1963 Chevy Impala Convertible – Rags To Riches

This 1963 Chevy Impala Convertible is a classic lowrider, known for its elegance and class. Bold, symmetrical, seamless lines race down the body of this Chevy made beauty, making it one of the quintessential and top choice cars among all lowrider enthusiasts. Living up to this legacy instantly puts pressure on any potential builders, and this was no different for Dee as he gave birth to his own vision of the perfect 1963 Chevy Impala Convertible.

Growing up in the roughneck community of Compton, California, Dee was simply born into the lowrider culture, that surrounded him, even at an early age. In fact, he fondly reminisces on the countless afternoons he spent as a child watching his neighbors cruise up and down the boulevard in their larger-than-life rides. He adored the fact that these stunning vehicles represented the heart and soul of Los Angeles to the fullest, and he always knew that someday he had to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece to call his own.

Living this hard life in Compton, Dee found it a struggle to merely stay alive, let alone to be able to provide and care for his family. Making ends meet was a day-to-day stress for him, so he did what he had to do, tucking his pride, as well as his lowriding dreams close to his heart, vowing to always stay true to both. In the end, it all paid off and through continuous hard work and determination, Dee’s dreams of one day owning a classic 1963 Impala convertible would finally become a reality. Since this car represented his favorite model of Impala, he named it “Rags to Riches”, symbolizing the trials and tribulations and rough transition of Dee’s life, as he grew from a child of the ghetto into a self-made, and independent man.

“Rags to Riches” is seen as a show car to most, but not to Dee. Not wanting a one-dimensional automobile, he feels that this car wasn’t built to just be on display, it was actually built to grace the road with its unparalleled sophistication and style. “I wanted to keep the original color tone of the car,” explains Dee. “The main thing that makes my car unique is that I kept it old school, but I definitely managed to add my own flavor to it,” he adds, beaming with pride. Gazing at the exterior of this beauty, it’s easy to see that Dee means what he says, what with its fine PPG Pewter paint job, prepared by Victor of Bowtie and sprayed by Nino of Holix body shop. In addition, the exterior of the car was accented with pin stripping done by Curly of Long Beach. The outside of the vehicle alone shows that this ’63 definitely means business.

The motor can also hold its own, on any given day. “The motor is the most important part of the car for me”, Dee states. “It’s the first thing that everyone seems to look at”. For reliability and performance, his ragtop received a GM Performance ZZ4 383 crate motor that was built by Sal AKA “Fuzzy” of Bowtie Connection of Torrance, CA. The engine was painted to match, and was bolted up to a 350 transmission which allowed the car to run better on the highway as well as to handle the torque from the 383 engine. A Street and Performance serpentine pulley kit, was used to modernized the pulley system to help keep the car in tip top running shape. To allow the engine to breathe properly a few things were done. Dee added an Edelbrock intake and Carburetor combination, as well as a Walter Prosper custom air cleaner to allow the carb to breathe. The car was then taken to Gene’s Mufflers in Downey, CA, who installed a custom Flowmaster exhaust system and ceramic coated Hedman headers. In order to keep the car running cool despite its heavy chrome quotient, a Matson aluminum radiator was used.

With significant engine power now added, the car had to receive a fully reinforced frame to keep it from twisting under the stress from all that torque. Cesar of Homies Hydraulics took care of the frame which was ground smoothly, leaving it properly molded. Richie and Vince installed the three pump set up, which featured aluminum blocks, chrome fittings, and three Adex square dumps for accuracy. 12 31-series batteries powered the hydraulic set up, and with all of this new weight lying in the trunk, additional modifications had to be added to the suspension. The stock suspension was thrown out and replaced with a new Ford 9-inch rear end, with fully boxed and re-inforced trailing arms. The front received molded A-arms that included the upper arms with a 1/2-inch extension to allow the tires to ride straight when driving. For quick stopping power under the duress of the car’s weight and power, a set of ABS disc brakes was added for performance.

While the car was at the hydraulic shop, the car’s sound system was designed as the interior and hydraulics were also coming to fruition.. Gordo of 562 Customs installed the Alpine head unit and amplifiers which powered up the midrange speakers and woofers. The custom panels that hold the amplifiers were given to Freddie and Big Sun who worked their magic on the interior. Freddie and Big Sun refurbished the power bench seat and installed a Cars One interior kit. They also wrapped the sound system panels and installed the stay fast convertible top on the chrome plated convertible cage. Along with these additions, Dayton wheels were placed on the car to keep it rolling and looking fresh, with the final plating done by Sergio at Metal Finishes of East LA.

“I like to give props, but that’s where it stops,” says Dee, and with that being said, you can definitely see why this 1963 Chevy Impala Convertible has received its fair share of props within the streets and from car enthusiasts alike. Patience and attention to detail are the keys to building the ultimate Lowrider, and Dee’s six-trey is no exception, as it is truly a fine and fully functional automobile. Dee wants to give special thanks to the people who inspired him as a youngster. He also sends his respect to “Little Turtle”, Little Terry, the homie JJ, and a special thanks to “G” from the Majestic.

Rags To Riches

Owner: Dee

Vehicle: 1963 Impala convertible

City/State: Compton, California

Club: No Affiliation

Engine/Drivetrain: GM Performance ZZ4 383 crate motor, A Street and Performance serpentine pulley kit, was used to modernized the pulley system. To allow the engine to breathe properly, an Edelbrock intake and Carburetor combination, as well as a Walter Prosper custom air cleaner was used.

Body/Paint: A PPG Pewter two-stage paintjob, was prepared and sprayed. The paint was accented with pin stripping done by Curly of Long Beach.

Setup: A three-pump set up, which featured aluminum blocks, chrome fittings, and three Adex square dumps for accuracy powered by 12 31-series batteries.

Tires: 155/80R13s

Wheels: 13×7 Dayton Wire Wheels