Dusty's 1962 Chevy Impala
Many of the cars that we feature here on the Toolbox are remarkable because of their long list of modifications. We’re hot rodders and we love to mess with cars, improving them to look better, go faster, or otherwise stand out from the crowd. The case of Dusty Timmerman’s ’62 Impala is a bit different. This car is remarkable for what hasn’t been done to it.
The story of this car starts back in ’62 when a gentleman in Auburn, Nebraska took delivery of his brand-new Impala. Red with a red interior and a 327, it was a cool car. Auburn is a pretty small town, so the Impala’s trips must have been short. To this day the odometer shows only 84,000 miles.
The Impala stayed with its original owner for many years before making its way to our hometown of Lincoln. Here’s where Dusty’s dad Bob Timmerman enters the story. Bob spent his career as a bodyman and has a collection of cool cars. Somehow, he ended up with a 3020 John Deere tractor and he did what a bodyman does with an old machine, cleaning it up, straightening it out, and painting it. It looked nice, so he hauled it to the local threshing bee with a “for sale” sign on it, encouraging interested parties to make an offer. After a weekend dealing with tire-kickers unwilling or unable to make a serious offer, Bob was loading up the trailer when he spotted someone eying his tractor. After a short conversation, it became clear that this guy was a tractor collector with a car that he wanted to get rid of, and Bob was a car collector with a tractor. You can see where this is going.
Bob went to look at what had been described as a nice, original Impala. What he saw blew him away. You see, here in Nebraska, “original” cars might still retain most of their factory equipment, but they’re usually rusted up to the door handles. But here was a gleaming red ’62 Impala with its original paint, interior, and engine. And no rust. It didn’t take much looking for Bob to realize that this car was special, and he needed to bring it home.
Bob got an exceptionally nice Impala with all of its original documentation and even a tiny chunk of sheet metal. Apparently, the previous owner decided that the automatic car would be cooler with a 4-speed (we agree) and swapped in a Muncie behind the 327. And he did it right, using the correct pieces for the pedal and shifter so it all looks like it grew there at the factory. But, he saved the piece of floor that he had to cut out for the shifter, just in case.
Because it’s impossible to resist a little personalization, Bob installed a set of American mags. But, the original wheels and hubcaps remained safely tucked away. Then, he proceeded to just drive and enjoy his Impala. He drove it to a bunch of regional shows like the KKOA leadsled show in Salina, Kansas (Bob’s a kustom guy at heart), Goodguys Des Moines, and even all the way to Loveland, Colorado for a Goodguys show. The Impala never missed a beat, and allowed Bob to sit back and relax, with his arm out the window and the miles rolling by.
After several years with the Impala, Bob needed to make some room in the shop. He had a buyer lined up for the Impala, and he was reluctantly ready to let it go. Then, the buyer started dragging his feet. While this was all happening, Bob’s son Dusty was having a hard time with the idea of the Impala leaving the family. So, when the other buyer was unable to see the purchase through, Dusty took the car home to start the next chapter of Timmerman ownership.
Dusty is also a hot rodder at heart, with a wild, blown Fox-body Mustang in his garage. That Mustang is a handful on the street, and Dusty knew that he wanted to drive the Impala without the worry he felt every time he tried to pedal the Mustang around town. ’62 Impalas are beautiful cars with a legendary reputation at the Saturday night stoplight drags, but they’re not known for their ability to stop on a dime or go around corners. Dusty really wanted the Impala to feel a bit more sure-footed, so he hit the Speedway Motors catalog for some bolt-ons that would make the car more fun to drive, but were easily reversible if he decided to return the car to stock. He ended up with a RideTech Streetgrip system and a Speedway Motors disc brake setup. These improvements did exactly what they were supposed to do, lowering the car and making it a joy to drive.
So there it is, the most recent chapter in the long story of one amazing Impala. And the next chapter is going to be a long one. Dusty plans to keep the car forever. It was his dad’s car, and that history of family ownership is an important part of the story to him. Also, Dusty knows that original examples of anything from the glory days of mid-century America don’t turn up every day. This car is special, and it has found a forever home with people who appreciate it for just what it is.
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