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My First '64 Impala

 

Betty is my '64 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan. She has a 327/250-hp V-8, Powerglide automatic, factory air conditioning, and is painted Meadow Green with a green interior.

According to the original factory build sheet I found in the glove box, she was built November 4, 1963 at General Motors' South Gate, California assembly plant near Los Angeles. Chevrolet built 889,600 Impalas in 1964, including 200,172 four-door hardtop Impala Sport Sedans.

My Impala was originally delivered to Enoch Chevrolet in South Gate, California. She spent most of her life in Cambria, California, near the Hearst Castle on the Central Coast.

I'm Betty's fourth owner. I bought her February, 19, 1999 in San Luis Obispo, California. She was pretty much original, with 113,000 miles on the odometer. I drove her the 550 miles back to Phoenix armed only with my cell phone and a freshly minted AAA membership. But she did great, cruising easily at 70-75 mph on the freeway with Chevy's famous Jet Smooth ride. She's a lot of fun to drive with that wonderful small-block V-8, and she handles suprisingly well for a big car (the wider tires and rear anti-sway bar I installed have significantly reduced body lean).

I have gradually restored Betty as time and money allow. In November, 1999, I was able to have all her rust damage repaired and give her a new paint job. In September, 2000, I had the engine rebuilt, and I restored the interior in March 2002. In 2010, with the Powerglide slipping and high-gear on its way out, I upgraded to a THM700R4 4-speed automatice with overdrive, which has dropped highway RPMs by 800 to 1,000 RPM. Mechanically, she's in excellent shape: everything works, including all the lights, the heater and air conditioner, and even the clock.

She'll never be a 100-point restoration, but I bought her to drive and enjoy, which I do often. I moved from Arizona to Oregon in the summer of 2003, and I drove Betty all the way. My dog Hoover and I go to several car shows every year and have taken her on a number of road trips. She drives beautifully and is reliable, comfortable, and powerful, so I'll continue to See the USA in my Chevrolet.

Current Odometer Reading: 175,724
Last Update: January 18, 2011

Base Price (V-8 4-door hardtop)
$2,850.00
327/250-hp. V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts
$94.70
Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission
$199.10
Vacuum power brakes
$43.05
Power steering
$86.10
Four-season air conditioning
$363.70
2-speed windshield wiper/washer
$17.25
Soft-Ray tinted glass
$37.70
Custom deluxe front seat belts
$3.25
Padded instrument panel
$18.30
Push-button AM radio
$58.65
Wire-spoke wheel covers
$57.05
Total Price
$3,828.85

Source: Chevrolet Muscle Car Red Book and Standard Catalog of Chevrolet, 1911-1998.
I also recreated the factory window sticker. You can download a .pdf version here.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $3,828.85 in 1964 is equivalent to $26,932.38 in 2010 dollars. Interestingly, the sticker price for a 2011 Impala LT is $25,605.00.

Copyright ©1999-2011 Gary Dulude. All rights reserved.
Chevrolet, the Chevrolet Emblem, Impala, and the Impala Emblem are registered trademarks of General Motors Corporation. Chevy is a trademark of General Motors Corporation.