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Customs Need advice, 1963 Chevy Impala 4 door, yes or no

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Oldmopars89, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. 283john
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 807


    My buddy had a fairly rough 4dr '63 Bel Air with a 283/Powerglide...looked a lot like the one above Guthrie posted except the roof was the same color as the body. Interior was shot, paint was faded..but it rode super nice, got pretty good mileage, and it fit the whole gang easily for a night of rolling around having fun. He still regrets selling it even with the nice '67 Chevelle and '67 Nova SS he still has.
    lothiandon1940 and guthriesmith like this.
  2. I think it can be a fun driver. The question is how much will you have to put into it before you spend more than you would buying a better condition car to start with? If you can do some interior work yourself, and the mechanical repairs to engine, trans, fuel and brake systems are not too bad, chances are you can be driving and having fun for not too bad of money cost. Since it is rust free, at a minimum you could part it out and get your money plus some profit back. Just depends on how much time and effort you want to put into that, to get moeny to then buy a different better condition car?
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  3. The as-bought condition of this one. Interior was near perfect and it had been stored in a lean to for a long time.

  4. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,180


    As I get older and have owned almost a hundred cars in my life. Some of my favorite driver type cars have been 4 doors.
    while living at the Grand Canyon a young guy who worked on the trail crew contacted me about a highly optioned 70 Dodge Dart he had inherited from his Grand mother. It needed front ball joints and he wanted a VW bug . So I located him a suitable bug and we swapped. It had a perfect body and paint.
    It was a life long Az. car and had a perfect vinyl top which is rare ,but the car had always been garaged.
    318 automatic ,A/C and all of the options you could get . I put a set of ball joints and new tires ,had it aligned and it was a highway cruiser from hell. You could jump in it and drive to Las Vegas for the weekend with nothing more than check the oil.
    I sold it for 4 grand to a couple that worked with me. They moved to Death Valley to work and had the car for at least 4 years and made several trips back to Wisconsin to visit their families.
    A well bought 4 door can give you many years of good transportation while you are looking for that elusive 2 door.
    lothiandon1940 and guthriesmith like this.
  5. 55 Ford Gasser
    Joined: Jul 7, 2011
    Posts: 554

    55 Ford Gasser

    This is what I think about 4 doors: While driving you see the same thing that someone sees while driving a 2 door. As we get older, so do our friends and it's a whole lot easier getting into the back seat. Plus, a lot easier when doing weddings, etc. People that want an "old" car for their wedding usually don't care about models, doors, etc.
    I say go for it. Ron
  6. cshades
    Joined: Sep 2, 2011
    Posts: 501

    from wi

    i think 4 doors are fun, i have owned a few and some of my friends also. who cares what everyone else thinks? you only have to please yourself. i especially like them if you have kids or grandkids makes it a lot easier to get them in and out.
  7. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,668


    A 63 Impala is a beautiful and nice driving car and even though it´s a 4dr, it´s still 100 % nicer than anything that ´s been built since let´s say the mid 70s. Maybe you could find some better seats from a rusty parts car and better door panels, maybe leftovers from someone who parted out a 4dr? I´d start looking for used interior parts. And let me tell you , going down the road you won´t notice any difference in driving no matter how many doors it has. The exact opposite is true,if you keep it simple you´ll have more fun to use and abuse the car because you won´t be afraid to ruin something ´s value. I´d go for it , most smiles per miles your $ can buy.
  8. MO54Frank
    Joined: Apr 1, 2019
    Posts: 399


    It does depend on the year, make and model, as some cars “just” look better than others. Almost any 4-door hardtop pushes my buttons.
    As to the question of resale value, it’s easy to put more money in a car than it’s “worth”, no matter the number of doors it has.
    If this old Chevy has caught your interest, then buy it.
  9. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,242

    from Oregon

    Likely whatever you pay for it, and put into it to get it running, will result in having more in it than it's worth if you sell it. If you're OK with being in that situation once you've got it done, then have at it. It might be a fun project, and I'd look at it from that point of view if I chose to do it. But I wouldn't do it myself, as I don't like post WWII four doors.
  10. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,695


    The best part of starting with a 4 door sedan is it's really easy to convert one to a 2 door sedan if you find a pair of the longer doors and a donor car to cut the B pillars out of. I've done 5 like this already and it's not that hard.

    And no, I'm not talking about a shortened up clown car which looks stupid. The roof, floor pan, wheelbase, ect. is all the same between a 2 door sedan and 4 door sedan.

    Start with a rust free car, do the mechanical stuff, wait until the ideal donor car comes along for the doors and B pillars (the rest of the car can be rotted or stripped, won't matter) Drive it as a 4 door until the parts turn up. You can do it just with the doors and build out the B pillars and quarters using the old back door pieces but it's more fab work that way.

    You don't really even have to repaint the car if you don't want to. My '57 was a 4 door, you can tell the doors don't match perfectly but I just didn't feel like painting it yet. Paint the new 2 door sedan doors and touch up the quarters around the seams if you want to keep the old weathered paint. Both of these cars below were 4 doors and neither were repainted.

  11. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 452

    bill gruendeman

    I am not a 4 door guy, but this car is for you not me. I say drag it home get running first, than and only than put some money in it. If the motor is bad it’s a parts car. If the motor is good put a few bucks in brakes , etc, etc. don’t get in to deep and can get your money back out of it, running driving car is always worth more than a field car.
    Unique Rustorations likes this.
  12. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 5,274


    @wicarnut I’m not giving advice, other than if the OP can do the work to make it safe and reliable, as opposed to paying to have it done, it would still be a good my opinion;)

    When I was younger, I used to look at cars like that and think “too bad it’s a 4-door”. Now I really just appreciate the styling, metal bumpers, trim, etc. All the things that have left us the past 40 years or so.
    Unique Rustorations likes this.
  13. It's 'traditional' to not like 4-door post cars. :eek:
    squirrel and guthriesmith like this.
  14. Oldmopars89
    Joined: Jan 12, 2021
    Posts: 10


    I may have given the wrong impression, I like 4 doors and I am not looking to get a 2 door. A 2 door as I said is just more money than I have, or want to spend even if I had it. 4 doors are fine for me, I have had many.
    I will start looking for used interior parts and evaluate if I want to go back all original, or if I can live with it being non-original.
    After all I am looking for a project, something to have fun in and make my own. The body is perfect as is. I may just need to give the interior some personality on the cheaper side. I love Mexican blankets and they may provide inspiration for the interior.
    I think it will all come down to price, and it will have to be cheap as I have a long drive to go get it and bring it home.
    egads, woodscaper, Cosmo50 and 3 others like this.
  15. Unique Rustorations
    Joined: Nov 15, 2018
    Posts: 567

    Unique Rustorations

    Keep us updated please. We like pics too!! Lol. Randy

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 848


    Now if this was back in the day, some high school kid would get ahold it, spray can hot rod primer, chrome rims, and air shocks in the back. On any given Saturday he would be burning the rear tires, Main Street downtown. Oh yea, don't forget running plastic hose from the windshield washer to the rear wheels filled with bleach.
  17. Oldmopars89
    Joined: Jan 12, 2021
    Posts: 10


    I hope to find out today or tomorrow if we are going to have a deal or not. I will try to get some pictures today, I hope more snow melts so you can see it.
    egads and guthriesmith like this.
  18. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,668


    I´ve done a few 4 drs ,if you have the skills and enjoy the work, I´d say go for it.
    Here are a few pics for inspiration... my 61 Chevy the day i picked it up
    and the day I sold it ( with a profit) after I had a lot of fun with it


    A rustfree 64 Wildcat, someone had bought for the nailhead, but the nailhead was bad. Sold the 401 and SP400 for more than the complete car had cost me, built the car with a 350/th400 , made a mexican blanket interior and drove the wheels off of it. After a while I sold the car for double the money I had in it...Both cars were frame off builds and pretty clean ,that helped of course.

    Day 1
    Garage 021.jpg
    1964 wildcat 002.jpg
    Installing the 200€ 350 and transmission
    1964 wildcat 073.jpg
    A new carpet was under 200$ from ACC I think, just repaired what was left of the door panels.
    1964 wildcat 043.jpg
    wildcatdez 014.jpg

    Sorry for hijacking your post, but I still think you can certainly make something cool out of a 63 Impala...
    lewk, egads, chevy57dude and 2 others like this.
  19. One extra thought. Look in the trunk up near the wheel wells there will be a shelf. The rear body mounts are attached to it by the wheel wells. Normally one will see a lot of rust thru here indicating the body mounts are trashed. If they are cutting thru chances are the floor may follow suite. I would peel the carpet back if you can. These cars are an X frame so the floor and it's supports along with the rockers support the body. Can all be replaced but it gets costly. Good luck with the negotiations.
  20. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,695


    If you like a 4 door, you want a project, and this one really is rust free and has paint you like, and if the price is right, I think you'd be crazy not to buy it.

    The argument that it won't be worth what you spend on it is kinda stupid, because it's almost always cheaper to buy one that's finished, the point of buying a project is that it's fun to build a project. Sometimes you'll get a driver on the road cheaper by starting with a project, and that's all great, but again, it's not the point.

    As for the interior, there is some great tech on the board about doing low cost custom interior, and used stuff often comes up for sale, especially 4 door stuff. I parted out a '64 Belair 4 door post a few years ago and I very well may have kept the original door panels, I'd have to check. I know they were red. If you get the car and have no starting point for door panels, let me know, I'd sell them. No way would I spend $1000 for new door panels for a patina/budget driver.
  21. If you are looking at a car as an investment you are going to spend more than it is worth. If you like the car cost to make it nice is just part of having a car that you like. BTW while a more door is not as high on my list of things to own '63 is a very desirable year.
    Budget36 likes this.
  22. Oldmopars89
    Joined: Jan 12, 2021
    Posts: 10


    So it turns out I did not pay too close attention the first time I looked at it. It is a 4 door hardtop.
    He shot me an off the cuff starting price of $1500. I was hoping for less than $1000. The alternator is missing and the brake master is off, but there. Water pump is locked up, but have not tried to turn the engine as there is no belt.
    I will still have to travel a long way to get it, 600 miles.

    Attached Files:

    lewk, TerrytheK, egads and 3 others like this.
  23. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,347


    Ive gotta strong bias against 4 doors but nowadays its cool to see any old car on the road. It would be cool if it were just a good car. Better than driving a modern appliance.
    scotty t, samurai mike and Cosmo50 like this.
  24. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,984

    from California

    the only question I have is why would anyone come here and ask a bunch of strangers from all over the place what car they should buy. buy what looks like fun to you. buy what you can build with your skill set and tools. buy what you can afford.

    I find 4 door haters to be an odd bunch. bought a 1949 Chevrolet 4 door bomb several years back. had the visor and all the stuff on it like I wanted. 4 doors like I wanted. it was even faded green like what I imagined in my head, all this with a bonus of a 350 and auto.

    a "street rodder" friend of mine warned me not to put any money in it because i would never get it back out being a 4 door. talked to me like I was some fool for even considering it. paid $5200. did a bunch of improvements like disc brakes and sold it for a profit, though my goal was to keep it and never sell it, sometimes life gets in the way of our plans.

    4 door haters eat boogers.
  25. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,347


    Oh 600 miles away. Fuck that
    Moondog13 likes this.
  26. Update: that's a '62, not a '63. but still has potential.
    MO54Frank likes this.
  27. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,188


  28. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,984

    from California


    geeze what a terrible looking car. all those doors. a 2 door hardtop like that would be $8,000. better just start sav8ing.

    there is $4,000.00 worth of parts on that car if not more.
    lewk and richards69impala like this.
  29. Seems overpriced to me.
  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,441


    looks good to me, aside from all that snow around it....

    but it's not my money, and not my road trip.
    Moondog13 and guthriesmith like this.

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