Rare ’61 Chevy Impala SS Convertible — It’s Raining in So Cal — Blast With Both Barrels
We’ll get to the ’61 Chevy Impala SS convertible, but first welcome to the 38th edition of the West Coast Report. It’s the first report I’ve written in a long time while it was raining outside. Its no secret we don’t get a lot rain here in Southern California, in fact where I live in Orange County the temperature seems to average around 70-degrees most of the year, and things stay pretty dry.
Tri-power 348 with a 4-speed / Of course there are the rare days in the winter where the temp drops down to the 50s, and then there’s the summertime where its not unusual to have a week that will hover in the 90s. When it does rain in California, I always seem to get caught with my windows down. My ’64 Chrysler 300K doesn’t have all of its windows, my ’77 Ford LTD II laid out on bags is frame deep in mud, and my ’69 Buick Riviera still in original paint is starting to rust through on the roof and hood.
Rare? It’s estimated there were 27 ’61 Chevy Impala SS convertibles built. Speaking of my 1969 Buick Rivera did any of you get a chance to read the article I wrote in the April 2014 edition of Street Rodder on media blasting? Its titled Blast With Both Barrels, and the subtitle is The Do-It-Yourself Way To Bare Metal. http://www.streetrodderweb.com/tech/1402_the_do_it_yourself_way_to_bare_metal/
The article appeared first in the print version of Street Rodder and then online almost immediately afterward. At the time I wrote the article I was a contributing editor, but have since joined the staff of Street Rodder. These days I’m editing the Early Iron column that’s what Street Rodder calls its Reader’s Rides section. Please feel free to submit photos of your street rod to Street Rodder, Early Iron, and don’t forget to include build photos from start-to-finish because we’ll run those in Street Rodder’s expanded web coverage.
A garden hose goes a long way towards flushing dirt held under stainless trim. In the links to Blast With Both Barrels on Eastwood and Street Rodder’s Facebook pages there were a few people wondering why I didn’t remove the Riviera emblems. As I mentioned in the article “First, I wanted to get a handle on the rust situation before the car rusted itself into a convertible, second, I wanted the Buick to look more presentable. The presentable part explains why I elected not to remove the stainless steel vinyl top, and window moldings before I started blasting, grinding, and spraying primer.” Explaining further by presentable I meant making the Riviera look better, but still being able to drive it. As anyone knows that’s restored a car had I removed the stainless steel trim, next to go would be the window glass… before I knew it, the Buick would have turned into a full-fledged ground up restoration. And I’ve witnessed it before with lots of other people’s projects a ground up restoration can take unforeseen years.
Media blasting. Masking tape underneath with duct tape that doesn’t leave a film works best. Here’s something to think about, do you want to get involved with a ground up restoration, or would you rather handle a few cosmetic upgrades, and be able to enjoy driving your car while you’re working on it?
Unlike some cars with emblems that pop off from the front, Riviera emblems are held in place with nuts located behind a trim panel inside the car’s interior. This would have meant partially taking apart the car’s brittle, but in mint condition headliner. Most likely it would have torn.
Then I used my trusty Eastwood screwdriver to pry the emblem upward.
Spelled with one p. Here’s my striper buddy Jeff Styles with a little preview of the West Coast Report 39’s coverage of the Grand National Roadster show. And yes, I had my roadster in the drive-in show on Saturday.
And here’s a behind the scenes look at an upcoming tech feature in Classic Trucks’ June issue. Look for it online at www.ClassicTrucks.com . In the middle of doing the tech on installing Eastwood Thermo-Coustic sound deadener I needed to move the Dodge. Pretty clean bucket seat install, eh?
A regular attendee of the month-end, first of the month Sunday morning cruise-in at the Enderle Center in Tustin, California, its John Gilson’s ’57 Olds 98 convertible. The candy red beauty was featured in Street Rodder recently.
One of my all time favorite designs here’s the Lotus emblem up close. In a year where a Lotus works driver was killed racing the emblem would be in black for those year models. I have both in my emblem collection.
Notice this example is RHD (right hand drive) it was sold originally in the UK and has a 948cc Austin-Healy Sprite engine under its bonnet (hood). The Mk1 Lotus Sevens sold in the US, I believe came with a Coventry Climax engine. Alright, enough Lotus gibberish, its time wrap the 38th edition up. Thank you for reading it, and please look forward to the 39th edition about a week after you found this one. Note those are the same exact Lucas taillights as a Cobra, or an MGA… just thought you needed to know.
— John Gilbert