Albuquerque, New Mexico, appears in many minds as one of those places where you would be driving down the road and find abandoned cars in peoples’ yards just waiting to become that next project car. Well, in all actuality, the Duke City’s all that, as Marcos Herrera found to be the case, but it was a search through his local for-sale ads that led him to this ’66 Chevy Impala SS convertible. His find was actually accidental, because the car that he was there to look at was a ’63 Impala with no motor or tranny. After noticing the ’66, Marcos inquired about it and was told that it too was for sale for $600.

On opening the trunk, a chicken flew out. The car was a mess realistically, but Marcos, being a body and paint man by trade, knew what was possible. Marcos said to himself that if the car started and ran that he would buy it. A battery was thrown in and, with the turn of the key, the car fired up and ran. The next day, Marcos returned with the money, four bald tires to replace the cinder blocks that it had been sitting on for years and drove the car home to begin his six-year odyssey.

The arrival of the vehicle at home brought some long stares and plenty of laughs from Marcos’ friends and family. There’s something about a car with five different color panels, missing moldings and looking like something that a train hit that doesn’t seem very convincing when you start talking about how nice the car is gonna be when it’s done.

Hard work, sweat and tears are just what the doctor ordered for this car and all of them were put in to get the body in shape for paint. Marcos took a hand grinder to the entire body, taking it down to the bare metal, and dived head first into the body work and paint. Since the car’s purchase in ’98, you can see that it’s been through some major changes, largely thanks to Marcos’ talented hands.

This hands-on attitude is something that Marcos is a big advocate of, telling us, “I just want the younger generation to know that it’s better to take the time to build your own car instead of taking it to a shop. It means more if you build it yourself and you learn something in the process.” Marcos continues to learn as he takes his car to the next level and we’ll be watching him laugh all of the way there.

Tech SpecsQ-Vo ’66Owner: Marcos Herrera

Vehicle: ’66 Chevrolet Impala SS convertibleCity/State: Albuquerque, New MexicoClub: Uce C.C.-Albuquerque

Engine/Drivetrain: Stock 283-c.i.d. small-block connected to a two-speed Powerglide transmission keeps it simple and in the right direction. Dual 12-inch glass-packs send out that rat-a-tat-tat.

Body/Paint: Marco, being a body and paint man by trade, handled it all. The body lines, factory seams and trunk emblems were shaved. All of the old paint was removed with a 36-grit grinder. Marcos mixed his own paint, starting with Mitsubishi blue then adding green and violet. The murals were brought to life by Marro Moya of Albuquerque.

Interior: There’s no eating of any sort to be done in this white crushed velvet biscuit and wrinkle interior. The front swivel front buckets take it back in time, along with the wrapped dash and custom loveseat in the rear. Steve Montoya of Montoya Upholstery in Bernalillo, New Mexico, did the honors.

Sound System: The sweet sound of the glass-pack exhaust singing are all that Marcos needs to hear.

Setup: Unusual would be the best way to describe this setup. A single Luxor chrome pump in the engine compartment runs the two 8-inch chrome cylinders in the front. Gold 2-ton springs keep things suspended and the whole system runs off of the stock car battery. One switch, one dump and one solenoid finish it up for an up and down affair on the front end only. Lance MacIntosh of Show Quality Customs in Albuquerque performed the suspension work. Duke City plating in Albuquerque took care of the chrome and gold plating.

Tires: P155/75-R13

Wheels: 13×7 chrome Dayton