What is the definition of a musclecar? If this car wasn’t considered “big”, it could be this 1969 Chevrolet Impala that belongs to Robert Trites of Fairfield, California. Robert operates GMP Cars — a collision, restoration, and auto repair shop. “It’s an addiction of mine,” Robert told us. “I’ve been around cars since I was 14 years old, and I’m 47 now.” As a professional in the auto repair and restoration industry, Robert was able to do all the work on his car. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it done.
He has owned the car for about five years, and has changed significantly since he bought it. Initially it was in good shape, but he needed to personalize it. Luckily, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. “Everyone has a Camaro, Chevelle, or Nova. When I look for stuff, I look for the ‘other.’ I wanted something different.” He had a plan to give the car a mid-sixties NASCAR look, and put that kind of styling into his Impala.
Although he put a lot of time and effort into the way the car looks, the drivetrain is really where this thing shines. Robert embraced the old adage of “there is no replacement for displacement,” and put a 502 cubic-inch big-block crate engine under the hood. It’s fueled by a Holley carburetor, followed up by a Richmond five-speed transmission and a 12-bolt rearend with 3.73 gears. There is no arguing that this car has the guts of true American muscle.
“I spent my money on the drivetrain,” Robert detailed. “I powder coated the engine compartment and all of the suspension equipment. I also assembled the car with polyurethane bushing, new springs, and all new shocks.” Having done all of the work himself in a way that resulted in such an impressive build, you’d think he took at least a year to get this done, right? Try six months. “Every weekend I worked on it both Saturday and Sunday. I just did bits and pieces here and there as I could until it came together like a puzzle.”
Robert also built the snorkel intake system that utilizes the inboard headlights for air intake. Not only does it improve airflow and give you more to look at under the hood, it also complements the exterior look with black intake openings contrasting the light glass of the headlights. Let’s also just take a second to appreciate how good the blacked out grill area looks against the chrome and the dark blue paint. It’s not flashy or overstated, it has just the right balance of everything.
The interior maintains a stock look with the old school tachometer on the steering column, and he replaced the carpet and seat skins. It kept the stock look that was already done so well by Chevrolet back in 1969.
This is the kind of car that gets a lot of looks as it is driving down the road. Based on the video by Drive, we are not the only ones that think so either. This is definitely one of the best looking 1969 Impalas we have ever seen, and we agree with the sentiment in the video that says this car is pretty much the definition of American muscle.