterioration, the door closes with the same solid clunk as Betty's. As Jesda noted, that Body by Fisher is indeed solid.

Destroyer
07-06-11, 11:16 PM
Great review Jesda. It kind of reminded me of my '67 Cutlass, at least many attributes of that review when it was stock. I have been (kinda) regretting taking my car so far from stock lately. I look at what I have done to it and think (to myself until now) that I took some of it's character away. After I did all the mods to mine I finally realized the beauty of stock and period correct and seeing Gary's car in your evaluation tells me that maybe it was more of the kid in me talking (i.e. midlife crisis) than the adult when doing the build on my car. I'm slowly getting away from hot rodding and finding myself liking cars stock. I truly am getting older.

Aron9000
07-06-11, 11:25 PM
^ I'm a keep it stock sort of man as well. There's something about a car looking period correct like Gary's Impala, that it isn't a slave to the latest fashion trends like 20" wheels with brembo brakes, lowered suspension, crazy Chip Foose inspired paint, etc. Same thing goes for the interior, it pains me when guys rip out the bench seat on old cars and put in buckets with a floor shift.

However, I'm not against changing things radically under the hood. BBC in a Ford, why not??? As long as its clean under there and doesn't look like a hack job, more power to ya.

Stingroo
07-07-11, 12:00 AM
^ I'm a keep it stock sort of man as well. There's something about a car looking period correct like Gary's Impala, that it isn't a slave to the latest fashion trends like 20" wheels with brembo brakes, lowered suspension, crazy Chip Foose inspired paint, etc. Same thing goes for the interior, it pains me when guys rip out the bench seat on old cars and put in buckets with a floor shift.

However, I'm not against changing things radically under the hood. BBC in a Ford, why not??? As long as its clean under there and doesn't look like a hack job, more power to ya.

Sorry. :lol:

gdwriter
07-07-11, 12:00 AM
For me, Betty is a time capsule that recaptures the car I grew up with (same color even), so keeping her stock is essential. I was fortunate to find a car that was original and unmolested but one I could still afford.

I've made a couple of mods such as the wider tires and rear stabilizer bar, both of which made a great improvement in handling without sacrificing ride quality. Since the modern stereo is hidden in the dealer accessory tissue dispenser, it still looks period correct and stock. And I love the almost psychedelic upholstery Chevrolet used in 1964, so I bit the bullet and paid the $700 for the correct seat covers. If and when I upgrade to power windows, I'll install OEM switches so it looks like the car came that way.

Modding is a matter of personal preference. I've seen classics modified very tastefully and others that make me cringe. But all things considered, I prefer stock or as close to stock as possible.

Destroyer
07-07-11, 12:24 AM
GD your car is a keeper for sure. With A/C and all I'd consider it for a daily driver taking trips with the family and all. I love the 60's cars, especially the Oldsmobiles and Mopars of the era. Your car is one of the unsung heroes. Anyone that wants an Impala of that vintage usually goes for the 2 door or 'vert. Seeing a well kept model like yours is refreshing. My '67 Cutlass 'vert didn't need much to be a mint condition "all original". I went a different route with it and am, at the moment regretting it. Next time I have it out and do a burn out that's a 1/4 mile long I'm sure I'll change my mind again. Either way, nice ride!

gdwriter
07-07-11, 02:21 AM
Thanks, Nick, I really appreciate the compliments. I like to drive Betty regularly; I think it's better for the car because all the fluids get circulated and nothing has the opportunity to get stiff or brittle. I've taken it on a number of long road trips, and will be heading to Washington next weekend to see friends and attend a car show in Bremerton, across Puget Sound from Seattle. Next month, unless there's a schedule conflict with my friends in Pullman, WA, I'll be taking her to a huge car show in Lewiston, ID. That's almost 1,000 miles round trip. Having working A/C is a must for these trips, especially through Eastern Oregon, Washington and Idaho in August.

Betty just happened to be the right car to come along at the right time. I've always liked the 4-door hardtop styling best on the early 60s GM B-bodies; with the longer roof needed for four doors, I think the proportions are more balanced. Of course, I still like the two-door hardtops with the roofline that mimics a convertible, but cars like mine are more rare today — and more affordable.

brandondeleo
07-07-11, 05:02 AM
Speaking of Eastern Washington weather, I'm in Ellensburg, just east of the Cascades, and it was a gorgeous 95 degrees with low humidity today.:cloud9:

gdwriter
07-07-11, 02:13 PM
Upper 80s yesterday; drove Betty to make sure the A/C was cooling properly, and it is. The next few days will be in the mid to upper 70s. I love summers in the Pacific Northwest.

brandondeleo
07-08-11, 12:18 AM
I like that we have all four seasons in this part of the PNW.
Summer like Palm Springs (I've lived there, too), Winters with snow in feet and below zero temperatures, fall with COLORS and pretty, and spring that is nothing but GREEN. So perfect. It makes you appreciate the seasons.

Playdrv4me
07-08-11, 04:18 AM
I remember still seeing snow and 40* temps in Spokane in late April and wanting shoot myself in the head.

I agree the summers there are absolutely beautiful... for the 2.5 months that Summer actually exists. I vastly prefer hot to cold though. Like some guy in Arizona said on a 118* day... "It sure beats shoveling snow in the Winter". I concur.

brandondeleo
07-08-11, 04:42 AM
My favorite weather is HOT and dry... I love the Havasu area. It typically gets around 105-110 in the middle of summer for a while here, while in early January, I have seen it -14 (not counting wind chill). The snow makes the cold worth it, in my opinion, as long as I don't have to shovel our fifty yard U driveway...

brandondeleo
07-08-11, 04:43 AM
We actually had a freak snowstorm this June. It was a sight to see... This was a harsh winter. On June 4th, we got 7" of snow in one day.