Car of the Week: 1958 Chevrolet Impala custom

Ron Kiblinger had multiple muscle cars and antiques that had gone unnoticed at car shows — mostly because they were in a line of cars that were the same or similar to his. His passion was to build a unique show car using a 1958 Chevrolet Impala.
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Car of the Week 2020
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Ron Kiblinger had multiple muscle cars and antiques that had gone unnoticed at car shows — mostly because they were in a line of cars that were the same or similar to his. His passion was to build a unique show car using a 1958 Chevrolet Impala.

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He turned to John Matlack, who worked previously into the limousine-building industry, to handle the job. The car they used had been sitting in a field in Colorado for 17 years. The goal was to build the car with classic taste without taking anything away from the original style and appeal, utilizing the factory parts and improving on their looks. The job involved a 5-year rotisserie restoration. 


The '58 Impala doesn’t require much modifications to make it appealing. With all the chrome and being a large car, black paint was the logical choice — Tuxedo Black Metallic plus a lot of clear and polishing. The silver painted center panels of the bumpers have been chrome plated. The grille was finished in anodized chrome. The side and back glass is gray tinted. The rocker moldings have been powder coated black minus the top quarter inch. The 17-inch chrome wheels give the Chevy a modern stance.

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A lot of time and thought was put into interior. Most custom interiors are made to look modern. Matlack and Kiblinger wanted this interior to look vintage using early 1960s Impala parts. The goal was to have people wonder: “Did Impalas come with bucket seats and console”? Or, this is how the interior should have looked like in 1958.

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Interior features include:

• Smoothed dash with Dakota gauges in the factory bezel.

• Dash trim hand made to match the console.

• Custom air vents and radio mounts molded out of steel.

• Ididit tilt column with 3-inch smaller vintage steering wheel.

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• Vintage Air with hidden controls mounted inside the console.

• 1962 Impala seats, powder coated frames and new foam.

• New reproduction 1964 Impala console.

• Dove gray Ultra Leather throughout. Perforated inserts in the seats to match the perforated headliner.

• Rear factory seat frame and foam modified to match the bucket seats.

• The headliner trim the chrome has been deleted for a cleaner look.

• Custom fitted and sewn European carpet.

• Custom clean wiring hand made to match the car’s components.

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• Sound deadening throughout interior and trunk.

• All interior and trunk panels are made of ABS so they will not warp over time.

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Engine and compartment:

Hundreds of hours spent smoothing the firewall, bottom of the hood, inner fenders and the core support to make the original 348 engine look like a diamond in a black jewelry box. The black paint on the firewall and hood was color sanded smooth and polished so the motor reflects onto the firewall and hood.

• The original 348 motor has been completely rebuilt and balanced.

• 90 hours were spent grinding and polishing the Edelbrock intake and ribbed valve covers.

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• The smoothed exhaust manifolds were ceramic coated and all parts the engine components are installed with ARP 12-point stainless bolts.

• Holley 600 carburetor with electric choke were installed.

• An electronic ignition module replaced the points inside the original distributor.

• A Lamar Walden serpentine front runner kit was added.

• The unattractive original top tank radiator that sticks up above the core support was replaced with an aluminum radiator hidden by a custom-made housing and two Spal 13-inch fans.

• Wiring is hidden and the AC lines and components are hidden inside the passenger side fender well.

Chassis and drivetrain:

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• The cast-iron power guide transmission was replaced with a Chevrolet 350 turbo.

• Power-assist steering was changed to a 605 power steering box conversion kit.

• Front end linkage was replaced.

• Front drums were replaced with a disc brake conversion kit. Rear brakes were rebuilt.

• Differential housing was powder coated and all bearings and seals replaced.

• Chassis and components were sand blasted and powder coated.

• Brake lines and gas lines were replaced.

• New front and rear Moog springs were installed.

• A ceramic-coated flanged exhaust system was bolted in.


The impressive sound system is controlled by a volume switch mounted inside the console.

• Lanzar tweeters molded into the A-pillar covers.

• JL Audio 6 x 9’s mounted behind the custom made ABS kick panels.

• Pioneer head unit with illumination matching the blue dash color lighting.

• American Bass 12-inch subwoofer.

• 3,000-watt Crunch Amp running the subwoofer and 1,500-watt Crunch Amp running the front speakers.

• Large power cell battery mounted in the trunk for the stereo and starting.

• Battery tender mounted permanently in the trunk.

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