History of 67Plus
My car was 12 years old when I got it in 1979.
It all started 34 years ago with a friend driving into the Auto Shop that I was the manager at. He had a 1967 Chev Impala that he had dug out of a pile of snow on a service station lot in Fenelon Falls. He asked if I knew of anyone who would be interested in buying it. I loved the 2 door hardtop roofline and of further reflection realized the 1967 was the Centennial year. It wasn’t a hard decision after he told me that all of the front end body parts were available --- he worked at a GM dealer and had already sourced the parts. The car came into my possession with 60219 miles according to the safety certificate dated July 25,1979.
I paid the immense sum of $225.00 for the car with the instructions to order the front fenders, inner fender wells, and hood. When the parts arrived I took them to Maaco Auto Body in Oshawa and they put it all together with a fresh coat of Marina Blue paint.
My thinking was that the car being a Centennial year vehicle it might just hold it’s value over the years. 34 years later and the last appraisal in 2005 was for 18,500.00
After driving for a while I decided to reinforce the frame under the passenger’s feet as it was not looking too good. 4 inch channel iron fixed that problem.
I put a trailer hitch on the car and on our honeymoon took the car to the east coast towing a camping trailer. Got to do the Cabot Trail. Wonderful trip.
In 1985 I got a call from a former mechanic who had worked for me and he told me that there was a 1968 Chev Station wagon in Ajax that was going to the wreckers that day. It had a 4 piston caliper front brake system and the car was from California. The car had been parked in front of the owner’s house and a neighbour back out of his driveway right into the left front fender of the car. Insurance wrote the car off and he pulled out all of the parts that he wanted and it was destined for the wreckers. I looked at the car and the frame was completely solid and bonus, it had 4 piston disc brakes. My former mechanic had done some research earlier as he was now working for a company that sold alignment equipment and determined that I could use the 68 station wagon frame on my 67.
I asked what he wanted for the car and he said the wreckers will give me $35.00 and that was his price. I paid him quickly and the he exclaimed “where do you want me to tow it too”? I gave him directions to the Green + Ross location in Oshawa and the car arrived there within a couple of hours. My father came to assist me on the weekend and the car was put on the hoist and all of the body mounts were removed, Monday morning a tow truck came in a lifted the 68 body off the frame. The following weekend the chassis was dismantled and loaded onto a trailer and taken to Redi-Strip in Brampton Ontario to be completely stripped and a fresh coat of epoxy enamel put on the components.
Over the next winter I rented a storage unit and assembled all new parts to the shiny frame. The scariest part was when I put the front springs in, I had them bound when I installed them and after placing them between the control arms I had to cut the metal that was compressing them. Totally scared the crap out of me when that spring bounced into place, trembled for an hour afterwards, and I had only cut one..
The next summer I took the car to Jay’s Auto Body and they went over the car quite well and determined that a section of the floor under the drivers feet should be replaced. He had contacts in the USA and located a floor section that was shipped to Oshawa. The car was stripped down and the floor pan put in. By this time the frame was complete and ready to go under the car, but first the old running gear had to be removed. A little bit of engineering and head scratching and the old frame was removed without any major problems. The new frame went in and then it was time for a fresh repaint. I chose a 1968 Corvette colour slightly darker colour than the original marina blue. The wheels had to be upgraded to 15 inch due to the size of the disc brake rotors. I chose the popular Corvette 15x8 wheel.
The engine had been using a bit of oil and I decided to have it rebuilt, but didn’t want to loose the use of the car for a summer. Another friend was involved in wreck’em races and had his own special engine and each time he bought another car the engine would come out. I bought an engine from him and installed it when I pulled my original engine for a rebuild. Lots of parts were assembled, and the machine shop put it all together and when complete ran it on their own dyno for an hour. 220 horsepower with 195 ft lbs torque
Somewhere along the way the 2 speed powerglide was replaced with a TH350.
Drove the car for a few more years and during one winter had a friend who was a body man replace the new rear quarter panels that I had bought. In doing the body work he intended to do a complete repaint and found the area below the windshield to be rusted out. A decision was made to just fill in the rusted out area with body filler. Years later that would be repaired.
Many trips were take to source parts and things, Carlisle Pennsylvania and Hershey Pennsylvania were 2 of the popular trips that I took over the years I attended the Barrie flea market (when it was just car stuff) and always came home with something
In 1986 the interior of the car was done by Citation Trim and Glass Works, with a correct replacement of the seats, door panels and floor carpets. Years later the bottom portion of the front seat had to be redone by Larry’s Auto Trim and in 2012 Trim Tech Interiors, Larry’s son, repaired a small snag in the drivers side again.
In 2003 the clear coat had turned a milky colour and I decided that it was time to do a MAJOR.Restoration. I took the car to Don Butt Auto Body, Oshawa, in the fall of 2003 and left the car with him. I knew the quality of work that he did and had no concerns about the outcome. I took 2 years for the work to be completed. (He has a very busy retail shop) and also does a limited number of restorations. His restoration staff includes 3 people.
When the car was stripped to bare metal a number of issues showed up. The area below the windshield was the largest concern as that portion of the car when assembled was 3 individual pieces and each piece had to be welded in sequence. A donor dash was found from the USA and it too had to be split back down into those 3 pieces before the installation could take place. The rear quarter panels were split and moved out a bit to enhance the quarter panel lines. The engine had been taken out and completely detailed.
I kept checking in on the progress, anxious, yes, worried no.
Since getting the car back I have had to redo the front disc brake with different rotors as the original rotors were obsolete. At one point I had paid 275.00 for just one original rotor. Much anguish on deciding which way to go for a replacement. The Corvette had a similar hub system and that was used with a 5500 disc brake rotor that fitted over the hub. Brakes work fine.
The transmission had earlier had a shift kit put into it and I decided that I had enough of the jerkiness of the shifting. The transmission was rebuilt and the kit removed. Also while the car was at the shop they looked at the differential and determined that it was not in good shape. It had been making noises for quite some time and the parts required to repair it were also obsolete. I just left it and drove for another 2 summers saving up enough for the rebuild. In 2013 I left the car with Lawrence Transmission in Toronto and they had some reasonably good used gears that they were able to use in the rebuild. Better than and additional $500.00 for a replacement plus labour. It was determined that the axles were badly scored and needed to be replaced as well.
The car is a pleasure to drive and there are not many 67 Impala’s at the car shows, I am usually the only one. The license plate reads “67 Plus” My father used to give me $100.00 for my birthday and one year I decided to do something significant and purchased the personalized plate.
It reflects the fact that the body is a 67 and the frame is a 68 Station Wagon.
The car left the Oshawa plant on May 7, 1967 and was shipped to Regina Motor Product, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 11,631 models of my Impala were built in 1967. I contacted Regina Motor Products but unfortunately after so many years they don’t have any records on the car. How long was it out west?
I don’t have any information as to how it got to Fenelon Falls, Ontario.
I don’t attend too many Show and Shine but prefer to go for a drive to one rather than the same one each time.
Tonight an older lady commented on my car and offered the shopping cart she was pushing as an even trade….. The Chev always draws comments and they are appreciated.
More to come!