Decade of searching for rare Chev pays off

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 07:13 25/03/2014

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Ian Carter admits his 1959 Chevrolet Impala may not be the quickest of its vintage, but that doesn't concern him one bit.

The '59 version of the American classic is a rare sight on New Zealand's roads, most seen in this country were manufactured from the early 1960s onwards.

"It's the only Chevrolet that I've ever wanted to own.

"We'd been on the lookout for 10 years for one to become available."

He found this particular vehicle while trawling through auction website Trade Me and says once he spotted it, he contacted its Auckland-based owner "without any hesitation".

A flight to Auckland with his family later and Carter was happily road-tripping his way back to the family home in his new turquoise acquisition.

He says while the Impala has wide-ranging appeal, there are particular aspects he prefers most.

"I like the horizontal wings as opposed to the vertical wings and the cat's-eye lights at the back. That's what spins my wheels."

Under the hood lies a 283 V8 engine, which he is planning to replace with a 348 nailhead motor, which is year-correct for the car, in the near future.

He also plans to install a dual exhaust system as well as power brakes.

"It will make it more driver friendly, then it will be more of a fun car to drive."

Carter, who lives south of Oamaru, hasn't done any work since purchasing the vehicle, which has it's original motor and gear box installed.

The original wheels also came with it, but they're currently sitting in the boot.

He says it goes well without any modifications having been made.

"It's super quiet and super smooth. It's not overly powerful and doesn't go around corners too well. It's just a cruising car, there's no land speed records at risk."

As is the case with a lot of classic car owners, Carter says he doesn't get his Impala out as much as he should, only once every couple of months.

However, when the occasion calls for it, he's quite happy to fire the engine up.

"If we've got the whole family going somewhere, then the Impala is the car to take."

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- The Timaru Herald

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