Someone Repainted This Once-Gorgeous 1959 Impala, and Boy, The Two-Tone Job Looks Bad

1959 Chevy Impala 24 photos
Photo: Craigslist
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The all-new Impala and the refreshed full-size lineup propelled Chevrolet to the number-one spot in the United States. The Impala was almost an overnight hit.
It debuted as a Bel Air version two years after the prototype smiled in front of the audience at GM's motor show, and the early sales convinced Chevrolet to let it fight for more customers on its own. The Impala was promoted to a stand-alone series in 1959, and the impact on its sales was obvious.

Chevrolet remained the leading carmaker in the United States, with 1.48 million sold units compared to Ford's 1.39 million units.

The GM brand made the first steps towards turning the Impala into everybody's car, and its strategy came down to offering as many customization options as possible. The Impala lineup included a long list of engines, options, exterior and interior colors, and two-tone combinations to make every car unique.

The base engine was the same six with 135 horsepower and the 283 with 185 horsepower. The Super Turbo-Fire developed 230 horsepower, and Chevrolet also offered two Rochester fuel-injected small blocks with 250 and 290 horsepower. The 348 was the engine that set the Impala apart from its rivals, and the top version, called Special Super Turbo-Thrust, produced 315 horsepower.

The Impala could be had with one of 14 exterior colors – I'm a huge fan of Gothic Gold (paint code 920-A) and 12 interior colors in various configurations with vinyl, cloth, or vinyl and cloth combined. The two-tone combinations were fabulous.

1959 Chevy Impala project
Photo: Craigslist
The 1959 Impala in these photos left the factory wearing a blue finish, but someone wanted to make it more special, so they attempted a two-tone repaint. The job was amateurish, to say the least, and the owner admits in their Craigslist post that it doesn't look good. The photos they shared confirm that the Impala needs a new respray, and I don't think the hardtop needs a two-tone job to look good. The original blue would do it if it's the work of a professional painter.

The owner explains that the car was born in South Carolina but was transferred to Louisiana years later. It eventually landed in Marseilles, Illinois, where it's still waiting for someone to take it home and begin a complete restoration that hopefully includes a complete and professional repaint.

You can tell from the pics that this Impala exhibits typical metal problems, including rust in all the usual places. However, the driver floor pan has already been patched, but the rear spare tire area needs attention because it still has metal damage. The frame is solid and is a good starting point for a complete restoration.

1959 Chevy Impala project
Photo: Craigslist
The hardtop comes with good news under the hood, albeit I'm sure many diehard Impala fanboys would have enjoyed the aforementioned 348 being in charge of propelling the car.

Considering this Impala is a project, you can always swap the 283 V8 currently in the car with a 348, especially because the original configuration has already been altered with the repaint.

However, this engine swap would significantly increase the final cost of the project, especially considering how much a top 348 is priced today. Back in 1959, the Special Super Turbo-Thrust could be had for $333 extra on the 1959 Impala, as it was the most expensive engine in the lineup.

1959 Chevy Impala project
Photo: Craigslist
The good news is that the 283 starts and runs, but you'll have to contact the owner for additional information. It's unclear if the engine has ever been rebuilt, and considering the questionable paint job, I wouldn't be surprised to see this Impala hiding more secrets under the hood.

The engine is paired with an automatic transmission, but again, no specifics were offered, and your best option is to inspect the car in person.

It's the only way to get a complete and accurate picture before committing to a purchase, as this Impala could qualify for a thorough restoration that would turn it into a showstopper. The first thing it requires is a quality paint job – it doesn't have to be the original blue, but please make it look right.

1959 Chevy Impala project
Photo: Craigslist
The selling price looks a bit ambitious, especially considering that the car is no longer completely original. It's still in good shape, though, and the restoration looks easy for someone with the right skills in this field. The owner wants to let it go for $34.900, but how much you'll spend extra on the restoration depends on what you'll find when you inspect the car in person.

I don't expect this Impala to remain available for long, as it checks all the big boxes for the right candidate for the job, especially because it has the right number of doors and is the perfect model year, so fingers crossed that the next time we see this hardtop is at a car show in tip-top shape.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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