Veteran Mechanic Preps His 1963 Impala SS for Trip Across America, Starts With the Wheels

1963 Impala Ken Coates 10 photos
Photo: Ken Coates
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If there's one thing we love to do, it's showcase smaller YouTube channels doing all kinds of cool DIY car projects for us all to enjoy. There's a lot of fish in the proverbial sea of content. Still, we've found one veteran mechanic making the most of his 1963 Chevy Impala 327 Super Sport V8 with the factory Powerglide transmission.
Though Ken Coates' channel, Waylon Wire's Old Iron, focuses mainly on custom rat rods, his Impala is his pride and joy. It's probably the most valuable car in his collection, by his admission. His plan to drive his favorite car across the United States by way of Spokane, Washington, then to North Dakota, and onwards to the East Coast sounded like a journey we wanted to follow.

Any ambitious trip needs a little preventative maintenance to ensure this classic beauty is fit for a trip that'd stress far more modern used cars. The first thing on the list was to fix a clearance issue with the front disk brake calipers and the factory wheels. When all efforts to make things work with the stock wheels failed, Ken opted for a set of period-correct-looking aftermarket wheels and tires.

Pair that with all the fresh chrome trim pieces across the entire exterior and a front vinyl seat fresh from the trim shop, and this car is more or less ready for its big date with destiny. Ken departed his home on the West Coast with no problems, reaching Spokane, Washington, by the end of his first night of driving. When he reached Montana, where the speed limit can reach 80 mph (129 kph), fuel economy was calculated at a paltry 13 miles per gallon (18 l/100 km).

Then, the fuel-sending unit to the interior gauge stopped working and left Ken stranded on the side of the road. But a jerry can full of fuel in the trunk got him up and running again. Best of luck to Ken on the rest of his journey.

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