1963 Chevrolet Impala – Man Overboard

Getting Carried Away on an Impala... More Like 63 Ways

It’s easy to lose count of things when building cars. Time, money, new parts, used parts, parts to replace the new parts that went bad earlier than expected, and things that just didn’t turn out looking as good as you envisioned all have a way of blurring your memory. Before you know it, months have fallen off the calendar, thousands have been spent, and sometimes it feels like you’re no nearer to finishing than when you brought the car home. But nothing worth having in life is easy, especially lowriding.

Darwin “DMack” Wilson scored this clean ’63 Impala off a fellow Majestics club member in Detroit. He fell in love with it and had to have it. It was supposed to be a fairly simple street car, but as things go, once one modification was made, it needed another. And another. And … well, you know the story. A domino effect of changes led to six years’ worth of work done to the car you see here, known as 63 Ways, but one thing’s certain-DMack did it his way. It’s a nod to those who are in it for the love of the game.

The original 327 the car came with was pulled and DMack and his friend, Carl, dropped in a 5.7L Escalade motor connected via a slip driveshaft to a 700-R trans. He removed the fuel injection and replaced it with an Edelbrock carb, manifold, an aluminum radiator, plenty of chrome, shorty headers, and Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust and mufflers. After tinkering with the original rear and going through a 9-inch, DMack finally settled on a Tacoma rearend. A quartet of 13-inch Zeniths put the power to the pavement and disc brakes on each corner bring it all to a quick halt.

What lies beneath is a totally chrome suspension with molded upper and lower A-arms, molded trailing arms, and a fully wrapped and powdercoated frame by How High Hydraulics. A Street Life Hydraulic setup consists of four pumps, four dumps, four switches, and eight solenoids with 8- and 12-inch front and rear cylinders. Eight Optima batteries keep it all powered up.

1963 Chevy Impala

Vehicle Nickname

63 Ways

Owner

Darwin “DMack” Wilson

City/State

Lancaster, CA

Club

Majestics Compton

Engine

5.7L V-8, 700-R trans

Suspension

Molded upper and lower A-arms, molded trailing arms, and a fully wrapped and powdercoated frame by How High Hydraulics. A Street Life Hydraulic setup with four pumps, four dumps, four switches, and eight solenoids with 8- and 12-inch front and rear cylinders. Tacoma rearend.

Body/Paint

Oriental Green by Area 51. 44-inch moonroof by Nunez and Son. Pinstriping by Mike Lamberson. Muraling by Shin. Patterning on roof, dash, and package tray by Kandy and Chrome.

Sound System

Pioneer head unit, front speakers, and amps, Image Dynamics subwoofer, and four JBLs in the package tray

Interior

Dakota Digital dash, leather interior by Mario’s Upholstery, Detroit, MI

Wheels/Tires

13-inch Zeniths / Travelstar 155/80 R13

The 700-R4 Trans

The 700-R4 was first introduced in the ’82 Corvette. The trans had lower First and Second gears (3.06 and 1.63, respectively) than other automatics, its lockup torque converter offered potential fuel-mileage gains, and the 0.7 overdrive decreased the overall drive ratio by 30 percent. But the original design was not considered a strong transmission, with failures behind even a mild 350 not uncommon. The trans was so weak that in its original setup, GM deliberately calibrated it to kick out of lockup and high gear under full throttle, top-end conditions to avoid burning it up. The original versions had only downsized, 27-spline input shafts, one of many possible, and common failure points. By 1984, 700-R4s intended for use behind small-block Chevy V-8s began to receive beefy, 30-spline input shafts similar to those found on classic TH350 and TH400 transmissions. From 1984-1987 the most failure-prone internal parts, from the ring-gear to the oil-pump housing, were upgraded. An auxiliary valvebody was added in October 1986. Finally, on performance cars like the Corvette, additional internal lubrication improvements permitted the trans to survive in high gear, full-throttle, top-end conditions.