Sweet Karma



Abel Giroux's '61 Chevy Impala

A '61 Impala isn’t easy to come by, and it’s with good rea­son. Many were lost to scrap yards prior to them be­ing highly sought-af­ter col­lectibles, plenty have been left to rot, and if you’ve ever searched for one in the States you al­ready know that they’re not too easy to find.

But search­ing for one on the East Coast makes for an even more dif­fi­cult task, and it comes with good rea­son. For starters, many of the cars from the ’60s didn’t come with fac­tory rust proof­ing. In ad­di­tion, many snow cities ap­ply what lo­cals call a “salt brine” to their streets, which is when a truck sprays salt on the streets to help melt the snow—a process which in turn wreaks havoc on the un­der­car­riage of cars, pro­mot­ing rust and de­te­ri­o­ra­tion at record speed. This ul­ti­mately leaves the East Coast with a smaller in­ven­tory of clas­sics to choose from. It’s some­thing that Cana­dian res­i­dent Abel Giroux is all too fa­mil­iar with.

As the owner of a tow­ing com­pany, Abel has long been ready to pur­chase a '61 Impala but had trou­ble find­ing one. In fact, he wanted one long be­fore the In­ter­net was an ac­tive part of our lives, and back in the day he’d

scour clas­si­fied ads but never had much luck. Fast-for­ward to present day and luck would strike when he found his dream car on www.ki­jiji.ca —Canada’s lo­cal clas­si­fied ads web­site.

The car was lo­cated in Lon­don, Canada (13 hours away), but was well worth the drive.

“The car be­longed to an 87-year-old man who was un­able to drive it any­more,” Abel says. “It was com­plete, had no rot, rust, or even dents, but it had def­i­nitely been weath­ered and needed to be re­done,” he adds.

With plans drawn up in his head, he’d en­joy the Impala for a quick minute be­fore he de­cided to go allin and start the restora­tion—which is where the night­mares be­gan. From a lo­cal body shop hack­ing the paintjob to an LS en­gine swap that even­tu­ally caught on fire, his trou­bles were mount­ing, but he de­cided to change his game plan. This is when he re­al­ized that he needed to source qual­ity crafts­men who could do the job right. His best op­tion was to do a lit­tle home­work, even if it meant trav­el­ing fur­ther. Abel chose Switches and Thangs lo­cated in Toronto. “They ba­si­cally re­did ev­ery­thing in the car and ended up sav­ing the build. If I had to do it over again, I would take it to the right peo­ple from the start,” Abel says.

Since com­plet­ing the build, Abel has been bless­ing the streets of Canada. The re­silience of his build has cre­ated a def­i­nite neck-breaker. While it’s one of Canada’s finest rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lowrid­ing, noth­ing has been more mem­o­rable than the time he used it to take his daugh­ter to prom, an event that made all the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of build­ing this car well worth it.

LS1 Mon­treal drop-top six-one.


House of Kolor Cobalt Cana­dian clas­sic con­vert­ible.

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