“Impressive” 1963 Impala Wagon Crowned Goodguys 2021 Snap-on Custom of the Year
The stealthy, sleek, phantom, “Impressive” 1963 Impala Wagon has hauled home the Goodguys 2021 Snap-on Custom of the Year title. The custom-crafted 2-door Chevy wagon, built by the Ranweiler family at their Minnesota-based shop, Show Cars Automotive, earned the crown on Sunday during the 31st Autumn Get-Together in Pleasanton, California.
The Custom of the Year honor adds to an already long list of accolades for the stunning wagon, which debuted in 2020 and won the coveted Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama and went on to win the SEMA Battle of the Builders. Family patriarch and Show Cars Automotive founder Brad Ranweiler had always dreamed of building a custom car that would compete against the best of the best. Working with his sons, Cory and Brady, he has realized that dream with this impressive Impala.
The result of a nine-year build process, the wagon started as a weathered parts runner for the business, which specializes in restoration parts for 1958-64 Chevys. The extensive custom work goes well beyond just creating a two-door wagon body style – something Chevrolet didn’t offer in 1963. Virtually every piece of the body has been modified or custom built. The top is chopped, the windshield is laid back, and the B- and C-pillars and rear tailgate custom built. Impala quarter panels and doors were used in the two-door conversion process.
The front of the Chevy is all custom, with an integrated front clip where the fenders, header panel, core support, and inner fenders are all welded to the cowl for a smooth, seamless appearance. A reverse-opening pancaked hood is part of the package, along with a one-off grille machined by EVOD and a smooth modified bumper. EVOD also machined the custom taillight bezels and rear trim, while the custom rear bumper incorporates one-off exhaust outlets. All of the custom bodywork was gapped and block sanded to perfection before being bathed in a deep, beautiful PPG black finish.
The body is channeled over a custom Art Morrison chassis that provides updated suspension and a lowered stance over custom-carved 18- and 20-inch EVOD wheels. And the engine is a work of art in itself – a 509c.i. W-engine based on a 409 block, with Edelbrock aluminum heads and a customized Hilborn injection system. It’s incredibly well detailed and dressed in more than 100 one-off pieces. More than 600 horsepower is channeled through a 4L80E transmission.
Chevy fans will note the use of a ’60 Impala dash inside, filled with Dakota Digital gauges and plenty of custom billet trim. A Vintage Air system keeps the big space cool. M&M Hot Rod Interiors stitched the custom-dyed Italian leather over a set of ’59 Eldorado seats and followed suit through the rest of the interior. All of the pedals, handles, accessories, and trim pieces were designed and machined by the Ranweilers.
The phantom Impala wagon is impressive in photos and even more so in person when you can study the details up close. The Chevy went up against a fantastic field of customs in Pleasanton, with a Top Five that included Don and Brenda Waters’ just-finished ’66 Cadillac, David Ceccanti’s chopped ’47 Buick, Bob Dron’s chopped and hardtopped ’48 Chevy, and Mitch Gustafson’s wildly flamed ’51 Merc. In the end, the fanatical attention to detail and top level-craftsmanship of the Impressive 1963 Impala wagon put it on top. Congratulations to the Ranweiler family for having the car named the Goodguys 2021 Snap-on Custom of the Year!
Photos by Damon Lee & Steven Bunker