More Than a Name – Show Cars Automotive’s “Impressive” ’63 Impala Wagon
It’s hard to believe this stunning ’63 Impala, which became a finalist for the Vintage Air Custom Rod of Year award at the Goodguys 2020 Heartland Nationals, was originally purchased to be a parts haulin’ shop car for Show Cars Automotive, Inc. At the time, the New Ulm, Minnesota-based company specialized in restorations, but company founder Brad Ranweiler had always dreamed of building a custom car that would compete against the best of the best.
After a nine-year build and with the help of his sons Brady and Cory, that custom car dream has been realized. Not only are they in the running for 2021 Custom Rod of the Year, but they also won the coveted Don Ridler Memorial Award at the 2020 Detroit Autorama.
The Impala wagon, known as “Impressive”, plays host to more than 300 custom hand-made components with all but only a baker’s dozen or so crafted by the Ranweiler family. The most obvious custom work to the wagon is the striking absence of two doors, but the body has also been channeled over the custom Art Morrison chassis, the roof chopped a touch, there’s the hand-made reverse self-opening hood and power rear tailgate, custom body filler panels, floor pans, and more. All of this work was engineered and built by father and sons, then finished with a PPG-9300 black to perfection.
Under the hood is a 409-based block boasting 509 cubes crowned with a customized Hilborn injection system that is surrounded by over 100 other one-off pieces. A 4L60E trans backs up the 600-plus horsepower along with a 9-inch rearend with set of EVOD 20×12-inch rear wheels and 18×8-inch fronts wrapped in Pirelli tread on each corner.
Full-size Chevy fans will be surprised to find the dash of a ’60 Impala, filled with Dakota Digital gauges, along with a Vintage Air system to keep the big space cool. M&M Hot Rod Interiors stitched custom-dyed Italian leather with insets over a set of ’59 Eldorado seats and followed suit through the rest of the interior. All of the pedals, handles and accessories were (of course) designed and machined by the Ranweilers.
The Impressive Impala wagon is amazing in photos but gets even better when you see it in person. And if you get a chance, ask Brad, Brady or Cory to show you the retractable gas door or a few of their other well-engineered custom tricks.
Photos by John Jackson