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1963 Chevy Impala - Oh, One Owner

Les Boudewyn’s ’63 Impala

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Tech Notes

Who: Les Boudewyn

What: ’63 Chevy Impala

Where: Spokane, Washington. Home of turbos.

Engine: The 5.3L V8 is from a wrecked Silverado with 48,000 miles. It was purchased for $900 as a long- block from Spalding’s Auto parts, a local Spokane wrecking yard. Also purchased was a truck front-accessory drive, an alternator, and a power steering pump that plugs into an ’87 Buick Grand National power-steering box that was swapped in during the ’80s. The cam is a single- pattern hydraulic roller from Texas Speed with 228 degrees of duration at 0.050 and 0.588 lift

EFI: The fuel-injection system is not that complicated. Marty used the stock GM computer with a custom wiring harness from Fuel Injection Connection to get it running and tuned it with HPTuners software. Marty basically wipes the transmission and other nonessential controls and tunes the A/F and timing maps for the boost he wants. Since this engine isn’t about maximum power, the injectors are relatively small at 48 lb/hr. This ensures proper fuel control at light throttle and idle. The intake is an Edelbrock Victor Jr. with Edelbrock fuel rails, and the polished elbow is a low-profile LS design from The MAF is from a 6.0L truck engine, and the throttle-body can be found on any GM truck. Everything is fed with a Summit Racing inline fuel pump.

Transmission: For longevity in a heavy, turbocharged car, Marty chose to use a TH400 instead of a modern overdrive. This is possible because the rearend gear is only a 3.08:1 instead of something more radical. The turbo guys have found that you don’t need a lot of rear gear to get sideways when you have boost. Another interesting feature is the torque converter, a tight 2,300-rpm TCI converter designed for circle track racing. According to Marty, short-track racers don’t want a lot of flywheel weight and want something tight to get off the corner. The $387 TCI converter does all that and doesn’t cost a fortune.

Rearend: No one thought the 8.2-inch 10-bolt would live past the first day, so it was switched to an 8.5 10-bolt out of a ’73 Nova almost immediately. Both the Nova and the Impala use a housing that is 60 inches wide. You just need to reweld all the brackets.

Suspension: Everyone we talked to loved the way the car rides. The secret is a pair of big, 20-year-old, mystery-brand sway bars front and rear. Otherwise, it is stock.

Wheels/Tires: The wheels are 17x7 (4-inch back) and 17x8 (5-inch back) American Racing TorqThrust Ds that have been painted black, and the tires are Nexen N3000s from eBay. The sizes are 215/50ZR17 and 275/50ZR17 rear. “They smoke when you punch it,” Marty says.

Paint and Body: This was an amateur restoration driver before it was stripped for a repaint. Les and Cory Gilbert from CG Customs block-sanded the car and added the Viper Red paint.

Interior: The brown interior was swapped for black years ago. It was still in good shape, so it was saved and reinstalled after the car was painted. The shifter is from ShiftWorx, and the gauge is from Aero Force. It scrolls through all the vital parameters from the stock GM computer.

Thanks to: SMC Customs for the mandrel-bent exhaust, CG Customs for the paint and body, and Stromberger Performance for putting it all together.

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