Frame Up Restored Impala SS Convertible 327 V8 with A/C
A popular topic around our offices is the plight of the trailer queen. A vast majority of the cars we see here are just flat-out perfect in every way, either flawless restorations or incredibly low-mile originals. A lot of them get secreted away in garages, their engines running only long enough to get them on and off the trailer. For a lot of us here, actually driving these cars is where the real fun lies, and once in a while we get a car in here that reminds us that getting behind the wheel for a few hours is important. This '64 Impala SS convertible is a perfect example.
This is a real, numbers-matching SS, and it's an honest, straight, driver-quality car. This car has been refurbished “as needed” over its 45-year life, but never completely disassembled and restored. Cars are only original once, and this one is just too nice to take apart. You can get in, turn the key, and set off on a trip across town or across the country in this car without thinking twice. It looks great, has a rumbling 327 cubic-inch V8 with factory air-conditioning, and the top goes down - what more could you ask?
In 1964, Chevrolet added a model to the Impala lineup as the Super Sport became a distinct series, in either convertible or hardtop coupe form. Super Sports held a pleated vinyl interior with front bucket seats, and a console with floor gearshift (when equipped with a four-speed or Powerglide). Swirl-pattern silver anodized material decorated the rear cove outline moldings and wider upper body trim strips of SS models.
Updated styling featured squarer corners along with a new full-width sculptured grille. Impalas again had triple taillights on each side, plus plenty of bright-work. As usual, they were the top sellers by far, with 889,600 built, including an impressive 185,523 Super Sports.
The drive-train in this car, with only 84,512 original miles on it, is still strong and willing. It's a 327/250 with a Powerglide, which is about as durable and trouble-free a combination as GM ever put in a car, and it runs better than a lot of freshly restored cars we've seen. It's had some recent work to keep it in top condition, including a rebuilt Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, new fuel pump, new spark plugs, and a new correct exhaust system. The engine compartment has been recently detailed, and it shows incredibly well for a car that has been driven regularly. Someone spent a lot of time and effort dressing it up.
Externally, the body is very straight with good panel alignment and gaps, remarkable for a convertible of this age. It has been repainted in its original Ermine White at some point, and the paint still presents very nicely - even the nose is chip-free. All the stainless trim is intact, shiny, and straight. Even the impossible to replace engine-turned trim pieces unique to the SS are present and in excellent condition. There's a new windshield, a set of reproduction steel fender skirts on the rear fenders, the bumpers are new, and the hubcaps are NOS. The convertible top and rear window were recently replaced at a cost of over $1500 using dark blue BMW canvas that really pops next to the white paint. In fact, the first time that top has ever been folded and the new top boot installed is when it arrived in our showroom. The trunk is clean and includes a correct spare, jack, and tire iron.
Inside, you'll find the SS-specific bucket seats with engine-turned console and dash. On this car, the interior is a combination of original and restored pieces, including new carpets and seats. The polished trim is still sharp and blemish-free and the original door panels are outstanding. New door sill plates were installed at the same time as the new carpets. The factory AM/FM radio works perfectly, as does the power top.
Underneath is typical of a pampered car that has been used and enjoyed. The suspension has been properly maintained, including a set of new shock absorbers and four new 215/75/14 Cooper whitewall radials. The floors are solid, with no indication that there was ever any rust or repairs.
Trailer queens certainly have their place, but the vast majority of the hobby is made up of super nice cars just like this '64 SS. You can drive them, show them, tinker with them, and that's exactly what this hobby is all about. Put this '64 SS convertible in your garage and enjoy years of care-free top-down cruising for a fraction of the price of a trailer queen you can only wistfully admire from afar.
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