Redefining the meaning of big
verything about Bevan Chapman’s 1962 Chevrolet Impala is larger than life.
The car, like many of the era, boasts vivacious curves, tons of room, a cool paint job and a roaring engine.
And that is just the reason why Chapman prefers cars from the 1960s.
‘‘I like the style of older cars rather than new cars,’’ the Oamaru man said.
‘‘I’ve owned about four decent older cars including this and a 1969 Camaro.’’
Chapman imported the Impala from Australia six years ago.
It needed a little work done on it, a general tidy up that Chapman did himself.
He repainted it, fixed the engine and motor parts and boxed out the boot.
‘‘I tend to muck around with cars to tidy them up,’’ Chapman said when asked if he restores cars.
The Impala has a 300 horse power 327-engine, air-ride suspension and pillarless windows.
It is also left-hand drive and runs in miles. He was unsure of its top speed. ‘‘It’s not really a fast car, more a cruiser. Something to use on the weekends. Runs pretty good, heaps of car,’’ said Chapman.
‘‘It can be quite thirsty on long journeys depending on how heavy your foot is [but] generally, it’s no thirstier than a V8.’’
Other than weekends, the Impala doesn’t come out much, not in the winter at least, except for the car shows and events.
It has been to the Cromwell Car Show and to an event in Rangiora, and has also done a good dash at the Oamaru airport with the Oamaru Hot Rod Club at Oamaru Drag Racing.
Chapman will take the Impala out again for the next event on March 7, where he volunteers as a general helper.
Wherever the Impala goes, it gets ‘‘lots of looks’’.
‘‘A lot of people will tell me about someone they know who had similar cars,’’ Chapman said.
His other car, a 1969 Camaro is also popular when it’s out and about.
‘‘It’s a lot smaller, more a muscle car. Gets lots of looks.’’
Chapman does not think he had a favourite thing about the Impala, though he does love the pillarless windows.
When asked how he thinks cars from the 1960s compare to cars from other eras, Chapman replied: ‘‘I like the style of older cars rather than new cars. The 1970s cars don’t really do it for me.’’
Driving: Chapman has owned a few cars in his lifetime but cars from around the 1960s are his favourite.