Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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This Restomod ’63 Impala was Built for Driving. So What's it Like Behind the Wheel?

Posted September 10, 2021 4:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: chevrolet Impala

Driving and reviewing a custom-built car requires a slightly different approach than one would take for an example of Detroit's latest and greatest. One of these is an item you can buy at a dealership; the other was constructed to the tastes and whims of a single person. In the case of the Roadster Shop-chassis’d ’63 Impala we covered in Hemmings Muscle Machines, those tastes and whims belong to Barry Blomquist, the man who commissioned its construction. Drivability was the key: He wanted something that he could hop in at a moment’s notice and take anywhere, at any time.

So what's it like to drive another person's fully-realized custom dream? The first thing that hits you, perhaps beyond the enormity of the wheels, is just how low it is. That’s the Roadster Shop chassis, which ditches the Chevy's flexy X-frame in favor of a full-perimeter frame and a bespoke suspension setup that uses compact coilovers, no hydraulics nor airbags, in a bid to make as much room as possible for modern-size footwear. It’s hard to tell without a side-by-side comparison, but without changing a body line this ’63 feels like it’s been slammed six inches or so, and there’s a distinct nose-down stance to boot. That lowness manages to make it look bigger and wider, if you can believe such a thing. Yet despite the Impala being a full-size car, it feels more like a second-gen F-body to get in and out of: a wide door but a low roof means that your 6-foot-1-inch tester, with his moon-sized noggin and size-52-Gorilla shoulders, still has to bend at odd angles in order to slip in and out.

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Re: This Restomod ’63 Impala was Built for Driving. So What's it Like Behind the Wheel?

09/11/2021 8:03 AM

I don’t get why anyone would want to lower this car. To each his own I suppose.

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Re: This Restomod ’63 Impala was Built for Driving. So What's it Like Behind the Wheel?

09/11/2021 8:30 AM

I don't get it either. I believed as a teenager and still believe that that was one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Perhaps surpassed only by the early to 66 Corvettes, 65 to 69 corvairs, end the porthole Thunderbird. And of all of those, I've only had opportunity to drive the 65 Corvair. But I have driven several Impalas from 63 on. And as much as I loved my Corvair even for Highway use, cruising in a stock Impala was more fun than virtually any other car I've ever driven. Why mod a good thing, no, I correct myself why mod a wonderful thing?

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