Classic Project: 1959 Chevrolet Impala

While it might need a complete restoration, the owner of this 1959 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop is offering the car’s buyer somewhere to start. It appears to be a complete car that is loaded with potential, and once restored, it could certainly be a real eye-catcher. Located in Billings, Montana, you can find the Impala listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $11,700, and with the reserve met, someone is about to score themselves a pretty promising project car.

The Impala has obviously undergone a repaint and color change at some point in its life because there is visible evidence that it started life finished in the very attractive Crown Sapphire. The owner admits to there being some rust issues to be addressed, including some in the floors, along with the rear quarter panels. There is no need to panic too much about this, because repair panels for both areas are included with the car. There is a significant amount of exterior trim that appears to be missing, but the trunk has a substantial collection of pieces, and I suspect that most, if not all of these items, are in amongst this stuff. The trim which remains attached to the car appears to be in reasonable to good condition, while the factory tinted glass also looks to be okay.

The restoration work on the Impala will continue inside the car, but once again, it does appear as though this aspect of the vehicle is largely complete. The door is missing off the glove compartment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find it floating around in there somewhere. The dash itself actually looks pretty good, and surprisingly, so does the headliner. I say surprisingly because it is very much at odds with the condition of the rest of the upholstery. Most of this, along with some of the minor trim pieces, is going to require replacement. One thing that I will say is that if the next owner chooses to undertake a faithful restoration, then the interior will have the potential to simply ooze class.

I wonder just how hard it will be to kick the Impala’s engine back into life. I raise this point because not only is it said to turn freely, but apparently, it also has spark. It is a tempting prospect, but it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea if the buyer tempers their enthusiasm there just a bit. The reason that I say this is that without the air cleaner in place, there are plenty of opportunities for foreign objects to find their way down the throat of the carburetor and into the engine. Combine this with the amount of debris on top of the engine itself, and you have a recipe for potential disaster. The Chevy comes equipped with a 283ci V8 and 2-speed Powerglide transmission, which isn’t the most potent combination on the planet. In its current form, that engine would produce 185hp, but a few minor upgrades could see it pumping out 230hp or more with ease. Of course, the next owner might also choose to replace the original engine and transmission with something more potent. If they do, then they wouldn’t be the first to follow that particular course of action.

It will be interesting to hear from our readers as to just what path they would choose to follow if they were to buy this ’59 Impala. For me, I would restore the panels, paint, and the interior to their original appearance and colors. I would probably update the engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension to improve performance and handling, and then I’d sit back and enjoy this beauty. It will also be interesting to see if any of our readers are interested enough to follow through and actually start bidding on the Impala.


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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I’d stay old school here, 348 Tri Power. Not for racing ability but they had such a distinctive sound IMO to make the search for one worth it. If you can find the right one, one of the newer overdrive transmissions (automatic or manual) behind it would make for a wonderful driver.
    Paint it white with black in the side trim, perfect combination IMO.
    Went to HS with a guy that bought a 60 with a 348 Tri Power, 3 speed. Ironically he didn’t have use of his one leg but drove the heck out of that one.

    Like 4
  2. GP Member

    If you keep the 283/power glide set up. ( rebuild if needed). It will start and stop just fine with normal driving. Maybe not in the big Cities, But in my two stop sign town, It will do just fine. Always liked this style Chevy, Nice car.

    Like 5
  3. Joe Machado

    Had a 59 Impala 2 dr ht. Med met blue body, white top. Blue interior. 348, 4 bbl, turboslush. Great car, stupid trans. My fav Chev of all is still the 59. Had 50, 52 and 2 1955’s.

    Like 2
  4. Will Fox

    Basically blank slate when you survey the car overall. Plenty of reproduction parts available, and the tried `n true 283 should be an easy fix. Everything from side trim to interior side panels, etc. are available for these, making it well worth restoration. `59s are probably my favorite Chevy of that decade, and I’m not a Chevy guy.

    Like 3
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Friend had a ’59 Convertible in the ’70s with the 3/2 348, 4 speed, posi rear, slightly lowered all around, black with red interior and red accent on the side trim. About as good looking car as I’ve ever seen… and it was fast.

    Like 2
  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Dang I need to list my sedan delivery……….

  7. r s

    “The dash itself actually looks pretty good, […]”

    It’s probably 100% metal, so no warps, cracks, missing chunks, etc.

    Like 2
  8. Paolo

    These are a lot of fun. Everyone I had was reliable, economical to run and easy to fix. The 283 Powerglide combination is just about bullet proof. They handle like a hippopotamus on roller skates but that’s no matter with such high style.

    Like 1
  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Don’t take my earlier comment wrong on the 348. I personally have had 283’s and love them, not so much a powerglide but that’s life. If I was building a dependable drivetrain, it would have a 283 involved, they’re rock solid. If I was building something for that distinctive sound I’d have to go with a 348 or 409. Not for how thirsty they could be or how much torque they could put out, rather for a feel and sound that went with the era car. Having been in my share of 348’s and 409’s over the years, there was a time when I can point one out at a blocks distance from idle.

    Like 2
    • Steven Ligac

      It’s my understanding that the 283 did not have hardened valve seats. As much as I hear them lauded here on many posts I think I may have been misinformed. Can you help me out here?

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