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Monday, February 20, 2012

Back in the day: My first car

A while back, Missouri Michael at Cul-de-sac Shack posted about his first car, and it made me wax a little nostalgic about my own first car. The year was 1967, and I was an 18-year-old newlywed. My 19-year-old husband decided I needed a more reliable vehicle to drive than his older model Chevrolet while he was in Viet Nam, so naturally we went out and bought the most impractical car any teenage couple could think of...a 1964 Chevy Impala.

But, man, did I love that car! And it wasn't just any 1964 Chevy Impala. Oh, no siree. It was a bright Riverside Red Impala Super Sport two-door hardtop sport coupe with a 425 horsepower Turbo-Fire 409 cubic inch V8 and a 4-speed transmission and red interior. Bucket seats, to be precise. And chrome. Lots of chrome.

I, who had never driven a manual transmission in my life, suddenly became adroit at shifting gears...so much so that my 13-year-old brother begged me to take him for rides, just so he could talk me into leaving smart-alecky teenage boys in my dust as we pulled away from red lights.

The factory price of the Impala SS hardtop sport coupe in 1964 was $2,947. I'm sure we didn't pay over $1000 for it used in 1967. Interestingly, I found one online when I was researching this post for $28,900.

Thirty-five years later, that car was still giving me street cred with the urban teenagers I taught. Not many of their English teachers could say they had ever driven one of these, much less owned one.










All photos via flicker.com (willemsknol)

The car in the photos above belongs to a man in the Netherlands. Hasn't he done a spectacular job of restoring it?

35 comments:

  1. How cool are you? That is an awesome car and what fun memories. We love going to vintage car shows to ooh and ahh over the restores beauties.

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    1. Oh, I thought I was plenty cool...LOL I do have really fun memories of that car.

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  2. Love that car! I've always driven old cars, but mine have been more like "grandma" cars. Right now I have an old boxy style gold Volvo, from the early 90's but it looks a lot older because it has the old Volvo style. I've had 3 Dodge Darts way after the time they were in style. Now, it's hard to find cars from the 60's, but when I was in my twenties it was fairly easy and i am pretty resourceful, so no matter how junky of a car, I always drove around in style!

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    1. Looking back over all the cars I've owned over the years, this one ranks in the top three...right up there with a royal blue Karmann Ghia and a pearl ivory Ford Explorer Ltd.

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  3. They just don't make 'em like that anymore, do they? I wish the auto companies would start turning out striking, stylish designs like that again.

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    1. I agree completely. Car design today lacks the flair that it had back in the day.

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  4. That is SOME car! They don't make them like that over here - very cool!

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    1. Unfortunately, they don't make them like that over here either...anymore.

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  5. The phrase "slicker than a minks @$$" comes to mind!What a Car! My first car ( I never drove it) was a 1966 4 door (what was left of) Frost White Chevy Impala! but I sold it for $1,000 before I turned 16... Boy do I wish I hadnt! I currently HATE my 1984 Lincoln, that car has been nothign but trouble the last 6 years! haha

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    1. I don't think I've ever heard that phrase, but I plan to use it as often as I can from now on! LOL I can just picture you driving around in a big ol' Lincoln. Love it!

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  6. I grew up in upstate NY in a small town and my very first car was a "66" Rambler American with a 3 speed that could outrun most of the smaller V-8s. Some of my better off friends had some really nice "muscle" cars and I was always envious. I would have loved to own your "64" back then!!

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    1. My brother's first car was a Volvo station wagon...LOL You can imagine how today's high school boys envied my '64 Chevy!

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  7. Gorgeous car!! I want a classic in the future. (But it has to go on the want list... So who knows if the day will ever come.)
    I got married at 18 too.

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    1. Once you own a car like that, you'll start to notice all the shoddy features of today's cars.

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  8. I have always loved those full-sized Chevy's from the 1960s. Such great style. Why do today's Impala's look like something from a cartoon? You know - boring with no style. Thanks for sharing this great memory!

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    1. I agree about today's Impalas. Why not just give them another name if they're not going to live up to the spirit of the old ones? Glad you liked the post. :)

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  9. Cool! This reminds me of an old post of mine on the very same car:
    Scarlet Fever

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    1. I actually had a white 1968 Impala with a black vinyl top which was almost identical to the 1969 in your post. It replaced the red '64, but it wasn't nearly as cool.

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  10. You are one cool cat! Your street cred might be high but your blog cred went soaring! :)

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    1. LOL I was quite the rowdy in my younger days!

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  11. I had a 1954 Studebaker Starliner "Loewy Coupe", but would have cost to much to restore it. The best looking 1950's car.

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  12. Spectacular, indeed! The Chevy Impala is one of the sexiest rides ever made. This one has great paint job and detailing. I wish this baby was mine.

    -Stelle Courney

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    1. You can't imagine how many times I've wished I had mine back!

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  13. Yeah, the restoration work done on that is great. I love the all-red look there. It fits the persona of a car well: bright and bold, inside and outside. It's an old car, but there's no grandparent vibe in it at all.

    -Jolandi Kerstetter

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  14. You're so right about the color. I've never owned another red car since. After that one, red never seemed right on anything else. And definitely no grannie vibe. That style will never grow old!

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  15. What all these vintage and classic cars needs is a little modification or a new paint job to make them look more appealing and pleasing to our eyes, but I see that your seller had that covered. This classic Chevy is one example of an appealing classic. I mean, the owner maintained it well. The chrome trims and bumpers are still present, which was its trademark design that made it stand out from other cars.

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    1. Luckily, when I owned mine, it wasn't vintage. I bought it used, but it was only 3 years old, and it had been perfectly maintained, so the exterior and interior looked factory fresh.

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  16. This car reminds me of the famous all-time running show, “Supernatural.” Are you familiar with that show, Dana? Dean owns an Impala, too. The difference is that this Impala is quite a head turner because of its stunning red color. Every angle of this vintage Impala exudes a classic and elegant image.

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    1. I've seen "Supernatural," but I didn't realize one of the characters owned an Impala. My red '64 turned plenty of heads back in the day too, and I think it shocked the guys that I could drive a 4-speed so well. :)

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  17. I love the Chevy Impala as it is, but with the fiery red color I love it even more. Just as Jolandi said, the color fits the persona of the car perfectly. But I think it would also look great with chrome rims and white wall tires.

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    1. I've seen lots of '64 Impalas over the years in lots of other colors, but nothing has ever looked as good as the red did.

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  18. Wow, the price definitely swelled a lot, 35 years later. It's usually the first car which holds the most memories. :) That guy from Netherlands did a spectacular job with that Impala. I wonder if it has been sold by now.

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    1. Yes, and when you realize that gasoline was only 29 cents a gallon back then, that really puts it in perspective.

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  19. Just in case the man from The Netherlands had already sold this car, whoever is the new owner of this red car must be proud of it. This car is a valuable asset because it is rare to find an exquisite vintage car like this on the road. The man from The Netherlands certainly left a good name by crafting a sturdy car like this, which still exists in good condition up to this point. By just browsing these pictures and without looking personally at this car, I already commend the man from The Netherlands for crafting a fantastic job with the impala!




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    1. Yes, he certainly did an outstanding job restoring the car to its former beauty.

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