Ray's Chevy Restoration Site

Photos and History of Dad's 1963 Impala SS

Page 1 of 6 ... May 1995 - April 1997

Before Photos, Front Suspension, and Engine

This photo was taken in the spring of 1995 (shortly after Dad purchased the car). He started out using the car as a daily driver before we started the restoration.


The Impala came from the southern U.S. so the frame was rust-free. The rest of the body work looked okay from a distance, but a closer inspection revealed peeling and chipping paint due to excessive build up (about 6 or 7 coats). There was also some rust along the bottom edges of the doors and around the rear wheel openings. Many of the stainless and aluminum mouldings also had a fair amount of rust hiding under them.


The interior was a complete disaster. The seats, dash, headliner, and rear package tray had been covered with some sort of red corduroy material that was worn and faded. The dash had been repainted with some orange-red paint and the door panels were torn and deteriorated. The carpet on the floor was the only half decent looking part of the interior.


This is the 283 cu. in. engine that was in the car. A previous owner had installed a late 70's 4bbl carb and intake topped off with a rusty chrome air cleaner lid. One of the valve covers had been replaced with one with an oil filler hole since the newer intake didn't have provisions for that. Since many of the original parts were missing and we already had a period correct 327 we decided to replace the 283. We did retain the original PowerGlide transmission.

In the meantime (while dad was using it as a daily driver) we did clean up the 283 a bit and put on a 2bbl carb and intake.

Start of Restoration:

We started the restoration in the winter of 1996/97. We started by stripping the car down to the firewall and cleaning things up.

After removing several layers of old paint, we finally made it down to the original factory paint. Fortunately, the firewall had enough oil and dirt on it that the other paint did not stick very well. This made the cleaning process easier.

With the firewall down to the factory paint, there was some evidence of minor rust damage around the heater box opening (probably had a leaky heater core at one time). However, the damage was not very severe and there were no holes or deep rust pits.

We also cleaned the front frame section and suspension.

And here is the firewall with a fresh coat of paint in the original color (Ermine White). According to an article in Late Great Chevy, 1963 was the change-over year to black firewalls. Early 63's (like Dad's) had body color firewalls and later 63's were black.

With the firewall all re-painted, we began installing all of the parts that were removed earlier. Several of the parts (like the wiper motor and heater box) were simply cleaned and painted. All of the seals and grommets were replaced with new ones.

April 1997 - My uncle rebuilt the 327 and the PowerGlide. I painted the engine in its original Chevrolet Orange color before we installed it. Next, we put the front sheetmetal back on and removed the interior before taking the car to a body shop.

Continue on to Page 2 (January 1998 - January 2000 ... Body, Paint, and Trim)

Skip to Page 3 (January 2000 - August 2004 ... Interior and After Photos)

Skip to Page 4 (August 2004 - April 2007 ... 409 Engine Rebuild)

Skip to Page 5 (October 2007 - February 2012 ... Suspension Rebuild and Engine Compartment Detailing)

Skip to Page 6 (February 2012 - present ... 409 Engine Install)

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