Reader’s Hardcore Project: Bare-Metal 1965 Impala SS

Here is how the Impala looked around the time Tony bought it.

Everybody wants their car to be just a little bit different from everyone else’s. The goal is to not go to a car show and park next to 100 other cars that are identical in make, model, paint color, interior design, and drivetrain setup — where is the fun in that?

It looks pretty clean, but even in the photos it is evident that there is work to be done.

Tony Albanese of Wasilla, Alaska, started to feel that way when he found out how many other people in his area owned ’65 and ’66 Impalas. “There are something like 15 or so,” Tony explained. “I decided that I didn’t want to do the same thing as everyone else.” Tony felt the urge to be just a little bit different, and he is not the kind of guy that is going to be subtle about it.

The start of the project.

“I’ve always made an attempt to have something other than the norm,” Tony continued. “I had thought about going bare metal, but when my October issue of Hot Rod arrived showcasing a 1939 Plymouth pickup in bare metal, my mind was made up.” Tony is building a bare metal car, and he lives in the state of Alaska. A million questions come to mind: What is he going to do about the bodywork? What about rust? Where do you even start on a project like this? For every question that we had, Tony had an answer. He has obviously thought this through.

The various stages of bodywork that we are all too familiar with.

Tony bought the car in August of 2015, and has worked on it every day for the last year. The project started as a driver-quality car that appeared in decent, original condition. When he started the bodywork, he unfortunately found mountains of body filler, and evidence of a previous wreck.

1200-29

Currently, the body is stripped and heading to a friend’s garage for the rest of the very specialized bodywork. Tony’s friend, Carl Vallee, is somewhat of a magician when it comes to metalwork, and Tony is confident that the final project will be amazing. “His work is flawless,” Tony explained. Not only that, but Carl is really excited about what Tony is doing, and is looking forward to working on Tony’s Impala.

The frame has already been repaired and powdercoated.

The finish work on the metal will be achieved by using five levels of sandpaper, ranging from 100 to 1,500 grit. After the sanding is done, the guys are going to polish the metal and apply Gibbs Lubricant to all of the exposed body panels. “That will prevent rust and corrosion for up to five years,” Tony detailed. “It doesn’t require a clearcoat, you just wipe this stiff on and it’s good.”

Tony working on the frame and getting things ready to come off the car.

Under the hood of this unique build will be a 383 cubic-inch stroker motor. “If I am going to do something radical, I need an engine that is going to match the body,” Tony said. The engine is being built in Spokane, Washington, at Washington Performance Engines. At this point it’s still a toss-up whether the engine will be painted red or black. We like the idea of black.

Tony's engine is in progress, so these are a just couple pictures Steve sent us to demonstrate what his will look like when it's done. What do you think?

Tony has already accumulated the headers, brakes, coilovers, steering components, and a nice set of Cragar wheels. The rest of the build will feature a Muncie four-speed, saddle leather interior with a bare metal dash, Wilwood front disc-brakes, a 12-bolt rearend with Yukon positraction and gearing, and tubular control arms in the front.

Just take a look at all these parts! It's like Christmas for a car guy!

We cannot wait to see this thing when it’s finished. What do you think of Tony’s Impala– does it inspire you to work on your own project car? Let us know in the comments below, and if you have a project of your own that you’ve been slaving away at, share it with us! Send us an email, and yours could be the next Chevy project featured in our Reader’s Hardcore Projects.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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