The Insane Impala

Acquired from a friend, I had worked on this car off and on from 1997 to 2000. I had intended to use the drivetrain for my illustrious V8 Chevy Sprint project that never materialized (actually, it DID, only later). The car was purchased new by my buddy’s grandfather in 1978, who put very little miles on it.

My friend inherited it and drove it to and from university for years. It was well taken care of, however it was starting to show it’s age. My friend couldn’t sell it, so he gave it to me.

I couldn’t sell it.

While it was stored in the Autoshop compound, some lovely students continuing to fill a much needed void, smoked pot in the car, carved “4:20” in the steering wheel. They also kicked in the windshield, side mirrors, tailights and headlights.





There’s only one thing to do with a car like this…..


So we’ve been using the Impala to explore the various facets of Hotrodding we are usually too responsible or too chicken to do. So far we have accomplished the following:


  • Gutted the interior
  • Gutted the engine compartment
  • Removed the door window frame
  • Skinned the doors
  • Skinned hood and trunk
  • Shaved the door handles
  • Fabricated clear tail lights
  • Fabricated tilt-nose front end
  • Chopped roof 5″
  • Painted Tremclad flat black with yellow flames


  • Installed a Rochester Quadrajet
  • installed chrome valve and timing covers
  • Installed a performance camshaft
  • Fabricated open-filament air filter
  • Fabricated headers


  • Reversed the rims
  • Cut one coil off the rear springs
  • Cut two coils off the front springs
  • Drained shocks and filled with 50W oil


  • Fabricated a chain-link steering wheel
  • Lowered steering column
  • Fabricated instrument cluster
  • Installed P195/50R15 Kumho Ecsta 712 tires
  • Installed “lowered” S-10 bucket seats

After we had finished changing camshafts (305 eats cam lobes – Film at 11!), some unidentified student, mercifully free from the ravages of intelligence, anonymously dropped a screw down the carburetor which we found when it embedded itself into the head of the piston at about 1500rpm.

Pulling the cylinder head to remove the screw showed very little cylinder wear – a testament to frequent oil changes and good maintenance!