The Chevy Impala is still one of the most sought after cars to lowride and recently it has been growing in popularity amongst the hot-rod community as well. This constant demand has sent car builders looking far and wide for these cars, and with this demand, the non-compliant builders have moved to building custom four-door and station wagon versions of our beloved Impala. From clean daily drivers to weekend family cruisers and all-out custom rides, theses wagons have graced the pages of LRM and cruised low on streets across the US.
Wagons are great for all of those builders who desire the best of an Impala and the functionality of a midsize SUV. To maximize the storage capacity and to use the extra passenger room available with the flip-up seat, the factory provided the perfect space for a modest sound system to live in the spare tire area. The beauty of the spare tire well is that it’s out of the way and will provide your bass out of the rear side panel much like the newer GM SUVs.
In the past, we’ve shown you how to design and lay out different types of custom enclosures and usually it’s for a hot look or to maximize space. In the case of our wagon, we need to maximize space, make the enclosure fully removable, and of course we want it to look good. The theme for this particular installation was stealth with custom flare. To achieve this, we opted to build the entire system into the side panel and contain it within the factory cover for the stealth effect and dress the installation properly so that when the cover is removed there will be something to write about.
There are always obstacles to contend with in a custom installation, and in our case the decision to mount everything in the side panels could cause heat issues with the amplifiers. To overcome this, we will be using the moving air from the subwoofer to keep things from getting stale. To do this, we need to make sure that there’s a constant supply of fresh air for the subs to use and that the amplifiers have enough room around them to take advantage of this moving air.
Dressing the enclosure and its surrounding area is another key to this installation. In the area under the package tray, we have many luxuries that cannot be taken advantage of in this particular type of installation. First, we have the wide open space that allows us to build a standard box. Next, we have many squared-off areas that provide us plenty of edges to use for a clean-looking yet simple to build beauty panel.
The last thing that immediately comes to mind is the simplicity of the upholstering of this beauty panel. In our confined area, we have multiple angles to contend with, which makes it virtually impossible to create a simple enclosure that will both maximize space and still remain fully removable. As for the beauty panel, or panels in this case, we have compound angles that turn in, up, over and around, thus taking the simple out of our beauty panel. Follow along and watch our small enclosed area turn into an upholstered work of automotive art.