Max T

First loves never die or fade away!

My 1960 Impala Story

The year was 1967 and I had just graduated from high school, a small country school located in the heartland of America nestled among corn fields and dairy farms. My senior year I took a half-day part time job through our school’s Distributive Education Program working afternoons at our local hardware store. This was great because not only did I enjoy being involved with all kinds of tools and building materials but I was also earning money. Money that I diligently socked away looking forward to the day when I would buy my first car. But after a year of earning one dollar an hour my savings account wasn’t looking all that promising. My favorite cars at that time were the tri-five Chevys, 1955, 1956, and 1957’s. This was probably due to the fact that the older boys, the ones with the resources, were burning up the streets in them. In those days if you were diligent in your search you could usually find a decent prospect that a kid could afford. So I fully expected that my first car would be one of these. For me the prerequisites were that It had to be jacked up in the front, chrome wheels and blackwall tires, big in the back, small in the front, and definitely have a four speed on the floor! One of my older buddies had a competition orange ’57 Chevy sporting a 283 cubic inch V8, four speed transmission on the floor with a Hurst shifter, dual glass packs, chrome wheels, and big and little blackwall tires. I loved that car! I can still smell the slight tinge of exhaust fumes that managed to make their way into the car as we rumbled around the country roads. On Friday nights we would head for the nearest college town known for its proliferation of pony tailed girls and fast cars. One of our favorite things to do was to pick up a large pizza and then head over to the local Big Boy where we would park in the back lot and enjoy the constant parade of hot cars and carloads of giggling girls. After all this fun in a tri-five Chevy I was sure my first automotive excursion would be in one of these. But as fate would have it that wasn’t to be so. My story actually begins on a hot steamy summer afternoon. As I came out of the store, which by the way didn’t have air conditioning, I decided it would be a good time to visit the old swimming pool located a few blocks away. My only form of transportation at the time was my ten speed bicycle and occasionally mom’s old ’62 Ford Fairlane. For some reason that day I had the old Ford and headed to the pool. I have nothing against Fords but this thing wasn’t my idea of a real car. It sported a 221 cubic inch v8 engine that barely had enough power to get out of its own way. And the suspension squeaked loudly as it protested every bump it met. A little off subject but interesting to note, my dad was a dyed-in-the-wool Ford man. In 1957 dad decided it was time to buy a new car. I was only eight years old at the time but even at that age very much a Chevy man. When he said I could go with him to pick it out I was ecstatic! I knew exactly what I wanted. Our neighbor had just purchased a new white ’57 convertible with red and silver interior. I didn’t expect dad would go for a convertible, but a nice hardtop would do. As we approached the Chevy dealership dad drove right on past. I immediately let him know that he had missed it. His response was, “Chevys use too much gas”. Conversation over, it was obvious my vote didn’t count. With that he pulled into the Ford dealership. I was unhappy about even being in a Ford dealership much less buying a car there! So you guessed it, we drove home in a Ford, a green and white two tone Fairlane 500. Oh the shame! So back to my story. As I squeaked into the parking of the pool I noticed a gang of guys hanging around this bright red Chevy Impala. As I headed toward the entrance to the pool the owner of the Impala called over to me to come and see his car. “You’re looking for a car aren’t you Max?” to which I replied “Well yea”. With that he beckoned me over for a closer look. As the sea of guys parted I got my first good look at her. Before my eyes was the most pristine bright red ’60 Impala Sport coupe with red and white houndstooth interior! It had chrome slotted wheels in front and piecrust cheater slicks on black rims in back! As my buddy would say, there wasn’t a pimple on it anywhere. But the crem-de-le-crem was about to be revealed. Curious as to why the guys were so enamored over what was under the hood I peered over the side into the engine bay. What I saw wasn’t the little 283 cubic inch engine I was expecting. Sitting there under that massive hood was an orange and chrome monster unlike anything I had ever seen before. The first thing to hit my eye was the three individual carburetors sitting atop of a broad shouldered engine with odd “W” shaped valve covers. My first response was, “Whoa, what is this?!” I had never seen a 348 before, much less the high horsepower, solid lifter version with three deuces. So he starts the full court press telling me how much I need this car. I had to chuckle to myself that he thought I actually had the kind of money it would take to buy a machine of this caliber. But I had to ask the price and when I got the answer all joy and possible anticipation quickly dissolved. There was no way I could afford $1,100 although it was well worth it, and that’s what I told him. My dad let me know early on that I was on my own when it came to buying my first car so whatever I bought had to fit within whatever income resources I had, and that wasn’t much. So he asks, “How much can you afford?” Embarrassed, as quietly as possible I told him I had $350 saved up and if mom would sign for me I could probably get another $300 from the bank where she worked. So $650 was about my limit. With that he slid back into the crowd of hopefuls and I headed on into the pool. The swim that evening was uneventful because all I could think about was that red Chevy. When I came out later that evening I looked to see if the crowd was still there and the car but no such luck everyone was gone. And so I figured was the red Chevy into some lucky guy’s new ownership. With that I climbed into mom’s old Ford and headed home. When I got there no one was home so I began looking for something to eat as usual, when all of a sudden I hear a roar of a healthy engine going through the gears coming down our country road. Being the car nut that I am I knew this wasn’t any normal run of the mill everyday car approaching, so I hustle over to the front screen door to catch a glimpse of whatever it was as it flew by. But as it got closer to my driveway I heard it back off and downshift as if it was coming to my house. The sound of a big block racking off through glass packs was music to my ears! To my surprise the beast roaring down our road was the red Impala I had seen at the pool, and yes it was pulling into my driveway! Soon it was rumbling up our long driveway and I was out the front door and over to the Impala post haste wondering what this visit was all about. So I says, “What’s up” and my buddy says, “You got to buy this car”, and I says, “We’ve already been over this and nothing has changed as far as my lack of wealth is concerned, I can only come up with $650”. To myself I’m thinking even though I would consider selling my little brother and sister for it there just wasn’t any way I could dig up any more money than that. So then came the line that would rock my world, “If I sell it to you for $650 will you buy it tonight?” Dumbfounded, not believing this was happening to me I mumbled, “Duhhh, sure!” With that he tells me to hop in, we need to ask his mom if she will let him do this. So I hopped into the passenger’s seat which believe it or not was the first time I had been in the car much less having taken it for a test drive. But the ensuing ride to mom’s house would quickly remove all doubts and become a memory I have cherished through the years. The road was long and straight and at 100+ miles per hour we were there in no time at all. This monster had crazy power with Cadillac road manners! As the Impala would settle down softly after cresting a hill at speed I couldn’t hold down a giggle working its way up. Was this really happening? Would it be possible a guy like me could own something like this?! I felt like slapping myself, but since I’m not into pain the thought quickly subsided. The Impala gobbled up the road and soon we were sitting across from his mom at the dining room table. She says, “What’s up?” he says, “Max wants to buy my car” she says, “So?” he says, “He’s only got $650!” She says, “So?” He says, “So you don’t mind if I sell it to him for that?” She says, “I don’t care what you do with your cars!” He says while slapping the title down in front of me, “Max, you just bought a car!” This was going better than any daydream I had ever had! Next thing I knew we were sitting in his girlfriend’s kitchen and her dad, a Notary Public, was notarizing the title over to me. Then on to my house, removed his plates, and I took him home in my mom’s old Ford. The next day being Saturday I only had to work a half day which was good because I’m not sure I could have handled the anticipation any longer. Then I met my buddy at the bank and handed him his money. With title to my new car in hand I then walked to the Department of Motor Vehicles and got my new plates. Wow, was life good or what! I hiked back to the bank and caught a ride home with mom and soon found out I wasn’t the only one who was excited about my new purchase. My younger brother and sister were having a great time cleaning the windows and polishing the chrome when I arrived home. In nanoseconds I had the new plates attached to the rear or the car. Everything had been very exciting up to this point, but the full impact wouldn’t hit me until I slid into that big plush driver’s seat, pushed in the big black rubber covered clutch pedal, slipped the chrome key with the Che

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