ImpalasApril 24, 2009
My bike commute brings me past this old row of small storage garages deep in West Philly. Once last week I caught a very quick glimpse of the grill and headlights of a classic Chevy. So when I rode by bright and early this morning and saw this fella working on the same car I had to stop.
The owner’s name is Franklin and he’s originally from South Carolina. He was kind enough to fill me in on this beauty. Sure enough, it’s a 1971 Chevy Impala with a 454 cu. inch big block in it; I didn’t even know they put those monsters in Impalas. He’s restored it with true-to-original vinyl top, all new interior, paint, etc. He had the engine torn apart this morning and said he’d have it pulled out by the end of the day and put back together by June. Sounds like he works a bit faster than I do.
Anyway, I gave him the address of this here site and told him to let me know when it’s finished. Told him I’d take some nice pics of it if he promised to give me a ride.
Reason being, I had almost the identical car and I still dream about it, I swear, every other night. Damn I miss that thing. It was great. I was 16 and saved up $1,500 working at the pharmacy. It was a 1970, but a Southern car so it was mint. All original. It had, no lie, the largest trunk ever produced. One time in high school, I shit you not, I snuck two full-size coolers full of beer and two friends into the drive-in with it.
[Tangent: one time, same drive-in, (now a WalMart) true story, my buddy brought his little brother with him. Kids under 15 were half-price or free or something. When the ticket-taker questioned whether he was really under 15 he replied “Of course. You wanna see my license?”. “Nah, I believe you. Go ahead.” said the cashier.]
I also had it all through college. One time I fit six kegs in it (or was it 5? Could’ve even been 7), 3 in the trunk, 2 in the back seat. It was my “summer” car; I also had a “winter” car- a Chevette. Seriously- how did I afford such an extravagant lifestyle making $3.15 an hour??
Anyway, I had that car for years and when I moved to Philly I stored it in my old man’s barn. The mice had a good time with it. I’d come home and drive it around a bit. The heater blew mouse crap-smell since all the vents were stuffed with nests.
Finally my Dad had to make room for more of his junk (he recently inherited my Grandfather’s 1935 Chevy by the way) so I had to sell it about 10 years ago.
I have better pictures of it than this one but this hangs in my office next to my computer.
Darn I miss that thing. Did I say that already?
Let me know when yours is done, Franklin!
Friends, I urge you to share your favorite memories of my Chevy in the Comments section below. Kim, Sarah, Tracy- the time the cops got us for underage drinking, or the time I found 3 bucks at the drive thru window and threw it out the window cuz Kim claimed it was hers? Lee? The time Bufu tried to nail a sign with my brand new riot stuck and broke it in half?