FEA­TURE CAR

New Zealand Classic Car - - 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Sport Coupe - In­de­pen­dent with long and short con­trol arms, coil springs and Delco shock ab­sorbers, front sta­bi­lizer bar / Four-link with one up­per and two lower con­trol arms, Delco shock ab­sorbers Ball-race steer­ing gear with bal­anced link­age

the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the car. Jeff also learned that the Im­pala had been re­painted: un­til then, the all cars Jeff had im­ported into New Zealand had re­tained their orig­i­nal paint, so he de­cided to carry out some more re­search. Paul also sent Jeff a copy of the Chevro­let’s ti­tle. Armed with this, Jeff was able to track down the car’s pre­vi­ous owner, Doug, in Florida, who was able to ex­plain that the car had al­ready been re­painted when he got it, and that he’d sold it as it didn’t have air con­di­tion­ing. In pass­ing, he also said that he still had a set of 1959 Cadil­lac tail lights that he’d taken off the Im­pala. Doug had ac­quired the Im­pala via a car swap with a Texan named Ger­ald. Ea­ger to un­cover the his­tory be­hind the Im­pala, Jeff now sought out Ger­ald. When he fi­nally found him, it turned out that he’d pur­chased the car from the son of the orig­i­nal owner, that per­son hav­ing had it for 40 years. Ger­ald had spot­ted the Im­pala for sale in a mag­a­zine, and it was ex­actly what he’d been look­ing for: a car in need of TLC but com­pletely rust-free. He also told Jeff that the car’s first owner, who’d pur­chased the Im­pala new, changed the orig­i­nal trans­mis­sion from man­ual to auto when he’d got older.

Af­ter ac­quir­ing the Chevro­let, Ger­ald had re­painted and re­uphol­stered the car — it was then that he’d done the swap with Doug, the swapped car be­ing a 1959 Ford re­tractable.

Au­then­tic­ity

Af­ter fol­low­ing this trail of own­er­ship his­tory, Jeff was con­vinced of the car’s au­then­tic­ity and con­di­tion, so he con­tacted Paul again and pro­ceeded with the pur­chase. The car fi­nally ar­rived in New Zealand in Au­gust 2008.

Jeff also got back in touch with Doug, who kindly sent him the 1959 Cadil­lac tail lights he’d held on to, and th­ese have since been re­united with the car.

How­ever, as they say in the TV com­mer­cials, ‘but wait, there’s more’. Jeff has been busy buy­ing a few more cars since our fea­tured Im­pala ar­rived and is also the proud owner of a cus­tom 1965 Chevro­let Im­pala, com­plete with 51mm roof chop, shaved door han­dles, and tuck-and-roll up­hol­stery, as well as a 1930 Ford Model A roadster nos­tal­gia hot rod that was built in the US in 1959, this last car be­ing some­thing of a de­par­ture for Jeff from his Im­pala col­lec­tion.

Jeff’s daugh­ter Hay­ley is in­volved in the fash­ion in­dus­try. As you can see by our pho­to­graphs, she loves to dress up in pe­riod style and feels right at home in any of her father’s cars. She is also look­ing for­ward to the day when she can drive one of the Im­palas to Beach Hop — maybe that’ll hap­pen next year, so keep an eye out for Hay­ley in one of her dad’s Chevys.

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