There is no denying that true automotive passion is not something that needs to be nurtured. It’s something that you’re born with, and Nello Bini of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is living proof, “I was born in 1948, and ever since I was very young, I developed a passion for automobiles. At a certain point in my life, that passion was directed to old cars, mainly the ‘50s, ’60s, and ‘70s.”
Nello told us that at a young age, he started buying American cars that he could restore. After several finished projects, he had a particular car in mind that he wanted to try rebuilding. Nello tells us, “In the early ‘90s, I started looking for a ’61 Impala coupe to rebuild from the ground up, something that would please me.” It took several years, but in 1995, he found exactly what he was looking for.According to Nello, “It was a very interesting and beautiful ’61. It was missing its powertrain, but that did not worry me. This build was to be a personal project, and I wanted to build it my way.” In Nello’s mind, that meant that a restoration was not on the agenda. Sure, he had restored several vehicles, and even won the Sao Paula, Brazil Concours d’Elegance on different occasions, but this time, he wanted a hot rod.
As soon as he got the car home, the body was in such good condition that it only needed minor repairs to the sheetmetal. According to Nello, I covered the body with new white paint, and added a silver side band, a new red interior, and a 350 small-block fitted with a Turbo 350 transmission that I had taken from a decaying ‘69 Impala. The result was great in 1998, but I wanted much more.”
From that moment on, the Impala constantly received upgrades in safety, performance, comfort, and appearance. One of those upgrades was a 454 cubic-inch engine with 700R4 transmission. The engine was rebuilt using the stock crankshaft and connecting rods with Speed Pro pistons filling the cylinders. The camshaft is a Comp Cams hydraulic roller with .561/.561-inch lift, and 236/236 degrees of duration at .050-inch lift. The stock closed-chamber heads feature 62cc chambers, and all together, the engine displaces a 9.8:1 compression ratio. Finally, an Edelbrock Air-Gap intake with a 750 cfm Demon carburetor make sure the engine is properly fed.
Inside, the mods seem never ending. Nello told us, “I installed a new Aqua-colored interior with bucket seats, completely covered the trunk with carpet, added digital gauges to the new dash layout, upgraded the sound system, installed a smaller and stylized steering wheel, power windows, a customized ’63 Impala console with a floor shifter, and added air conditioning.” That is an extensive list of upgrades, but Nello definitely did a great job.
Over the years, he has also added an air suspension, 17-inch Camaro IROC wheels, Strange adjustable aluminum shocks, a rear sway bar, sequential rear turn signals, and countless other details. What Nello has built is a gorgeous bubbletop that would look great no matter the country it is located.
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