B-J to auction Buddy Holly’s ’58 Impala

A 1958 Chevrolet Impala originally purchased by rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly will be up for bids at the 39th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale on Jan. 18-24. Holly purchased the coral colored Chevy in 1957; the car was fully restored in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

“This is a great example of cars and rock ‘n’ roll crossing paths again at Barrett-Jackson,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “In this instance, we have one of the most influential young musicians of his time in Buddy Holly, who purchased this amazing symbol of Americana during Detroit’s ‘Golden Age.'”


Not long after graduating from a Lubbock high school in 1955, Charles Hardin Holley (Buddy Holly) and his band, The Crickets, became household names. Around that time, Chevrolet’s sporty new full-sized vehicle, the Impala, hit the streets. According to several accounts, Buddy took a liking to the Impala after his father and brother became enamored with the new design. When his record sales provided enough cash, he purchased his first car from Meadors-Stewart Company in Clovis, N.M., at the age of 20.


“Buddy asked his producer and close friend, Norman Petty, to arrange the purchase,” said Bill Clement, current owner of the Buddy Holly Impala. “Norman was very popular throughout Clovis and contacted his friends at the Meadors-Stewart Chevy store to discuss options and then reviewed the details with Buddy. One bit of genius on Petty’s part was recommending the 50th anniversary coral color scheme being offered on GM vehicles in 1958.”


The car was ordered with a V-8 engine, automatic transmission, fender skirts, twin antennas, mirrors and was lowered three inches all around. The car also got a set of gold 50th anniversary wheel spinners and white wall tires to match the roof and body stripe. Additional modifications included painting the skirts to match the coral body color and an upgraded coral interior dress up kit.


Holly eventually gave the Impala to his father as a belated Christmas gift. The Impala became the Holley family car; Buddy’s sister even learned to drive in it.  The Impala was later sold, abandoned and left for dead at a West Texas body shop. More than a decade later, Clement, a Lubbock native, high-volume Chevy collector and owner of the well-known “Chevy Craft” shop, purchased the Impala after researching the car and confirming it had indeed belonged to Holly. The car was then restored to its current condition.


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