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Shark of the Month October 13
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One of my bucket list items was to have another performance oriented car before I got too old to work on it or enjoy it. I started off looking at the new muscle cars currently available (Camaros, Vettes, Mustangs, and Challengers). I keep up with what's going on in the 4 wheeled world by reading a lot of car mags plus watching too many hot rod shows on TV. My dad was always a Chevy guy and I followed in his foot steps on that, so about 14 months ago I test drove a new Corvette Gran Sport and a Camaro SS. Imagine my horror when I discovered that they had shrunk those models to the point where it was very difficult for me to get in or out. (It couldn't possibly be the roughly 50 lb weight increase I've had since owning my last Z-28 back in the '90s!)

I'd always admired the mid-'60s full size Chevy's (Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala, Caprice) that you could actually buy with big block motors, 4 speeds, and 12 bolt rear ends. So off I went in a nearly year long search for a 1965 Impala. '65s were the first of the 'coke bottle' styling and I was always a sucker for those double chrome rings on the tail lights. It took about 10 months of looking all over Florida as well as scanning EBAY Motors and Hemings (and several other car enthusiast websites) multiple times a day before I finally found the right car for me.

My Impala was manufactured in the old Los Angeles plant and was purchased new by a guy who lived in the high dessert out east of LA. When I bought the car it had not been registered for 19 years. The original owner parked it in his carport when he became unable to drive. Upon his death, the second owner bought the car and had it repainted, and dropped a mostly all new drive train into it. 19 years in a car port was plenty long enough for the mice to destroy every inch of the interior and all the trim was still off it with some pieces missing. Then owner #2 had a major life change and moved to northern most Maine and decided to buy a B&B. Having sold his house and moved to Maine with his wife, his Impala was in storage in his friend's machine shed back in SoCal and he put it on Ebay. We went back and forth and it was obvious he was anxious to sell so I made him an offer that was well below market value and he accepted it. In fact, he also offered to pay half the shipping costs which was a nice bonus.

I'll tell you about the drive train and overall condition in an upcoming post here in a day or so.
 

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Great story. Can't wait to see. And I hear you on the full-size big-block GMs ...I own a 68 Buick Wildcat 2door hardtop. And I love it.
 

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Sounds fun to me! I do V twin bikes and Muscle Cars for a living. Keep us posted on it and make sure to post a lot of pics along the way.
 

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Shark of the Month October 13
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Discussion Starter #9
You grizzled old bastard.....you know I have the attention span of a Knat........I can't read all that crap....post some damn pics would ya.


Love Ya Unc and glad you are back
Sorry Cuz, I forgot you rode the short bus all 11 years of grammar school. It's OK, I'm a 'visual learner' too. First of all I have to figure out how we now post pics, apparently there's been some changes since I last posted pics here. Secondly, I only have two pics at the moment and they aren't that good. The car is finally coming home on Monday, so I'll be able to get some pics taken next week and posted. I went and visited the car today and it was the first time I'd seen it sitting on the ground on the new wheels/tires that I had picked out for it. When I clicked the AccuAire button to drop it down on the bags - it looked f'ing killer!
 

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Shark of the Month October 13
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7,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
1965 Impala build

OK, the reason I gave you a lot of detail about where it came from and how I acquired it was for a couple of reasons. First of all let me say that I've never spent more than a few hundred bucks buying anything sight unseen, but that's what I did with this car. I had several conversations with the 2nd owner, his paint shop, and his engine builder and was still as nervous as a whore in church committing that kind of money to something I had never laid eyes on. In the 3 weeks it took to get it transported to my house, I was shitin' greenies the whole time, worried about whether or not it would be as solid as it was described. The only thing I had going in my favor was that being single, I had no one standing behind me waiting to give me shit for the next 20 years if the car had proven to be something different than what I was lead to believe. No worries, this 53 year old car has zero, no , nada, not even one spot of rust in the body. It has all the benefits of it having spent it's entire 53 years in the dry high desert of SoCal. Floor pans, trunk pans, rockers, rear wheel well lip, .... all the places you typically find rust on one of these was all original sheet metal and was solid as the day it was manufactured. I am thrilled to find such a solid car.

Now I'll tell you about the drive train that owner #2 had built and installed.

Motor:

355 4 Bolt Main ATK Block with Powdered Metal Rods
10.5 Comp Keith Black Pistons
Dart Aluminum Heads with port matched Dart aluminum intake
GM "Hot" roller cam with 1:6 roller rockers (It's lumpier than my ex-wife's ass!)
Howard's variable lifters
Edelbrock Carb 650
MSD Distributor and ignition
Pacesetter Headers w/ 2.5" exhaust with cross over
Heavy duty aluminum radiator with Stahl electric fan


Transmission:

Turbo 400 Transmission with 2200-2400 RPM stall converter
B&M Megashifter with NHRA/IHRA approved reverse lock out


Rear end:

10 bolt completely rebuilt with new Yukon (3:73) ring and pinion gears and new Yukon posi-traction unit
Yukon heavy duty 28 spline axles

In addition there is a new gas tank, fuel pump, and new steel gas lines from front to back

The engine builder said he had not dyno'd the motor but built it with an emphasis on TQ with this full size/heavy car. He did say that from his experience it should be in the neighborhood of 520 HP and 540 TQ. His primary business is building race motors for both drag and circle track racers.

When it was delivered it was running but only had 8 miles on it. Today it has about 30.

The front brakes were converted to discs, and the suspension was new stock type with a 1" drop in front.

The body was taken down to metal and resprayed the original factory Ermine White. It then got a new windshield and rear window, new bumpers were installed, and much of the exterior trim had been straightened and polished.

When it got here that's pretty much what I had. That, and a lot of exterior trim and badging in the trunk along with a few interior trim pieces. The car had absolutely no interior - as the car sat in a car port for 17 years and then was in the build process for 2 more. Needless to say the field mice had plenty of time to destroy every element of the interior. The first think I did was to finish gutting everything out of the interior - the seats are just metal frames and springs with no foam, no nothing. A lot of the small trim and emblems were either crap or missing altogether so I've been chasing down all those pieces.

Later, on the next post here I'll cover what's been done to the car since it arrived.
 

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Shark of the Month October 13
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7,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I should add here that owner #2 who had the car for a bit less than 2 years never registered or drove the car - other than driving it off the roll-off and into his garage. Once he bought it the original drive train (283, Powerglide transmission, and non-posi rear end) were pulled out and new replacements ordered. While the mechanicals were being acquired, the car was stripped of every single piece of trim (interior and exterior) and repainted. The poor bugger had almost $25K in the car and never got to drive it!
 

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Shark of the Month October 13
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7,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Pics to come next week. The car is currently at a hot rod shop getting new suspension installed. Will have it back on Tuesday, then pics within a day or two.
 

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My first car was a 65 Impala, dark blue two door coupe. 283 with a powerglide. Then I bought a Black coupe with a 409. The 409 had a lot more motor than brakes and suspension. And a serious thirst for hi-test. About 9 mpg.


If that 65 you have was originally a low horse power small block, then you need to check to see if the rear has one or two upper link arms. Most only have one upper link, and its real easy to yank it out of the cross member.
 

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Shark of the Month October 13
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7,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thermodyne - Thanks for the warning about the rear suspension. Your blue '65 color was called Danube Blue, and if you got a 409 it was produced early in '65 model year because they discontinued the 409 and replaced it with the 396 in February. The 1965 Impala was the highest volume nameplate ever for all the GM marques all time, a record that stands today. The new coke bottle styling was a huge hit. They produced 1.7 million Impalas that year.

The amazing thing is when you go to research what engine, transmission, and rear end options were available in '65 there was an almost limitless choice of options.

"The buyer of a new 1965 Impala had a choice of 10 engines ranging from the standard 230-cu.in., 140hp straight-six all the way to the tire-shredding 425hp, 396-cu.in. big-block V-8. After the base 230, you could opt for a 250-cu.in. straight-six, then two optional 283-cu.in. small-block V-8s with either 195hp or 220hp. The 220hp version came with a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhausts and resonators. Next up were two 327-cu.in. V-8s with either 250hp or 300hp. Then came the 396-cu.in. big-block V-8s with 325hp and 425hp.

The 396 engine was introduced in February 1965 and was destined to replace the 409, which was still available in 340hp and 400hp versions. By this time, the 409 had become outdated; the 425hp version was dropped, and eventually, the engine was ousted from the option list due to low sales. During the 409's final year, just 742 of the 400hp versions were sold and 2,086 of the 340hp engines found their way into 1965 Impalas."

Transmission options included 3 on the tree, three on the floor, four on the floor (M20), the close ration HD 4 on the floor (M22 "Rock crusher"), the 2 speed automatic "Powerglide", and finally, the 3 speed TurboHydramatic 400.

Then add to all those choices all the various rear gear ratios you could get with either the 10 bolt or 12 bolt rear ends. The options available in '60s was mind blowing. A far cry from today when in most cases your only options are navigation and moon roofs!
 

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Thermodyne - Thanks for the warning about the rear suspension. Your blue '65 color was called Danube Blue, and if you got a 409 it was produced early in '65 model year because they discontinued the 409 and replaced it with the 396 in February. The 1965 Impala was the highest volume nameplate ever for all the GM marques all time, a record that stands today. The new coke bottle styling was a huge hit. They produced 1.7 million Impalas that year.

The amazing thing is when you go to research what engine, transmission, and rear end options were available in '65 there was an almost limitless choice of options.

"The buyer of a new 1965 Impala had a choice of 10 engines ranging from the standard 230-cu.in., 140hp straight-six all the way to the tire-shredding 425hp, 396-cu.in. big-block V-8. After the base 230, you could opt for a 250-cu.in. straight-six, then two optional 283-cu.in. small-block V-8s with either 195hp or 220hp. The 220hp version came with a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhausts and resonators. Next up were two 327-cu.in. V-8s with either 250hp or 300hp. Then came the 396-cu.in. big-block V-8s with 325hp and 425hp.

The 396 engine was introduced in February 1965 and was destined to replace the 409, which was still available in 340hp and 400hp versions. By this time, the 409 had become outdated; the 425hp version was dropped, and eventually, the engine was ousted from the option list due to low sales. During the 409's final year, just 742 of the 400hp versions were sold and 2,086 of the 340hp engines found their way into 1965 Impalas."

Transmission options included 3 on the tree, three on the floor, four on the floor (M20), the close ration HD 4 on the floor (M22 "Rock crusher"), the 2 speed automatic "Powerglide", and finally, the 3 speed TurboHydramatic 400.

Then add to all those choices all the various rear gear ratios you could get with either the 10 bolt or 12 bolt rear ends. The options available in '60s was mind blowing. A far cry from today when in most cases your only options are navigation and moon roofs!

My first Impala was the 65, and the last was a 95 SS. Had the 65 409 and a 72 350 in between. Nice used ones were real affordable till the taxi industry took an interest in them.
 

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Shark of the Month October 13
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7,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Finally! The Impala is back home in it's garage after having spent several months at a professional hot rod shop in Sarasota having Vintage Air A/C installed. They also replaced all suspension parts with new Ride-Tech and AccuAire components. They also did a handful of small jobs for me including mounting and balancing of tires/wheels and taking it for a front end alignment. I was hoping to get some updated pics posted here but personal commitments had me tied up the last two days and now we have Tropical Storm Gordan messing up the next couple days with heavy rains. The plus side is that we're hoping the storm will break up and dilute the red tide problem we've had for about 2 months now. I'll get updated pics this coming week but here's what I have for now.

1) Billet Specialties wheels - titanium colored center section with a diamond cut (looks like brushed stainless) rim portion. 18" x 8" on front / 20" x 10" rears with 225 x 40 Nittos on front and 275 x 40 Nittos on rear.

2) pic of car the day I received it off the transport from SoCal. Excellent body and paint, terrific pro built motor, and everything else needs doing

3) car on lift with wheels being 'mocked up' so that we could measure for maximize tire size before ordering tires
 

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