First, let’s pause to discover that Jeff’s first experience with classic cars was actually with those of English origin — although he soon discovered through experience that they were, as he put it, “unmotorable”, and so he decided to try something a little different, perhaps something like an American classic. First up was a 1936 straight-eight Hudson, which he purchased in the early ’80s, before deciding to move on to something a little more modern — a 1950 Chrysler and then a 1961 Dodge.
From then, Jeff decided that a convertible might be the way to go, so he placed an ad in a local newspaper to see if he could turn anything up. Sure enough, the owner of a 1964 Chevrolet Impala — a car that had been sitting in a shed in the Waitakere region for over 10 years — contacted him. On inspecting the Impala, Jeff realized that the car was basically sound and unmolested, and, with that in mind, he was undeterred by the level of work that would be required to bring this Chevrolet back up to scratch. A deal was brokered, and the Impala passed into Jeff’s hands.
Jeff has now owned the Impala for around 15 years, and, during that time, he’s treated it to a new coat of bright-red paint and a new interior and has also seen to it that all the car’s iconic brightwork got re-chromed. Looking to further enhance the Impala’s sporting pretensions, Jeff has replaced the originals with a set of chrome Cragar SS wheels.
Other than that, the Impala remains completely original — sporting its original 4.63-litre (283ci) engine, auto transmission, suspension, and brakes.
As a real point of Kiwi interest, General Motors originally brought this particular car to New Zealand in 1964 especially for the Petone Auto Show, and it is one of only 68 right-hand-drive 1964 Impala convertibles to have been built in Canada.
The ’58 Impala
The Impala fuelled Jeff’s passion and fanned a desire to increase his fleet of American cars. He went on to acquire a 1972 Pontiac Grand Prix, a 1961 Oldsmobile Starfire, and, his all-time favourite, our featured 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Sport Coupe. A few years down the track, Jeff realized that owning four huge American cars was perhaps a little excessive, so he sold off the Pontiac and the Oldsmobile — but he wasn’t ready to part with his two Chevys.
Jeff has always admired the 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Sport Coupe, and, after watching a very nice example take out the coveted People’s Choice Award at the first Kumeu Classic Car and Hot Rod Festival in 1995, he simply couldn’t help thinking, Wow, what a car! If only …
In 2008, Jeff decided it was time to take steps to realize his dream. The search was on for a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Sport Coupe, the trail eventually leading him to this fine example in Texas. The car was powered by a 4.63-litre (283ci) V8 engine, and, together with its gleaming red paint scheme and Continental kit, this was enough to entice Jeff to contact the Texan owner.
Jeff says that Paul, the car’s owner, was more than obliging, and only too happy to provide all