Doing America: old-school Chevrolet Impala owners win big
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You’re driving a 1966 Chevrolet Impala?
We imported it last year from America through NZ company L.A Wellington Shipping. It is an original, rust free, Southern California, left-hand drive four-door sedan 283 V8 with 107,000 miles on the clock. I have rebuilt the front end and would love to redo the interior with a few other touch-ups keeping it as original as I can.
What do you like about it?
I like the shape of the 65-66 better than the more popular 63-64 models. I like the size of these old cars as I think they look impressive on the road. And you can’t go wrong with the sound of a V8.
How does it suit your lifestyle?
While waiting to win Lotto so I can finish my project car how I want to, we wanted a cruiser in that we could take out on a Sunday drive with the kids. Something I could spend time on, making small improvements, increasing the value.
If you had to describe this car as a famous person?
Kim Kardashian because of her wide hips and big booty.
What mileage do you get?
18-20L per 100km depending how heavy your right foot is.
What do you do for work?
I have worked for Robertson Holden dealership in Palmerston North for 20 years, starting with my apprenticeship as an automotive technician and working through the departments to the parts department. Leah is now an office manager for Totalspan Manawatu after being a stay-at-home mum to our twin boys who are 8 and daughter, 6.
Anything else in your garage?
I have a project car, rebuilding a Holden HQ sedan, but this is a long-term dream project. I would like to have a two-door coupe, like a Chevelle or Impala.
What do you keep in your car?
Just the essentials, oil, coolant and brake fluid in case of emergencies. Thankfully none has been needed.
How many cars have you had?
I have had about 10 cars. The best was a HSV Maloo; worst was Ford Falcon.
A Ford Laser. It was economical and reliable, but definitely not a chick magnet.
Any you’ve regretted selling?
My VK Commodore, as it was my first taste of owning a V8. Leah used to own an EJ Holden that she brought at Beach Hop one year. She has always regretted selling it once she met a Holden mechanic.
Next car you intend buying?
I am tossing up whether to import another two-door car from America. I might be able to check some out on our Route 66 tour.
How do you describe your driving style?
It is pretty relaxed. However, give me a rally car or track car and I’m anything but casual.
Pro touring 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle. Leah has always wanted a 54 F100 Ute.
Your thoughts on electric and driverless vehicles?
They have a purpose and a place, as long as we still have our classics.
Who got you interested in cars?
My Dad was always into vintage cars but could never afford to own one. When he was younger he tinkered with cars as a hobby, he was a very clever man. It took a few years but he eventually let me drive his prized Torana.
Top three driving songs?
Old Town Road is big with the kids. I lean more toward the classic rock. AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and The Cult’s Fire Woman and Metallica’s Fuel.
Your prize trip coincides with your 40th birthday?
Yes, Leah was going to send me to Bathurst for my 40th but I think her winning this competition is next level. This has been on the bucket list for a long time and something we planned to do when the kids left home. We are looking at going May next year. I am hoping though to check out some wreckers/salvage yards for parts along the way.
How do you think it will be driving the Mustang?
I haven’t driven a late model Mustang but am looking forward to it. Driving on the opposite side of the road is going to take some getting used to, but after a few days it will feel more comfortable. It’s navigating the big cities that may cause the heart rate to increase.