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1964 Impala SS
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Discussion Starter #1
Bringing a Family Heirloom Back to Life!
Hey everyone, I am new to the site and I'm looking forward to having all of this great knowledge and information at my fingertipSS!
Just a little background on my 64' project. The car has been in the family for almost 45 years. My older cousin bought the car off the original owner around 76' or 77' ( not sure of the exact date) when he was about 19yrs and around the time I was born. He owned the car until he unexpectedly passed away in 2002 at the young age of 44. After his passing my aunt and uncle offered the car to my Dad which he accepted. My Dad and Cousin were only 6 yrs apart and were very close growing up. Over the next fifteen years not much progress was made. The car wasn't running anymore when my Dad took it in. He had the motor and transmission rebuilt and brakes overhauled. Pretty much got it in running condition but never tackled a full restoration. Unfortunately my Father passed away in 2017 and I took ownership of the car. It's been a little over 3 years since taking the car and I am ready to start the restoration process!! Long overdue, and I regret not taking the lead on it when my Pops was still alive. But my regrets have led to my determination to get this car back to pristine condition. I plan on doing a frame off restoration. I will be shooting for the Classic factory look. Keeping the same exterior color but undecided on the interior color so far. Some of the work I will be tackling myself but not all of it. Mainly disassembly and mechanical work. Body, paint, upholstery will all be sent out. I plan on working on the frame, suspension, brake lines, fuel lines, etc while the body is being worked on.
Any ideas and/or tips are greatly appreciated. I have never taken on a full restoration before. I can't wait to make my Cousin and Dad Proud!!
 

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Welcome to the site. Sounds like an interesting project and keep us posted on it. We also love pictures if you have some available.
 

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Here's a link to a fellow members (dcairns) '64 restoration:


Somethings in there may be helpful to you.

If you have unlimited funds, space, and facilities; ignore the rest of my suggestions. :)

From this statement:

"... I plan on working on the frame, suspension, brake lines, fuel lines, etc while the body is being worked on...'

It sounds like you have already decided to do a 'frame off'. That's not necessarily required. If you are not dealing with evasive rust, I'd consider not. Your call, you have the car to look at.

Is sending the body off (after separation from the frame) to be worked on realistic? Don't answer to me, only to yourself. I do not know how that would be done, nor any one who would do it (just 'work' on the separated body). But that may simply be my ignorance.

From a 'process' stand point, HAVE A PLAN.

Suggest making an ALL inclusive, living, 'to do' list (a spread sheet?).

Prioritize the work items. Not 1,2,3,....1001, 10002; but in 'categories'.

Something like:

1. Can't drive without fixing
2. Drivable but very irritating; reduced confidence in 'drivability'.
3. Drivable, but can wait.
4. Routine maintenance.
5. Nice to have
6. Dreaming about

Or any categories important to you. The above are mine. My goal was to DRIVE my '63 convertible. It was 'rust' free, and 'drivable' (except for a few no chit items) when I bought it; but it did need painting. Painting was a '5', but I had it done rather early because of other higher priority work I was getting done at the time/place.

Separate 'in house' work from 'farmed out' work.

ID parts required for each item. Track parts prices and acquisition.

PLAN/SCHEDULE the work. Work on higher priority items first but 'mix' in lower ones if economical to do so.

Acquire the 1964 Assembly Manual, the Shop Manual Supplement for 1964, and the 1961 Shop Manual. Those documents provide reliable, accurate, correct (I'm being redundant for emphasis) info on how GM built and serviced the car.

My opinion:

GM ENGINEERED the car. When after market parts are introduced, YOU become the ENGINEER. Be VERY wary of vendors' claims of 'fit', 'bolt-on', etc. MANY are either simply untrue, or incomplete. They leave out all the 'other' parts/changes required to complete an installation. They simply want to sell their wares. The more you stay with the GM engineering, the less the risk. I'm a retired Naval Architect (40 years in the business). Engineering and planning are critical to a complex projects' success.


Here's a link to some more valuable info:


Scroll down, the first page may appear blank.

Attached is a pic of my '63 convertible. Just bragging a little ;)

Pete IMG_1066.jpeg
 

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Sounds like a neat car to put your heart into and a nice project to be proud of when you're done. I'm sure you know you're in for a really big job!

Going all the way to a frame off will be extra challenging. You've definitely got a lot of hours and cost ahead of you!!
Keep in mind that many body/paint shops are booked a month or more in advance, and the same can be said for interior shops. You may want to call ahead as your project gets along and reserve your spot with them.
 

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1964 Impala SS
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all the replies and suggestions. It has been a while since I signed up and made my first post! Between work and working on my project I hardly find the time to jump on the computer and make updates.
I got the car back on the road about two weeks ago after making repairs to the brakes (broken brake line between rear axle "T" and right side wheel. I also changed the oil and rear diff fluid and checked all other fluids before driving it . I put new tires, installed the hub caps and cleaned her up a bit. She's running great right now. Even drove it on the freeway with no problems. The motor and trans were rebuilt around 2004 with only a few hundred miles put on it after that.
I know It's going to be a long road ahead with the restoration but that's what it's all about right? I have no deadline but I am making progress. Right now I'm just finding some missing pieces to the puzzle. Nothing big, just some small items and some accessory items I would like to add. In the past month and a half I have located and purchased (all original parts, no repops here) original fender skirts with original scuff guards, gas door scratch guard, matching side mirror for passenger side door, center console arm pad and emblem, cigarette lighter, various a/c parts, flarestat 4 way flasher switch, tissue dispenser, under dash acc ash tray for a/c models, NOS brake, tail, back up, license plate Lt, amber turn signal lenses, washer fluid bottle bracket, wing window handle and more stuff i can't think of at the moment. The plan is to collect the rest of the missing parts before getting estimates for body and paint. Meanwhile, I will be working on rebuilding front and rear suspension and steering components (in stages). I'm sticking to the stock, factory style with no major upgrades. I'm interested in an air ride system but that will be way in the future when to rest of the car is complete. I floated the idea of disc brakes but have since changed my mind. Why spend the extra money and work for disc brakes on a weekend cruiser when the stock drums are working great right now!! They stop on a dime with great solid pedal pressure, they are Power Brakes by the way!
I am not changing my mind about the frame off. The car NEEDS metal work. That includes the floor pan and trunk pan. I follow a lot of restoration projects as well as shops on Instagram and guys are doing it all the time. No cutting corners when you are already committing to this type of project. Yes it's going to COST but what would be the COST to redo it a second time if you don't do it right the first time??
I am a mechanical guy not a body and paint guy so I will be saving money by doing everything related to frame, suspension, steering, brakes, motor and driveline.
Here are some pictures. Hope to have some more updates in the coming months!


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