Home Car Stories Alley Finds 1969 CHEVROLET Impala- Route 66, AZ
1969 CHEVROLET Impala- Route 66, AZ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Friday, 15 April 2011 22:54

1969 CHEVROLET Impala- Route 66, AZ


Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

Back when I was a kid, a family friend paid very little for an old 1969 Impala, painted it black and pressed it into service as a taxi cab. Aside from the grueling life of a cab, his Impala made many day trips and some week long jaunts.

Inevitably at some point on every road trip one of his friends in caravan with us would initiate a race. The 350 Impala never lost. It was still pulling with the speedo needle pinned at 120 MPH. Speedometers from this era exaggerate notoriously and this car wasn't stock, but no matter how you slice it, that's still impressive small block performance for a fully loaded big car. It had some minor speed shop parts added to the mix, but nothing radical. A bone stock 1969 350 Impala would probably pull a real 115 to 120 MPH, and that is pretty good.

One road trip we made was to a 'progressive' zoo where wild animals roamed brushy areas approximating their natural habitat. Cars drove through the compound passing lions and zebras etc. Incredibly aggressive baboons leaped onto the car in frenzy. The econobox car ahead of us suffered some expensive to fix damage to the plastic rear bumper cover while the Impala came out unscathed.

That old Impala ran perfectly but was beginning to suffer minor rust. I've seen old Impalas driving fine although the bodies were rusting. If not for the prevalence of government emissions testing most of them would probably still be on the road. Impalas didn't rust significantly and have no major weak spots mechanically. Emissions standards, 'scrap it' programs and junker laws have pretty much sent all these cars unnecessarily to their graveyards. The lucky ones ended up by the side of the road like this one abandoned near the remnants of old Route 66 in Arizona. At least it didn't get crushed.


Down in Arizona a car without any rust can find itself in a field the first time it has a breakdown or requires any work that exceeds the money the owner is able or willing to pay. This poor old four door hardtop Impala in Arizona was stripped of its hood, doors, side glass and then forgotten. A car that is abandoned in Arizona would be considered a worthy driver up in Chicago or Detroit where you can stick your arm through the inner rear quarters and touch the tires via the trunk. But here it is. You can see how the sun has scorched the vinyl top which is now peeling away. Time will finish the car off eventually, but those Impalas die hard.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 December 2015 12:12 )