About the 62 Impala

Shoestring 62' project

Follow along as I do a restro-mod of a 1962 Impala SS.

I am a Architect by training, and this is my first car restoration. I will be doing as much of the work as I can. I will be learning new skills (welding, body work, etc.) This is my hobby project so there are no time constraints just the pure joy of building and . I have always loved old cars and always wanted to restore one.

The goal for the car is to make a nice cruiser for weekend outings, and local car shows. Also I am planning on finishing the car and taking my Dad who gave me the car on the Power tour.

Prepairing to lift the body

I am getting closer to lifting the body so that I can add new body bushings run new stainless steel fuel lines for the 409 and break lines, and add a second control arm for the rear end. I have been going around on how to do all of this and maintain space in my garage. I do not have room to have the frame and body side by side. I have been debating on building a custom body cart s that I can role the body out of the garage and work on the frame, but the longer I worked on this the more I realized that was not a feasible idea. So what is a guy on a budget to do and limited space to do?

Well I think I have stumbled on my solution. I found a web site called accessible systems that has what I need. I have these in my garage and I think that it will allow me the space to work on the car and maintain my garage space. I ordered a part called a frame standoff to separate my body from my frame and when I am done I will install the new body bushings. Second I ordered a set of frame dolly's wheels to mount to the frame so that I can role the body and frame around and in and out of the shop. I think that this system will work for me and my restoration. I will post pictures as I move into this next phase.

62 Impala work

Well I have gotten some work done over the last few weeks. Not the progress that I would like to see, but any progress is good. Since the shop space that I have is tight, I have to find ways to make sure that I have room to do my projects.

So once I got my 409 on the engine stand I wanted to be able to be able to store it over the frame when not working on the car. To accomplish this I needed to remove the power steering, steering box, control arms. All of these items were going to be removed and replaced at some point, so I have removed them and am able to store the 409 and maintain my shop space.
I continue to remove the trim and am almost done with that. After that I will finish removing the exhaust, transmission, drive line, glass, and rear bumper. with that done I will be ready to remove the car from the frame and start the restoration and customization process. I am hoping to have the frame off at the end of January.

62 Impala Evaluation

Spent some time with the car and have been finishing removing trim and noting the areas that will need some attention and the extent of repair that need to take place.
The Drivers side will require the most attention as there was some interesting fixes done to the car from the previous owner. I do not have a picture of it but there is the typical rust damage at the front quarter panel that will have to be repaired, but unknown to me the bigger issue presented its self when I removed the rocker panel trim from the drivers side. I discovered a rather large piece of metal house siding stuck in this hole with about 1/2" of bondo holding it all in place I have just started to sand the area to figure out how much rust damage there is. right now I am going to have to do some rocker panel repair from the wheel well to mid point on the drivers door. Just above this hole there is a 8" dent that will need some attention, there is also something on the sail lid that I need to sand the car down and see what is going on I discovered a couple of pop rivets and a funny little piece of metal on the trunk side. I will know more when I get the car sand blasted. I think that there is more rust to be found.

So far on the passengers side there has not been discovery of anything that is not typical rust areas. The front quarter behind the wheel, along the rocker panel behind the trim, and this little blister at the rear wheel well. However I think that there is more as well as I found a odd piece of metal welded to the bottom of the rocker panel with some rust blisters and on the rear wheel well I am seeing some evidence of rust and bondo.

The interior, well I have already talked about the floor repair, this is a picture of the roof there is a moldy headliner foam (form years of leaking seals) and there is a little surface rust which I think will be taken care of with some media blasting. Nothing surprising here.
So with all this in mind I am developing my plan of attack on the body. But that is another post.


So I have not gotten a lot done in the last few weeks between Kids Christmas programs, shopping and general holiday madness leading up to Christmas. Plus it is been bitter cold the last few weeks and my small shop heater is not keeping the as warm as I would like. I may have to up grade I thought I would list the books that I am using or have read prior to starting this project.

I am not sure that I can stress enough that one should get these books or others before starting any project. Especially the assembly and shop manuals for what ever car you are working on.

book1 - How to Rebuild and Modify your muscle car - By Jason Scott.

This is a great book to get before starting it has check list for evaluating a car prior to purchase so that you have a good idea of what you are getting into. It has ideas for frame off restorations to simple restorations, and the pros and cons of various both. It has a pricing form so that you can do a good estimate on what the various elements of the project will cost so that you can determine what is in the budget and what is not. We would all like to do Frame off restorations, but we do not have the time, talent, or money to do so. This book has helped me keep my project goals realistic, and feasible. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is just thinking about taking on a car project.


Book 2 - How to Restore your collector car - Tom Brownell

Here is another book from Motorbooks.com this is in my links section a great source for books.

This one is along the same lines as the last one. A wealth of information on restoring collector cars, and general restoration tips and tricks as well. Highly recommended as well.


book 3 - Muscle Car & Hi-Po engines Chevy 348 & 409

What can I say since I own a 409 and it will be going into this car I wanted a book to read on and about these engines. One can never read or educate themselves to much when it comes to doing a good project. I have not read this one yet as I just got the engine and it will be a little while before I get to the engine.


Book4 - 1962 Shop manual and a 1962 Impala Assembly manual are a must for any car project. They are easy to find and fairly cheep. Sorry no pictures

New Power

In the consideration and planning stages of this car, it was decided to leave the engine as it was with some mild upgrades to it. The car came with a Chevy 350 with a four speed. I found some simple builds to make a nice performing 355. That was the plan. In the back of my head I thought it would be great to put a Chevy 409 in this car, not a common engine, and a great engine for this car.

The old 350

So I began to watch eBay and various other sites for a engine block, but most were out of my price range at the time. So I waited and continued to evaluate the car its issues and what I was going to do to the car. I spent a lot of time at a web site dedicated to these engines
http://www.348-409.com/ which was a great source for information and engine build suggestions. This is where I found my engine, a member in South Dakota was selling a 409 short block from a truck, a perfect engine for my car.

Fine 409

So long story short I switched gears from evaluation to disassembly of the front end of the car and pulling the 350 out of the car. I was able to sell the 350 and offset some of the cost of engine. So on the stand now is the New power plant for the car a Chevy 409, she's so fine.
The 350 out of the car and my little helper

Out with the old

As I mentioned in another post it was the interior that started me on this project of restoration. I was not planning a full scale restoration but just some simple things, like redoing the interior back to original, fixing the dent and doing some minor rust repair. But the best laid plans do not always go as planed.

Thus was the case with the interior. The plan here was to remove the seats that were in there and replace with orginal bucket seats up front and bench seat in the rear, and to clean up the interior, new carpet, remount the tachometer, and gauges, up grade the stearo I spent months looking for orginal seats that were in good condition, I had a lady lined up to do the apoulstery for the seats. A simple enough plan, but as those that restore cars know that is not always the case.

The floor pan damage

Up on the removal of the carpet and seat I found that to get the seats to fit there were some "Modifications" to the floor. The floor brace was cut down to almost nothing and some house siding tin filling in the holes with a few sheet metal screws holding the entire thing together. I also discovered that there was rust along the side rails. Since I do not own a welder I found a guy locally that restores old trucks, Jay's Classic in Kuna, that did the welding for me and replaced the floor pan and cut out the rust along the side rails. This however lead me to start to do a real evulation of the car, and with that the realization that I had a lot more work to do on this car and thus the Shoestring 62' project was born.

The Repaired floor

The Before Pictures

The car was in good shape overall when I got it. The body was straight, not a lot of rust issues, and only one minor dent. The interior as you will see left a lot to be desired, but that is what the restoration process is all about, sometimes we need to remove what others have done.

The Exterior: There were a few rust spots on the car at the front wheel wells on both sides and a little at the rear wheels. There was also a dent just behind the drivers door that would need attention. but over all the body was straight and sound.

Front view

Rear view

The Interior: Well the interior was another story. Red Valour every were and the original seats had been replaced with something else. This was really the starting point for the restoration. The intent was to redo the interior get the minor body work done and be back on the road in a year. Well all good plans change and as I started this project I discovered that there was a lot more to be done then I first thought.

AHH the Red Valour interior

More Red

The interior in this car was what really started me on this project. I decided that it was time to get rid of the red interior and go back to the original bucket seats and bench seat. After months of looking all over the internet I found a bench seat from a 62' Impala in South Carolina, and bucket seats with the chrome on Ebay and I was ready to embark on the interior restoration. But what happens from there is another post....

About the 62 Impala

About: This blog will follow the Restoration and customizaion of a 1962 Impala SS. The budget is tight, so I will be learning as I go body work, welding, and general repair and restoration.
This car has a unique history in how it came to be in my hands. A few years back my father entered a contest to win a classic 1962 Impala SS restored. Well long story short he won the car and a few years later gave it to me. We drove it and enjoyed taking it out, but it was in need of some work as I have been discovering.

So come along and follow along as I restore this classic car
The plan: To rebuild this car from the ground up into a mostly-stock car with upgrades to suspension breaks, and some custom touches. The final look of the car has not yet been set in stone but is centered around the idea shown below.

Concept Art for the Car