Dennis McKee's 1958 Chevrolet

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The Impala as it sat in 1962, right after Dennis had painted the wheels black and installed Baby Moon hubcaps. Photo provided by Dennis McKee.
Dennis with his Impala in the driveway at the house where he grew up in Torrance after Joe Andersen had painted it in pearl Tangerine. Photo provided by Dennis McKee.
Photo provided by Dennis McKee.
Photo provided by Dennis McKee.
A photo of Dennis' Impala in front of Joe Hurst's house in Torrance around 1962 - 1963.Photo provided by Dennis McKee.
Photo provided by Dennis McKee.
Photo provided by Dennis McKee.

1958 Chevrolet Impala owned by Dennis McKee of Torrance, California. Dennis bought the car from Hovey Dallas Chevrolet in Gardena, California in 1962. Dennis was 16 years old at the time, he went to North Torrance High and he was a Sophomore. When he got the Impala, it was red on red, completely stock, and it had about 12,000 miles on the odometer. The first thing Dennis did to the car was to paint the wheels black and install a set of baby moons. Later on, during the summer of 1962, Dennis had Joe Andersen of Joe Andersen's Custom Shop paint it pearl Tangerine. Before handing the car over to Joe, Dennis shaved off a few emblems. Back from paint, the car was further restyled by installing an aftermarket custom 1961 Ford tube bar grill, and by moving the stock turn lights back a couple of inches. Inside, the glove box door, the ashtray and all of the window frames were chromed. An ARC under the dash record player was installed, and the interior was painted black using fabric spray. The car was fit with chromed wheels, and it was lowered up front giving it a rake. The car was powered by the stock, but chromed out 348 Chevrolet engine. The engine was hooked to a Powerglide transmission.[1]


Dennis remembers that when he got his car and drivers license in the summer of 1962 Torrance cruisers would cruise school in the morning, before school started, and after school was over. They would then go home for a few hours before they would all meet at McDonald's hamburger stand at the corner of Crenshaw and Artesia Blvd. No indoors just walk up and eat in you car or standing around mostly. As the evening got later they would go cruise Hawthorn Blvd. to the A&W Drive In. A year or two later they built an A&W about a mile north of McDonalds at Crenshaw and Redondo Beach Blvd and Torrance cruisers started hanging out there instead. It was across the street from El Camino College. Friday and Saturday nights they would meet at a hang out and drive to Lakewood Blvd, and cruise the Lakewood Mall, one of the first shopping centers. It was also near Hody's drive in. Then they would cruise the A&W on Bellflower Blvd. Then cruise Bellflower Blvd. a few times. This was after the Clock drive in was gone, as Dennis never saw the Clock as it was before his time. After Bellflower they would head to Harvy's Broiler by the way of Tweedy Blvd., another cruising street. When they got to Harvy' s, which would later become Johnnys Broiler, you would cruise in and out untill a parking spot opend up. You just had to be lucky to be in the line at the time someone was leaving. They sat there until it got late or they were kicked out because they were not buying any more food. By then it was around 10 pm to midnight and they would head back to Torrance. If McDonalds or El Camino A&W was dead they would go to Hawthorn A&W, if that was dead they would sometimes go to the Witchestand drive in further north. That was what the Torrance cruisers did in the mid 1960s.[1]


After the pictures above were taken, Dennis installed Ford Comet/Fairlane taillights on the car. These lights bolted right on. They stuck out a couple of inches and were flat at the ends with chrome trim around the base. The car was also lowered a lot more later on. After selling the Impala, Dennis bought another 1958 Chevrolet Impala. The next one was silver with Astro Supreme wheels and Hydraulic suspension. According to Dennis, it was back in those days that such a car was a custom, and not a low rider.[1]


References



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