Bob Huffman's 1965 Chevrolet

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Bob's Impala as it looked when he bought it as a stocker from Paramount Chevrolet in Downey in September of 1964. The stock color was blue. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Some of the changes Bob did to the first version of the Impala. The rear end of the car was restyled by removing the stock taillights from the trunk lid. The stock taillight holes were welded shut before Bob rounded the corners on the trunk-lid and installed new taillights between the trunk-lid and rear bumper. The new tailights were tunneled in. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Another under progress photo taken in Bob's driveway. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
The first version of the car was completed in 1966, featuring a bumperless front end design, restyled rear end, a gold metalflake paint job and hydraulics on all four corners. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
The first version of the car at an indoor car show. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Bob's Impala next to Tom Chafin's 1963 Buick Riviera outside Chief Seattle Garage in Seattle in January of 1967. Bob and Tom were attending a car show in Seattle, and they stopped by the shop to ask for directions. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Bob and Tom on their way back home from the show in Seattle. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Another photo of the Impala next to Tom Chafin's 1963 Buick Riviera. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
A featured story on Bob's first version of the Impala was published in Rod & Custom June 1969. The photos for the story were taken two years earlier, in 1967.
Rod & Custom October 1967 featured a sketchpad drawing by Harry Bradley that Bob really liked. After seing this design, he asked his friend Tom Chafin, who worked at Barris Kustoms, if he could help him restyle the Impala after Harry Bradley's drawing. Tom agreed, and he and Bob began restyling the car in October of 1967.
A construction photo of the "Harry Bradley" version of the Impala. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Another under progress photo of the Impala. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
The second version of Bob's Impala at an indoor car show in Seattle. This version was painted Pearl Orange. On the way home from this show, the car was damaged in a snow storm. It was then fixed up again and repainted Pearl White. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
A rear end shot of the orange version of the Impala. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Bob with the Impala at an indoor car show. He believes this photo was taken at the Peterson Autorama in Anaheim. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
The car as it appeared when it was featured in Rod & Custom June 1969. Photo by Harry Bradley.
The Impala as it sat when it was featured in Street Machine July 1978. At the time, it was still owned by Bob Schoonhoven of Seattle.
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The Impala in Texas while Bob Schoonhoven still owned it. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Bob Huffman's wall of memories. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
The Impala as it looked when Chuck Mathis of Roseburg, Oregon owned it.
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June 8, 2015 Bob Huffman went to visit Blackie to see the Chevrolet for the first time in 46 years. Bob is wearing the red shirt in the photo. Blackie is in the center, and Bob's son Bobby Huffman is on the right side in the photo with a gray shirt. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Bob's old Impala as it sat in June of 2015. Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
Photo courtesy of Bob Huffman.
A photo of the Impala as it appeared in August of 2018, after David had put some new wheels on the car. Photo courtesy of David Novelo.
Photo courtesy of David Novelo.
Photo courtesy of David Novelo.
Bob's old Impala cosmetically cleaned up and put on display at the 2019 Grand National Roadster Show. According to Howard Gribble, the car was looking pretty good! Photo courtesy of Howard Gribble.
Photo courtesy of Howard Gribble.
Photo courtesy of Howard Gribble.
Photo courtesy of Howard Gribble.
Photo courtesy of Howard Gribble.

1965 Chevrolet Impala owned and restyled by Bob Huffman of Norwalk, California. Bob bought the Impala brand new from Paramount Chevrolet in Downey, California in September of 1964. He paid $3100.00 for the car, took it home and started restyling it almost immediately. The first version of the Impala was completed in 1966, featuring a bumperless front end design and Hydraulics on all four corners. The hydraulics were installed by Bob and Jim Dickerson of Hollydale, California. The rear end of the car was restyled by removing the stock taillights from the trunk lid. The stock taillight holes were welded shut before Bob rounded the corners on the trunk-lid and installed new taillights between the trunk-lid and rear bumper. The new tailights were tunneled in. The body was nosed, decked and shaved for door handles and trim before the car was sent to the paint shop. Bob did everything on the car himself, except for the paint. David Brewer of Paramount gave the car a gold metalflake paint job at Art Chrome Body Shop. David lived down the street from the Art Chrome Body Shop, and he cut a deal with them to rent the spray booth. Once completed, Rod & Custom magazine did a photo-shoot with the car in 1967. The story appeared two years later, in Rod & Custom June 1969.[1]


In 1967, Rod & Custom Magazine published a concept drawing by Harry Bradley in their October issue, that Bob really liked. He asked his friend Tom Chafin, who worked for George Barris at Barris Kustoms at the time, if he could help him restyle the car after Harry Bradley's design. Tom agreed, and he and Bob started restyling the car again in October of 1967. The second version of the Impala was completed in 1968, featuring a Pearl Orange paint job. On his way home from Seattle the car was damaged in a snow storm. The damages were fixed, and the car was painted Pearl white.[1]


After the car had been restyled after the Harry Bradley design, and repainted white, Bob was at a repair shop in Torrance, California when a guy came in and asked if it was his car sitting outside. Bob told him it was his car, and the guy introduced himself as Harry Bradley. He then asked Bob where he had come up with the style for the car. Not knowing what the guy wanted, Bob answered Rod & Custom Magazine. Harry asked if he could do a photo-shoot, and Bob answered yes of course. A few days later Bob went to Harry's house at the beach. They did the photo shoot, and Harry showed Bob his cars before, Bob left again without knowing how famous Harry was going to be. Harry's story on Bob's Impala was published in Rod & Custom April 1969.[1]


Bob sold the car to Bob Schoonhoven, a car show promotor and car builder of Seattle, Washington, for $3000.00 in 1969. The car was sold so Bob could buy his first home. After Bob had sold the Chevrolet he met Lee Prat, who told Bob he had designed his LeSabre after Bob's Impala.[1] A featured story on the Impala can be found in Street Machine July 1978. At the time it was still owned by Bob Schoonoven. By then the top had been chopped, and the doors had been suicided. According to that story the front and rear had been extended 18 inches. That version of the car had been painted in a burnt candy orange. The upholstery was gold crushed velvet and the dash was handmade, The seats came from a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette. Power came from a stock 283 Chevrolet V-8 engine that had been dressed up with a lot of chrome. According to the story, Bob had $13,000 in the car, and he had won People's Choice award in every show he attended.[2]


The car was later owned by Chuck Mathis of Roseburg, Oregon. According to Dick Page, Phil Schiefer had chopped the top and painted it pearl white with gold pearl and hair paint panels by then.[3]


In May of 2012 Bob Huffman was able to locate his old custom. By then it was in the collection of Mike "Blackie" Gejeian in Fresno, California. On June 8, 2015 Bob went to visit Blackie to see the Chevrolet for the first time in 46 years.


Sold to David Novelo

In 2016 Mike "Blackie" Gejeian passed away. In May of 2018 David Novelo of Ontario, California bought the old custom from Blackie's granddaughter. David cosmetically cleaned the car up before he installed new, more period correct tires, and put it on display at the 2019 Grand National Roadster Show.[4]


For Sale

In May of 2019, David decided to downsize his collection of cars, and he put the Impala up for sale. He is currently looking for a good home for the historic custom, so if you're interested you can reach David at oldzkoolrides@gmail.com. The car runs and drives good. It has a new hydraullic set up, and according to David, it rides smooth. He also has the old set up that will go with the car. It comes with a clear California title.


Magazine Features

Rod & Custom April 1969
Rod & Custom June 1969
Street Machine July 1978


References



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