Lowriding and hydraulics have forever been attached at the hip; like a set of orphaned Siamese twins, one never able to stray from the other. Well, that was true until this tech where we pick up the saw and cut through the flesh and bone that holds these two brothers of recklessness together. Now this doesn’t mean that we don’t love hydros or that we’re selling out to the mainstream; it just means that some of us would like to roll on 20-inch wheels as we take our daily driver to work.Now before you all go out and buy 13 eggs to throw at us the next time we’re in sight, we would like to remind you that, in the 1970s, many respectable rides rolled our nation with cut coils, Astro Supremes, flat black paint and biscuit interiors. So this is not actually a new style; it’s more of a revamping of the old with some new equipment to keep our ride smooth when those 20s are anchored to our Chevy.
We will also need to alleviate the lean from our ride and increase our stopping power, since these two issues will only become more evident with the addition of the larger rims. Considering this is no small request, a few quality manufacturers have been called to assist us in this time of need. The first company to step up to the challenge of taking “The Wolf,” this ’63 Chevy Impala wagon, from a mundane bucket to modern day rider that will hug the asphalt while still retaining its lowriding good looks was Hotchkis Performance.
With Hotchkis on board, Crest Coatings was more than accommodating when it came to powdercoating our frame to a thick gloss black shine, which we will build and bolt our dreams to. With the rear taken care of, Performance Online and Raybestos were selected to handle the front suspension and all around disc brakes for this West Coast monster. And we wouldn’t be caught dead bolting anything but QA1 to a project when it comes to shocks. Their billet rear shocks and coil-over front kit will give us the ride that we’re looking for.
Before we could bolt this fresh gear to our ride, we copped a Canadian box frame, ripped from some lousy four-door heap of an Impala. The frame will dictate the rest of your ride. If you use a frame that was previously equipped with hydraulics and you decide to run with a new type of suspension, you have to realize that the frame has been weakened and you will never get that tight ride out of the car no matter what suspension components are bolted to it.
So with our frame stripped, it was off to Crest to coat this 17-foot beast; immediately hanging the frame on the rack, having it coated, baked and back in our hands within two days. Then our blasted and coated frame took a short ride to Hotchkis in Santa Fe Springs, California, for the tech at hand. Now we’re not telling you the easy stuff. We’re sure that most every one of you can slap some bolts through the frame-mounted brackets and some more bolts to the differential, but here are a few tips specific to finishing up the job.