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Outselling Ford by some 800,000 vehicles, Chevrolet had a very good year in 1963. Nearly 833,000 of the cars Chevrolet sold that year were of its flagship Impala. Available in six models, including two popular station wagons, the 1963 Chevrolet Impala was once a common sight on American highways. Today, the full-size 1963 model is the most sought-after Impala, outpacing even the classic 1959 model, with its batwing horizontal fins.
The 1963 Chevrolet Impala convertible, owned by Renee Martoglio, is like a member of the family. Actually, the car has been in her family since it rolled off the showroom floor long before she was born.
“The car has been in my family since it was brand new,” Martoglio explains. “My mothers cousin, a World War II veteran, bought it originally and the cousin bought it from him in the mid-1970s and stored it in a barn in Buffalo, N.Y. Neither of them took the car out during the winter time. My parents bought the car in 2001. They met some members of the High Rollers club in Seffner who put them in touch with the people who did the frame-off restoration, which was completed in 2004.”
That restoration was intended to return the 1963 Impala to its former glory, without modernization. Even the paint job is a match to its original color. The car most likely left the factory with a 230 cubic-inch six cylinder motor, but that engine has been replaced with a 283 cubic-inch V-8, which was available in select Impalas in 1963. The only modification to the car was the addition of dual exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers. Otherwise, the 1963 Impala is original.
“The seats have been recovered and the convertible top has been replaced, but just about everything else on the car is original,” Martoglio adds.
Chevrolet advertised the 1963 Impala as “jet smooth,” in reference to the comfort of the ride courtesy of its state-of-the-art suspension and the fluid Powerglide transmission. Standard features were sparse by todays measure, and included an AM radio, self-adjusting Safety-Master drum brakes, and an electric clock. The car boasted a Delcotron generator, even as many manufacturers were switching over to alternators. The 1963 Impala was huge by standards of today, at 17½ feet long and 6 ½ wide. With its bench seats, the car could seat six adults comfortably, which made it a popular choice for families.
Martoglio, who inherited her 1963 Impala from her parents this past January, is thoroughly enjoying tooling around in the classic ride but admits that driving the car does present some challenges. “It is a lot of fun to drive, but I am still getting used to it,” she says. “I am so used to driving modern cars, so it is an experience learning to drive a car like that. My every day car is a newer Mustang, which turns on a dime, but the Impala has a much larger turning radius – almost like a truck.”
Even though she never rode in the car during its time in Buffalo, Martoglio says that driving the 1963 Impala still brings back many happy memories. “I cannot help but smile every time I get in that car,” she says. “The car reminds me of my parents happiness. They had so much fun with it, and they took it to so many car shows all across Florida. They won tons of trophies with it, many of which were for Best In Show. The car gets lots of attention, mostly from older people, but I have noticed that little children gravitate towards it and their eyes light up when they see such a big car.”

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