Many of you will agree that the Chevrolet Impala personifies the Lowriding lifestyle. Introduced in 1958, the Impala’s unique body styles and lowered stance up and until 1976, are a step away compared to the more conservative design of Chevy’s the last 35 years or so. Today, that shape is precisely what draws the Lowriding culture to that model of car, which is highly coveted in the scene.
The 1964 Impala in particular, is the most sough-out model/year partly due to its own popular culture highlighted in Hollywood films and west coast rap songs and videos. The ‘64 Super Sport (SS) and the elusive convertible are even more exclusive. Due to its traditional design and shape, customization is usually simplified as the body style alone speaks for itself.
The ’64 Chevy Impala could be called the “King” within the Lowrider culture and sport, so we compiled a list of the top 10 most popular features based on website popularity over the past decade – the builds you clicked on most. From Jason Johnston’s chromed out “Southern Smoke” Impala, to Andy Rodriguez’s snakeskin green ’64, the features below are all unique builds that turn heads wherever they go.
At the end you will also find a few show winning Legends we had to give props to.
1964 Chevrolet Impala | Southern Smoke
Article excerpt: “When Jason bought his car, it was a solid builder that he purchased through eBay. He paid $2,000 for it and within five years on a modest income, he was able to turn it into the Lowrider of his dreams. Before long, the Impala was equipped with a new GM Performance small block 350, Street and Performance serpentine pulleys, an air cleaner, and valve covers. Jason kept the engine running cool courtesy of a BeCool radiator and with aluminum and paint throughout the engine compartment; the car’s lines were hard- lined.”
Why we love it: “Ever since Jason picked up his first magazine off of a friend’s coffee table back in ’92, he always dreamed that he would build a car of the magazine’s caliber but never imagined that one day he would be reading about it.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala – Southern Smoke
1964 Chevrolet Impala and 1984 Buick Regal | Catch Me 64 and the Aftermath
Article excerpt: “The car was pulled off the frame and fully reinforced, and was also given a four link extension to allow the car to lock up high so it could show off the fully engraved and chrome undercarriage done by Castanieda Engraving. The car also received a Street Life hydraulic setup, which allowed the car to hit back bumper and tower over the competition.”
Why we love it: “This father and son build was done in just 26 days, as Spike has become a G-Body expert; thanks to the many he has built over the years. This project was no different than any number of frame-off custom cars that Gator Customs cranks out on a daily basis.”
1964 Chevrolet Impala | The Money Pit
Article excerpt: “Andy was able to convince his grandfather to sell his prized possession – as long as it was guaranteed to stay in the family. Andy happily obliged his grandfather’s wish, although once the car was in his care, he was determined to give it a complete makeover.”
Why we love it: “He turned to Jerry Richardson for the metal work and then Danny Ray for the snakeskin green paint. The final touch came when his father, Art, who owns a custom interior shop, called Rod’s Designs, decided to add a new twist. The team got to work replacing the stock interior with a full custom hot rod-inspired cabin from front to back.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala – The Money Pit
1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible | Patron
Article excerpt: “While some builders are lucky to be able to outsource their builds to experts, others with fewer resources have to build their Lowriders the old fashioned way; by doing the work themselves. One of these tried-and-true Lowriders is Jose Cornejo.”
Why we love it: “Having never built or owned a vehicle like this one, Jose stresses the importance of the learning process this journey provided him. ‘I learned how to do metal and body work in the process of building my car, and it took a lot of trial and error, but I was determined to build my car myself.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible – Patron
1964 Chevrolet Impala | Respect Few, Fear None
Article excerpt: “Even though she was brought up around classic cars, it wasn’t until she met her husband, Robert, that she really became passionate about them. ‘He opened a whole new world to me,’ says an excited Vanessa. ‘He showed me the time and effort that is put into Lowriders and how to enjoy the process of building a piece of artwork that can be driven in the streets.”
Why we love it: “The surprise hasn’t lost any luster to Vanessa. ‘I love my car. My husband can get in his car and go with the boys, while I can drop the top on mine and go cruising with my girls,’ she explains. ‘Robert likes his car real flashy but I like mine the way it is. It has an original look while still having a ‘wow factor’ to it.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala – Respect Few, Fear None
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS | Red Passion
Article excerpt: “As a pioneer in the Lowrider movement in the ‘90s, Carlos had always wanted a ‘64 Impala. The car is considered by many to be a seminal model in the culture, and Carlos was ever so determined to get the keys to one.”
Why we love it: “James McHugh of McHugh’s Auto Body took the Impala from streetcar to show car by adding a four-pump, four-dump CCE hydraulic setup and notching the frame for the drive shaft. Still not satisfied, Carlos had master painter Keoni Teixiera from Sunrise, Florida add three shades of House Of Kolor patterns and gold leafing that flows throughout the body and even on the new set of Dayton Wire Wheels! The top was repainted in a tan pearl and pin stripes were added to accentuate the paint.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS – Red Passion
1964 Chevrolet Impala | Game IV Life
Article excerpt: “Throughout the years, Harvey has had multiple cars but in 1991, he and his wife purchased this 1964 Impala. ‘My goal was to have a decent car to represent our car club, our city, and our community in a respectable manner.”
Why we love it: “The build was such a long process that Harvey had car parts laying around in the garage, bedroom, and even the kitchen. He got help from Gabe, who assembled the car in his garage and also received assistance from Bobby Morris and Tony Rodriguez. ‘The build of a car can be stressful but the end result outweighs the all those headaches and I believe that with the support of your family and the praise of God that anything is possible.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala – Game IV Life
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible | Katrina
Article excerpt: “The final upgrade was tweaking the suspension and the experts at Del Toro reinforced the frame and created the hydraulic setup using three Del Toro pumps with engraved backing plates. A four-switch panel controls all the moves the Impala can make. Walt, from Street Toyz, added the finishing touches on the car’s frame, relocating the brake lines and adding high strength, upper and lower control arms. A linear actuator lifts the trunk so spectators can marvel at the level of engineering artistry. In every way possible, this Impala convertible is now a full custom that anyone would be proud of.”
Why we love it: “When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it gave everyone a reminder about what was really important in their lives. Suddy took the reflection from it as well and while Suddy wasn’t able to share his passions with his parents, he certainly shares them with his wife Desiree and their three girls, Sierra, Summer, and Sienna. You can find them spending every moment they can in the family’s cool new Chevy.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible – Katrina
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Rag Top | Bittersweet
Article excerpt: “Once it was home, ‘Big T’ and the boys started work on the classic Chevy. Before they could complete the car, Big T and the boys lost interest; pushing the ‘64 to the back burner as life had given them all different priorities. Years went by and though he tried to sell it, the sale of the ’64 never worked out for one reason or another. Obviously, the Impala was meant to stay in the Vargas family.”
Why we love it: “While this particular ragtop took an awful long time to complete, Big T and Possum never gave up, and the result is this amazing black beauty you see here.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Rag Top – Bittersweet
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS | L.A. Hennessy
Article excerpt: “The Culver’s reinforced and wrapped the frame and body for strength. Josh enlisted the help of Kenny Ochs in Louisville for the engine work. The motor was removed and completely rebuilt, and a Ford nine-inch rear end was added.”
Why we love it: “The ’64 got a full makeover by Kenny Ochs in Louisville, Kentucky. The V8 327-c.i.d. was removed and rebuilt. Everything was chromed and painted to match. A 750 Holley carburetor was installed. The turbo 350 transmission has a shift kit installed. A custom handmade fan shroud out of aluminum was bolted in. The vacuum lines were given the hard line treatment.”
Full article: 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS – L.A. Hennessy
We cannot forget the historic ’64 Impalas not included in the list above – the builds that won shows, inspired builders and wowed show goers. Below are two such Impalas you may remember: Loco ’64 and Gypsy Rose.
“George Torrez and his very famous ‘Loco 64′ Impala was a three-time Lowrider of the Year champion. The award is won by the most tallied points in all categories from our Lowrider Judging system and is won at the Lowrider Super Show. The Tilt front end and Candy Red paint job by Rod Powell along with a fully loaded under carriage and best turn table display ever, made this 64’ Impala hard to compete with,” – Joe Ray, Editor.
1964 Chevrolet Impala | Gypsy Rose
Article excerpt: “This car was laced with one heck of a paintjob which included one hundred and fifty hand painted roses, each taking about an hour and a half to complete, thanks to the over twenty-five hundred leaf petals borne on the design. The crew also added cobb webbing, scrolling, and striping on the design to accent the pink base…Jesse Valadez was also honored with the Lowrider Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Honor for his community work and years of service as the President of the Imperials Car Club.”
Full article: A Tribute To “Mr. Imperial Material” Jesse Valadez, Sr.