The Ultimate 1963 Chevrolet Impala Wagon

The Ultimate 1963 Chevrolet Impala Wagon

A car named “Impressive” carries lofty expectations, and this custom 1963 Chevrolet Impala wagon, built by the team at Show Cars Automotive, has more than lived up to its name. This unique build has garnered multiple prestigious awards, including the Designer’s Choice at the 2021 Chevy SEMA Design Awards.

A Legacy of Awards
The Show Cars Automotive team, based in New Ulm, Minnesota, showcased their black two-door Impala in a position of honor at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. This prominent placement was earned through their victory in the 2020 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. Prior to that, the car won the highly coveted Ridler Award at the 2020 Detroit Autorama.

During the 2021 SEMA Show, General Motors designers awarded the vehicle the Designer’s Choice trophy, a testament to the car’s exceptional design and engineering. Brad Ranweiler, the shop’s proprietor, expressed his pride in this recognition: “Having gentlemen that are trained and educated in design to choose what we engineered and designed is a compliment. We’re very proud of that.”

A Family Tradition of Excellence
Show Cars Automotive specializes in reproduction 348-409 Chevy parts for 1958-1964 passenger cars. Brad Ranweiler runs the shop with his sons, Brady and Cory. The journey to creating “Impressive” began in 2010 when Brad brought a restored 1963 Impala to the SEMA Show, winning the Chevy SEMA Design Award for Top Restored Car. This victory paved the way for their next ambitious project: the custom 1963 Impala wagon.

“We had a four-door ’63 wagon that was meant to be a shop hauler,” Brady Ranweiler explains. “We figured if we wrecked it, because we had little experience with customs, nobody really cared. We wanted to go for a two-door wagon that pretty much anybody, no matter what their occupation, no matter what their lifestyle, would find kind of elegant to drive and ride in.”

Engineering Marvel
The Impala is powered by an original iron-block 409 cu.-in. engine, bored and stroked to 509. “Dad has a vast knowledge of the inner workings of [the engine] and we’ve been around those cars all our lives so it was just kind of fitting,” Brady Ranweiler says. The engine produces 615 horsepower, topped with a Hilborn eight-stack EFI system. The exhaust features stainless steel headers and pipes by GP Headers, with hoses and fittings by Tech-AFX.

The car’s meticulous attention to detail extends beyond the engine. It rides on a custom one-of-a-kind frame from Art Morrison Enterprises and one-off custom wheels by EVOD Industries, wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Rosso tires. The driveline features a 4L80E four-speed transmission from TCI, an aluminum driveshaft by Inland Empire, and a Currie Enterprises nine-inch triangulated four-link rear end with 3.70 center. Four-wheel Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes ensure stopping power.

Aesthetic Excellence
The black paint by PPG Industries, custom glass from A&M Hot Rod Glass, and chrome by Advanced Plating contribute to the car’s striking appearance. The handcrafted interior by M&M Hot Rod Interiors and custom trim by Show Cars Automotive and EVOD underscore the build’s high-quality craftsmanship. The dash is by Dakota Digital, with sound provided by Kenwood, Kicker, and Hushmat.

The car’s seamless design incorporates many hidden elements, such as the suicide-style hood and powered back gate, both with concealed mechanisms. The top is chopped three inches, the frame is channeled, and the two-door hardtop windshield is laid back about seven degrees. Even the fasteners are custom-made, with each head featuring the same milled design.

A Labor of Love
Brad Ranweiler’s nearly 50-year career in the automotive world, starting with collision repair and progressing to classic restorations, culminated in the creation of “Impressive.” The build began in 2010 and aimed for perfection, with the ultimate goal of winning the Ridler Award—a dream realized at the 2020 Detroit Autorama.

“It’s really nice when we come to [SEMA] and now we get the designers from GM who say, ‘Boy, maybe this is the way we could’ve done it, and maybe we should’ve done it,'” Brad says. “That’s awesome. The building has kind of come full circle with winning the first one and now this one.”

“Impressive” is more than just a name for this 1963 Impala. It’s a testament to the Ranweiler family’s dedication to automotive excellence and their ability to create a show-stopping, award-winning vehicle that continues to captivate audiences and judges alike.

Engine

  • Type: Original iron-block 409 cu.-in. engine
  • Bored and Stroked: 509 cu.-in.
  • Horsepower: 615 HP
  • EFI System: Hilborn eight-stack
  • Exhaust: Stainless steel headers and pipes by GP Headers
  • Hoses and Fittings: Tech-AFX

Driveline

  • Transmission: 4L80E four-speed by TCI
  • Driveshaft: 3 ½” aluminum by Inland Empire
  • Rear End: Currie Enterprises nine-inch triangulated four-link with 3.70 center

Performance Enhancements

  • Frame: Custom one-of-a-kind by Art Morrison Enterprises
  • Wheels: One-off custom by EVOD Industries (18×8 front, 20×12 rear)
  • Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Rosso
  • Power Steering: Uni-Steer Performance electric unit
  • Rack and Pinion: Billet by Chassisworks
  • Brakes: Four-wheel Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes

Source: Chevrolet/The-Block
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