On October 2004, Anthony Bruno of Oakley, C.A., purchased his 1959 Impala Convertible. “That was it for me,” says Anthony as he describes his thoughts on how the ’59 Impala is a one-of-kind car. “That’s the craziest they [Chevy] got with the body style,” says Anthony excitedly. “The wings are all crazy, just about everything about that year seems to be over done and exaggerated. It almost looks like a custom car, but it’s stock!” Anthony’s enthusiasm for this model year is unparalleled, and it was obvious that he would create a unique restoration for himself.
Anthony’s dad always fixed up cars, and even showed the young man a picture of a ’64 that was slammed. He credits being a car painter as his entry into Lowriders, something that began over 15 years ago. He got into painting because he couldn’t afford to pay someone to paint his cars for him. One of his first cars was a ’67 Bug, which he got ready for paint. “I paid someone a few hundred dollars to paint it for me,” says Anthony with a laugh.
After the Bug project came a ’66 Impala, which Anthony built from the ground up. He ended up getting rid of it to pick up a ’60 project. Anthony also built that car himself, but this time he gave it a candy purple paintjob. His dream car has always been a ’59 Impala and when the opportunity came for him to get a ’59 hardtop, he wasted no time in making the deal. One of Anthony’s uncles sells ’59 and ’60 Impala parts, and he knew about his nephew’s infatuation with these model years. “My uncle is the one that hooked me up with the guy who owned it,” says Anthony. He and Cory Howard took a trip to San Jose to pick up the car. “I thought I got a good deal on the car,” says Anthony with a laugh. Once the car was brought back and taken apart, Anthony unfortunately found out that the car needed just about everything in rebuild work done to it. From the passenger and trunk floors, to both quarter panels and in between, the car was a mess beneath the surface.”It turned out to be a border line throw away car,” says Anthony in disgust. At that point, Anthony was unsure if he was going to be able to restore it at all. “My wife told me to finish it and not leave it, because I still had my ’59 hardtop that was very clean and cruise-ready.”
Anthony heeded the advice. “Everything on the car has been redone, except the front windshield,” says an exhausted Anthony, who rebuilt the Chevy with the help of his friends Cory Howard, Adrian Hernandez, and Jose Hernandez. Anthony almost went with a candy purple paint job like the one on his ’60, but after seeing how the ’59 ragtop turned out with red, he decided that “red is definitely the color for that car.”
His future plans for the car include cutting it, molding the frame, doing another frame off on the car, and totally redoing it. “I feel I can do better,” says Anthony. “We are working on a few cars right now, so it will be a while before I get to it.”Anthony would like to thank his friends Cory Howard, Adrian Hernandez, Jose Hernandez, and give special gratitude to his wife and kids.
Owner: Anthony Bruno
Vehicle: 1959 Impala Convertible
City/State: Oakley, CA
Club: Traffic NorCal Chapter
Body and Paint: Anthony and Corey Howard replaced both quarter panels and new sheet metal was added throughout the car. As a car painter, Anthony took on the task of laying out the red paint that went perfectly on the ’59 convertible
Engine: New 350ci with multiple chrome accessories. The transmission is a 350 turbo.
Interior: The modified stock interior was stitched together by David Robles of David’s Custom Upholstery in Antioch, CA
Set up: Air Ride System
Sound System: Chico Domatay of Oakley, CA hooked up the whole Kickers system. Anthony plays his tunes with his Ipod.
Tires: 13-inch skinny white walls
Wheels: 13-inch chrome Sinsiters