290hp/283 Rachester Ram-Jet Fuelie Powered
1959 Chevrolet Impala Fuel Injected Convertible
Chassis no. F59L189294
The 1959 Chevrolets competed with the hugely finned Cadillacs for the most outrageous design of the 1950s. In truth, it was a close call. Once again Chevrolet ditched every element of the previous year's styling to emerge with the amazing "cat's eye" taillights hidden beneath the canted batwing fins, whose 12-inch scalloped sides were the deepest curve ever pressed into a steel panel in a car. Chevrolet edged Ford for #1 in model year production with 1,481,071 to 1,394.684.
If this was the period of 'Endless Summer', as the Beach Boys sang, Chevrolet was ready to pitch in, and sold an amazing 72,765 Impala convertibles that year. While the big motor was still the 315-horsepower, Tri-Power, 348 cubic-inch V8, the durable small-block 283 cubic inch engine could be had in many tuning stages, from 185 horsepower with a Rochester 2-barrel carburetor, to 290 horsepower when equipped with the solid-lifter Corvette motor and Rochester cold-air box fuel injection.
Chevrolet had discontinued the fuel-injection option in 1959, with the exception of the Corvette, after grumbles from people who probably couldn't start their cars when they were full of groceries on hot Sundays. But it's generally agreed that between 26 and 37 cars were delivered with leftover 1958 Rochester fuel-injection units.
This car was built in Los Angeles and joined the Lewis collection in 2005. It's finished in Frost Blue metallic and is clearly the recipient of a restoration in the not-too-distant past. It's fitted with the 290-horsepower, 283 cubic inch, solid-lifter engine and Rochester Ram-Jet cold-air fuel injection, power steering and power brakes. Under the hood, the engine compartment is immaculate, with the ram-air intake and airbox behind the left headlight. The car has a four-speed transmission and dual exhaust. Detailed photographs show the car's underneath condition to be clean and sound.
The paint is excellent, the chrome plating and side trim hard to fault and the white vinyl top is well-fitted. The interior is finished in blue vinyl with blue and silver cloth inserts and there is an aftermarket stereo. The bumpers and grill are superb and the car has spinner hubcaps and dual antennas. Both doors need to be adjusted at the rear. The odometer indicates 80,019 miles, which could well be correct.
While no original documents exist to prove the car was delivered in this remarkable configuration, a fuel-injected Impala convertible must be considered the "holy grail" of 1959 Chevys and is bound to excite much interest and comment wherever it appears.