Tri-Power Barn Find: 1959 Chevrolet Impala

 

1959 Chevrolet Impala

There are a few automotive designs that always stop me in my tracks, including cars like this 1959 Chevrolet Impala found here on craigslist. The rear end, like an angry man scrunching his brow, is one of the most striking ever made. I’ve always felt this era Impala looks like it’s permanently on its haunches, ready to rip off the line. The seller is a bit tight-lipped on details, and I suspect it’s because he knows he’s got something fairly valuable in his hands – according to Hagerty, ’59 Impala coupes with the 348 Tri-Power V8 command prices in the mid to high 40s, depending on condition. This example appears to just have surface rust to contend with, unless the trunk has rotted through. You’ll also likely need a full interior, but the seller may have just removed it for photos to show off the dry floors? The California black plate indicates that this one may have been off the road for a while (the seller claims since ’69), but it appears to have been stored somewhere fairly dry. Looks like a good project to me!

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Comments

  1. mike d

    once again, am going to show my ignorance.. the red floors.. does this mean the car was originally red? so it would be red/red car? although the black on red is indeed handsome , and would be a real looker when completed I wouldn’t do much to change it, if the engine needs to be rebuilt.. rebuild it … if it is too far gone.. a crate 350,,, dual exhaust with the trumpet extensions and cruiser skirts .. oh, and can’t forget the curb feelers of the time! of course make sure everything with the suspension is ok, HD shocks switch to disc brakes.. and we’re set!

    • Karl

      I believe this car was always black, because the paint on the front fender is so scratched up that a red undercoat would be showing. I’m guessing the interior was black with red seats since the door panels and what’s left of the dashboard are black, but the back seat is red. What confuses me is the red steering wheel. That would look a bit odd with a black dash–maybe it’s from another car.
      I agree with you that black and red would look great here. Oh, for the days when interiors were other colors besides gray!

      Like 1
      • mike d

        Karl, now that I have given it a closer look, the rear fender wells are also black, that would be a painstaking repaint. as for the red back seat, could it be that it isn’t original to the car? maybe it was a black/black car? I think we are all in agreement here as to keep this as close to stock as possible. the reason I mentioned a crate 350 was cost effective (????) not that it would be ” hot rodded” just to have the rumble it had when it was new. the red floor made me think the car was orig red, and I got stuck on thinking the interior was red also I think we both remember the black/red combo was the classic standard

      • Steve

        chevy did not offer a black interior in 59. black started in 60.

    • perry

      can anybody tell me what front bench seat will work in 59 coupe the original was sold

      • Rocco

        A 1960 Chevy ?????

  2. JW454

    I had the younger sister to this one… The 1960 Impala. Mine was just the 283 2 barrell w/ a powerglide but, it was still one of the coolest cars in the high school parking lot. Red top and bottom with a white rolled and pleat interior. It had a bright white Cal-Custom steering wheel too. I was always an “Impala” man. I had 13 all together and at least one for every year from 1958 to 1967

  3. Karl

    It must have cost Chevy a pretty penny in tooling to torture the rear sheetmetal this much. Having said that, I’m surprised at myself how much I like this car. I always did like this roofline, although I liked the more conservative ’61 lower body better. I also like the dashboard with the individual instrument pods, although this one is so trashed that it’s hard to appreciate.
    Considering that it’s the desirable two-door hardtop bodystyle with the rare flamboyant ’59 styling and the tri-power big-block, I have to say that this is a near-unique classic that deserves full and painstaking restoration. You just can’t improve on it’s wow factor.

    • Dan

      I’m sure the red floor is because Chevy used red oxide primer back in the day, and usually that would be found under the carpet as well as under the floor if looked at from a lift, the black paint in the trunk and under the lid indicates it was black.

  4. Charles

    A decent 59 two door hardtop with 348, three two’s,, and a stick shift!!! Holy Shit! To all of the 356 fans in the world, this is a top tier Chevy. The term classic is overused, however it can reasonably applied to this model. No crate engine for this car! The only way to go with this car is a full restoration to factory specs, including a return to the original red color. Black is a good color for this car, but it obviously was not born black. This will be the star of someone’s collection! Microwave some popcorn! This is going to be a show.

    Like 1
    • St.Ramone de V8

      Charles, you’re right. Stick to that 348 and three deuces. No matter what the hassle or cost. And it’s a stick. Love it.

      Like 2
    • John

      Holy Grail car if it all matches. I’m a car nut. I’ve always heard of a 348 with triple carbs. I’ve never actually seen one. I’ve seen lots of 348s, including my Dad’s 61 but they always have had AFBs on them. And a 4-speed! Wow.

      Interiors are available, rare chassis/motor combinations aren’t. Someone should grab this one and put it back to perfect.

      Like 1
      • DAVID KENIRY

        😲I BOUGHT 1 BRAND NEW IN 61
        ORDERED, CENTURY CHEVERLOT INGLEWOOD CA.BLACK N BLACK, IT CAME IN AFTER WAITING 4 60 DAY’S BECAUSE SOMEBODY SHOT THE TRUNK UP WHEN IT WAS ON TBE TRAIN WITH RED & WHITE INTERIOR & WHITE CENTERLINE STRIP I HATED THE COLORS 348 3-2s 4sp 411POSI. 4 AN 18 YR CAR NUT, FROM A 53 BELAIR 2 THIS CAR #5 DRAG RACING OPEN CONTAINER
        TICKET’S. IN 1 NIGHT 4- DIFFERANT TOWN’S THEY USED 2 LET U POOR OUT & IF U COULD WALK THE LINE THEY USUALLY LET U GO WITH TICKET😎

  5. JW

    Always been a fan of the 59 with the ” Cat Eye ” taillights. My sister had the 60 impala and I remember it was the first car I had seen with a 2 piece driveshaft, I was only 14 at the time but wrenching was already taking hold.

  6. RoughDiamond

    This is my dream car. I was born in ’59 and have always loved these from the time I was 8 years-old and saw those cat eye taillights. No price given so that probably means the seller is thinking big bucks. The first thing that would need to be done is to de-rodentize the car.

  7. David C

    My mom and dad had a 1959 when I was a kid growing up in Miami. It was a few years old but like new. Aqua blue inside and out. It was an Impala 4 door, fully optioned. I remember the A/C would freeze you to death. The styling of that car was out of this world! I always felt like I was riding in a rocket ship. Great memory. I love this one! I would save the 348 at all cost. Parts are still pretty easy to come by because they made so many.

  8. Rocco

    Cool car. Too bad the owner doesn’t know what he wants for it. Maybe he’s just showing it off.
    No doubt, you can tell it is a black on black car. I like the idea that it’s a factory floor shift and not on the tree.

  9. Jim

    My uncle had a gorgeous 1959 Impala convertible. The car was so large, it could be raining on the hood, and sunny on the trunk lid! Beautiful shade of light power blue, with the chromed headlight half-covers. It was spotless. Think it had the 348, as I recall. Honestly though, I was never fond of what I called as a kid, the “Chinese-Eye” taillight design with the tipped fins. No offense meant, obviously. Ford and Chevy had difficult times in 1958, and it seemed like they both were trying to recapture some of the “mojo” of the tail fins era…I dunno.

  10. FRED

    one cool car

  11. Healeydays
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That’s odd Healeydays. The craigslist ad was just posted a day ago. The multiple sales on eBay though makes me think there may have been some shill bidding going on or the seller is refusing to let it go for the top bid. Not cool.

      • RoughDiamond

        What is shill bidding? I am probably one of few people who don’t know. How can one determine shill bidding?

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Hey RoughDiamond, thanks for asking. Shill bidding happens when a person sets up fake accounts or enlists their buddies to bid up an auction. The price gets artificially inflated and can give the illusion that a car is worth more than it really is. The whole practice is very dishonest and is a good way to kicked off eBay. It’s hard to catch though so a lot of people get away with it. I dont know if this is the case here, but it does seem fishy. Here is a link to eBay’s policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/seller-shill-bidding.html

      • Healeydays

        Just got a note from the owner. He wants $14,000 obo for the car. Hasn’t answered anything about the Ebay auctions.

  12. mike d

    It now states it is sold on ebay for 12.5K as of 7:00 EDT

  13. Blindmarc

    I’d bet that this is a local car and ran the same streets that it is being sold in. Personally, I’d rebuild the 348 and tri power and leave the rest alone. I lived in SoCal for over 20 years and I think this is a nieborhood hot rod. Someone’s grandfather was kickin ass and taking names

  14. Dan

    I looked through google and others today trying to figure out why the car had black interior wall and door panels…the eBay ad lets you blow up part of the picture and I could see that the panels must have been either dyed or else painted black, all over the place was where it was peeling off and they were actually red as well, so, the whole interior was red originally. That would be correct for this car being as it’s black. I couldn’t find any black interiors for a 59. The steering wheel should have been red and white, or all red. I saw both, maybe the red and white was just in a convertible. I saw several of these cars with this engine which were restored and asking prices of from 75 k to 110k dollars. Whoever got it for 12,500…got a good deal, I think. A friend of mine in Roanoke, Va. who has since passed away, bought one like this new and saved it in his climate controlled garage, when i saw the car 15 years ago, it had 35 original miles on it. He told u a wealthy business guy had offered him 80k for it back then. He wouldn’t sell but, after his death, his widow sold everything he had including 3 nice 57 chevys and a basement full of NOS chevy parts.

  15. Dan

    I found one of the stories which is online about Doc burnettes 35 miles 59 Impala. http://nrvmagazine.com/its-only-original-once/ ….check it out.

  16. RoughDiamond

    Jesse,

    Thanks for the explanation on shill bidding. It’s obviously a dirty tactic and one eBay frowns on heavily. I can see how sellers would be able to get away with it though.

  17. fred

    I remember as a car addicted kid riding in the back of my parents Ford wagon sometime around ’65 and counting the ’59 Chevies because they were so easy to spot. Seemed like over half the cars on the road were ’59’s, they must have sold well.

  18. Larry

    This is one of my dream cars this spec stick 348 3 deuces. Even dual 4s would be ok

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