Beverly Hills Survivor: 1964 Chevy Impala


The 1964 Chevy Impala has always been a popular car among the modification crowd, whether it is hot rodders or lowriders. While it was a family car, it offered clean styling and was offered with as much as a 425 horsepower 409 V8. This two door coupe was found hiding under a tarp in Beverly Hills, where it had been parked for over 20 years. While it doesn’t have a big block, this black plate one owner Impala coupe is very solid and unmodified. Have a look here on eBay.


Other than the wheels and tires, this one is all original. Sadly the 283 V8 isn’t currently running and the interior has definitely seen better days. Given the popularity of the Impala for modification, it is getting difficult to find untouched examples and no one wants to fix someone else’s hack job. We would get it running, make the interior usable, install an original set of wheels, and drive it in all its original glory. What about you?


  1. Barbara powell

    I would change it into a Super sport. We had one the same color back in the day. I would add all of the SS tags and the bucket seats and a beautiful 327 365 horse engine and a Muncie 4 speed, dual antenas on the rear fenders. The way it sits now it has 283 emblems on it and is most likely an automatic. I would restore the interior. And then I would be a happy camper.

  2. Brian

    I am sure this car won’t be this original for much longer…

  3. 88R107

    62-63-64 are my favorites by far. You can have the tri-fives.
    Hope this get restored and not “bagged and slammed” or whatever they call it.

    • 88R107

      About 6 blocks from the dealership where I used to work there was a gentleman who had 5 or 6 64s parked at his home. Coupes and sedans, all Impalas and all white. On was in the 1979 Wichita Falls TX tornado and scratched to pieces but driveable. They were there for years then one day…gone! Hope they found good homes.

  4. Ramone de V8

    Nice to have no rust issues, but not an SS or convert, so likely soon to be modified. Why not ?

    • Brian

      Would be nice to see it with an original restoration though, since you rarely ever see them on the road in their original form. Just another one of those cars that you use to see everywhere, but now are gone.

  5. David

    Dear God, PLEASE don’t let this get hot-rodded!!! It needs to be left original because soon there won’t be any that aren’t “customized”.

  6. rancho bella

    Big, tinny, and reliable as they come. Not my can o’ corn (spent to many miles in them as a kid…when they were new) but someones.

  7. Graham Line

    Out of curiosity, what’s the weight difference between a 283 and a 409?

    • Rolly Doucet

      The 348 and 409 cu in motors were about 120 lbs heavier than 283 and 327 cu in mills.

  8. Wayne

    This would be a forty thousand dollar car had it been parked in Lambrecht’s field!

    • Brian

      If the buyer gets to be interviewed on the History Channel, somebody would still pay $40,000.00 for it

  9. That Guy

    I’m picturing Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, and a joint the size of a super-burrito.

  10. geomechs geomechs

    That 283/Powerglide will take you anywhere you want to go and bring you back, and not cost you a fortune to keep on the road. This car is relatively complete and should be kept that way. If it was sitting devoid of powertrain and interior then the sky is the limit. Otherwise, it’s time more of these cars were brought back to original and kept that way. Too many of them are being turned into pieces of modern sculpture that don’t remotely resemble what they once were.

    • paul

      What he said.

    • jim s

      yes i also agree with you.

  11. KE100

    That trailer hitch could cause some concern. :/

  12. Jim-Bob

    I would modify it, but not in ways that would irreversibly alter it. What cars of this era need on modern roads are better brakes and handling as well as better fuel economy and the ability to run on modern fuels. So, I would do a disc brake swap and install a set of 15 inch Chevy rally wheels with 235 60 15 tires on them. I would also install an intake and spread bore 4 barrel carb as well as change the fuel lines to barrier hoses to keep the ethanol damage at bay. Now, what carb to use is a difficult one. I really love the Quadrajet and the one I have on my Chevy 355 has to be the best carb I have ever set up for a car, except for the corrosion caused by ethanol. I am trying a marine additive, and if it works then I would go with a Quadrajet on this too. Also for fuel economy I would swap out the Powerglide for a TH-200 4R overdrive automatic. It is the same length and uses the same driveshaft yoke as the Powerglide (and TH 350), so it is almost a bolt in. The almost comes from the mount position though, which is to the rear of stock on this car and would require a custom mount. I would also have a 1 piece driveshaft fabricated as the 2 piece setup full sized Chevys of this era have can be problematic. I would rebuild the suspension with stock replacement components, but add a set of sway bars and gas shocks to make it have better emergency handling.

    Cosmetically, I would restore the body back to stock as well as the interior. However, I would install a modern A/C system as well as a hidden stereo to make it a nicer place to be. Where I am, Florida, it is suicide to go without A/C in the summer (and sometimes in the winter!) so I usually plan for it in my fantasy builds. Along those lines, I would probably also have the radiator recored with a larger core to give it extra cooling capacity (something I do to all my cars).

    • Webby

      Exactly as I’d do. I’d add a power steering with a quicker ratio to the mix.

    • geomechs geomechs

      You know, JB, you’ve got some good ideas there, as far as reliability and efficiency in braking is concerned. A couple of friends of mine have a ’63 and a ’64 and have converted to a dual master cylinder but nothing else. Discs are OK but not absolutely necessary; I sure wouldn’t bother with them. As far as increasing fuel economy is concerned, I doubt if your suggested mods would get you much improvement. That 283/Powerglide combo properly set up will get you in the upper teens but I doubt if a 350 or more will do any better, even with an OD transmission.

      The point that a lot of people miss is plain and simple physics; it takes so much energy to move the mass; it doesn’t matter if you’re running a 235 or a 409; the energy consumption variation is slight when you’re moving a vehicle of similar dimensions and weight at the same speed. With OD (or a super tall rear gear ratio), things get a whole lot more complicated; your engine revolutions per mile may decrease but the charge going into the cylinders per revolution will have to increase in order to keep the mass moving. All too often you end up with an engine operating UNDER its peak (lugging it) instead of slightly above its peak and allowing it to rev more freely. Personal experience has shown that very little is gained running an engine that way and sometimes the reverse is what happens.

      I might add that it wouldn’t take a heck of a lot to make that 283 E-10 friendly. I also see that someone has used (or attempted to use) an aftermarket AC unit on this car. If it was mine I’d be tempted to install AC but I’d search out the pieces for a factory unit.

      • paul

        Another point on the mpg is your going to spend all this $’s to gain what 3,4,5 MPG so what are you saving if you just spent say 5 g on this modification? The only thing that I did & my car that wasn’t stock was switch to the dual master, got rid of the points & put an electric choke in.
        That 283 was a solid, simple motor, these cars didn’t break.

      • paul

        correction Is stock.

  13. Charles

    This car will be a whole lot of fun for the right owner.

  14. Greg

    This cars been original for nearly 50 years. Time to give it new life for the next 50… Its begging to be slammed, pimped and preened…

  15. John Cargill

    Restore to stock, Change the powertrain if nec. but do it in date correct fashion, don’t clone an SS, don’t modify it, Most have already been modified. We need some preserved and this is an excellent candidate.

  16. Charles

    For my tastes, I would restore the body and interior to stock specs, however the car will be a whole lot more fun with a few modern upgrades where it can be driven some. It’s begging for a restomod.

    The following is all hypothetical. Exceptions to originality will be dual exhaust, and some Crager SS wheels, all looking period correct for this car. As for running gear, I will install a crate small block Chevy with EFI, a 700R4 trans, and drop the gear ratio some. 700R4’s have a very low first gear and a 20% OD, so one can get away with a good gear, like a 3:73, or a 3:55. As others have posted, power steering will be nice for drivability, however I would use period correct parts. Suspension will benefit from new parts, up-to-date shocks, and front/rear sway bars. Power disc brakes would be a must for today’s driving conditions. Vintage Air makes some nice discrete climate control systems that will make the car comfortable on hot days. Secret Audio makes some killer sound systems that do not alter the stock appearance of the dashboard.

    The original engine, trans and any other parts removed will be stored. Modifications to the car that require cutting, welding and other things irreversible will be avoided.

    To me, too many of these cars have been modified beyond what is reasonable and/or reversible. The car should be restored, and could be restomodded without chopping it up.

  17. paul

    just bought a red on red ss impala 64…

  18. Canso Mike

    Jim -Bob For your info you may find that the power glide up to and including 1964 impalas is shorter than a 350 trans and has a different spline starting in 65 they were the same drive shaft wise . I have been there when I bought my 64 it had a 350 trans and I changed it back and the dive shaft was too short and spline different.

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