1967 CHEVY IMPALA
THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE...Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
Text: Reinis Babrovskis & Mike Barr
"You want a car that when people stop next to it at the lights, they lock their doors"
If you follow my work, by now then you should be fairly familiar with Mike, you know the dude from Northern Ireland who loves the American Muscle. His garage somehow always manages to have a space for just one more car…His latest addition - a 1967 Chevy Impala.
The car started off as a factory A/C C396/TH400/12 bolt Chevy Caprice, in other words a “posher-spec” Chevrolet Impala. It was purchased by a USA Army Major in California (a bad-ass car for a bad-ass person if you ask me), and it resided there for most of its life until the late 80s. Car was then sold off to Texas, and later it reached the UK shores.
Why this car?
This is the "Star Car Hire’s" replica of the awesome 1967 Chevy Impala as driven by Sam and Dean Winchester in the American TV series "Supernatural". The car was originally selected for the Supernatural show by series creator Erik Kripke as when he was growing up all of his favorite TV shows featured signature cars, like Dukes of Hazzard & Starsky & Hutch.
Affectionately named as the ‘Metallicar’ by the fans, it’s one of the only a few cars in the world that actually looks better as a four door than the 2-door model. (The four door version is also more rare).
Apparently Erik's first choice for the characters car was a '65 Ford Mustang, but later decided it had to be the Impala due to its sinister, menacing look – and the fact that you can fit a couple of bodies in the trunk (not to mention Sam and Dean’s weapons). He said 'You want a car that, when people stop next to it at the lights, they lock their doors.'” Both the Impala and Caprice models were part of Chevrolet's large vehicle class and are absolutely HUGE. So big that they would almost make a Ford Mustang look like a Mini Metro in comparison.
The Impala was produced by Chevrolet in North America and was one of the most popular American cars in the sixties. The car featured in this shoot is in fact a 1967 Chevy Caprice, that is more or less identical to the Impala but with a higher spec trim and optional extras. The Caprice was ranked as Chevrolet’s Luxury model just above the Impala. In 1967 the Caprice received a makeover - rounded body lines, revised grilles and taillights, optional front fender corner lamps which illuminated with the headlamps.
Although taken to the tin only a year ago the paint on this car is by no means show winning, but then again its not meant to be as the car featured in the "Supernatural" series was infamous for being a little untidy and rough around the edges. The paint being a little flat in places really gives the car a nastier, menacing appearance and will certainly help frighten onlookers that little bit more when it drives past.
Wheels and Tires
As with most of the American cars from the pony era the suspension and brake set up of these cars never matched their amazing engines. These cars were never built to attack the circuits; however, the presence on the road was majestic. Opposed to the Impala the Caprice came with a dual-master brake cylinder, while front disc brakes were optional. Mike’s Impala is running 15” Cragar Chrome rims with deep dish on the rear and large BF Goodrich tyres. The car has a great "stance" on the road with the lowered front suspension.
I haven't been in a more comfier place than that of the Caprice, hands down. The Caprice came with as a revised instrument panel with beautifully crafted round instruments and a new steering wheel. The same seating selections continued as before with revisions to the trim patterns plus the new addition of all-vinyl upholstery as a no-cost option for conventional and Strato bench seats in sedans and coupes. The interior is a golden tan colour and comes with a retro bench seat with full working electrics!!!
Other new options included a stereo 8-track tape player, power door locks, and a fiber optics monitoring system.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The heart of the car has been looked after by Billy Graham Performance Machine of Manhattan KS where the GM 350 block was bored .030 and is now running a healthy 360 hp/ 380 ft lbs. The engine has received a major attention, it is now featuring Speed Pro HT-16 Pistons with Engine Pro Racing chromoly ring pack, Summit G9001 Headers, Mellings Oil pump, Erson 1.6 roller rockers, GM X code rods with ARP bolts, ARP head, rod and main bolts. The car also had an internal regulator conversion done from 1984 Trans AM with an LG4 305 in it, allowing for a more reliable late model alternator. The car sounds incredible with its roaring V8.
The power to the real wheels is delivered through the 1967 older design TH400 gearbox that has been freshened up with master rebuild kit (seals, clutches, etc). It also received a new Torque Convertor (2200 stall speed) along with the Raybestos clutch, new rear band, B&M shift Kit and new vacuum modular.
Technical Specs:1967 Chevy Caprice
Engine:010 GM 350 block, bored .030, align honed, flat decked, ARP bolts throughout
Crank ground .010/.001
Chamfered oiling holes
Speed Pro HT-16 Pistons with Engine Pro Racing chromoly ring pack (1/16, 1/16th, 3/16th rings)
GM X code rods w/ ARP bolts
Balanced rotating assembly
GM 350/350 hydraulic cam grind
Erson 1.6 roller rockers
GM 882 heads decked .010 to flat, 3 angle competition valve job, light porting, pinned studs, cam matched valve springs
Mellings Oil pump w/ bolt on pickup screen
Weiand dual plane intake
New 600cfm holley carb w/ electronic choke
HEI distributor blue printed with Accel module and coil
Double roller timing chain
Summit G9001 Headers
Billet Specialties billet air cleaner lid and valve covers
Billet PS and Alternator brackets
ARP head, rod and main bolts
Sealed power bearings
New matched harmonic balancer
Factory timing chain cover
The oil pan is a stock 5 qt pan; the motor has 5-30 oil in it and uses a standard sbc oil filter
This oil pan gasket is the THICK LIP gasket
2 piece rear main gasket, standard 350 fel pro head gaskets, standard intake gaskets
Transmission:1967 TH400 freshened up with master rebuild kit (seals, clutches, etc)
Torque Convertor (2200 stall speed)
New rear band
B&M shift Kit
New vacuum modular
OtherThe following components have also been replaced:
Power steering Pump
Power Steering lines
Inner and outer tie rod ends
Rubber suspension bumpers
Upper and lower ball joints
Front and rear springs
Front and rear shocks
Sway bar end links and bushings
All bushings in the front and rear suspensions
Rear and Mid Parking brake cables
All brake hardware
Rubber Brake hoses
Brake power booster
Gas tank, gas cap and sending unit
Washer fluid tank
Rear U joint
Radiator and cap
Rubber fuel Lines
Engine Mounts (Post 1968 locking style Poly Mounts)
Front hood trim and eyebrow trim
Turn signal lenses
Corner light lenses