A lot of times, good things happen when you least expect them. Take for instance Steve Erbs of Lebanon, Pennsylvania finding this ’61 Chevy bubbletop Impala. Steve actually found this car while he was taking his lunch break while at work in 1983. He was working at Bethlehem Steel, and he told us, “I spied the car sitting across the creek, and made a statement out loud that I wish I knew who owned the car so I could by it.” Not expecting to hear a reply, Steve suddenly heard someone say, “I own it.” Steve quipped, “The reply came from a biker that everyone stayed away from because he was a mean cuss.” Luckily, this “mean cuss” was willing to talk to Steve about the car, and they finally agreed on a price. “He wanted $500 for it, but I got him down to $200,” Steve said with a smile.
Steve wasted no time getting the car relocated to his house, where it sat in his garage for another 18 years, at which time, his son completed college. While the car was parked, a substantial amount of money was saved, and together, Steve set out to rebuild the car.
With the help of a good friend, a 350 cubic-inch engine was sourced from an ’88 Blazer, and Pete Tinsdale handled the machine work, and Steve assembled the engine himself, using a set of flat top pistons, and an Edelbrock four-barrel intake and carburetor.
Behind that is a Turbo 350 transmission with a B&M shift improver kit. Steve also rebuilt the transmission himself. The drivetrain ends at the stock rearend spinning a set of 3.08 gears. The combination makes this Impala a truly reliable driver.
The body definitely needed some rust repair, so Steve Ream install new lower quarter-panels, and smooth the rest of the car before covering the sheetmetal in a factory hue of Honduras Maroon.
Steve E. utilized a great upgrade option during the rebuild, “The body, A-arms, and other bushings were all replaced with polygraphite pieces.” Completing the hot rod look are a set of Cragar SS wheels.
You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but the interior was installed way back in 1984. According to Steve, “John Weible installed the headliner, and fixed the seats, armrests, and sun visors. It cost me $89.00 and my labor to rebuild his 307 ci engine in his 1971 truck.” Sounds like a reasonable deal to us.
We photographed Steve’s Impala at the 2016 GM Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Steve later informed us that he also won 1st place in his class, as well as The Impala Club Presidential award. As far as we’re concerned, the car deserved them both.
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