Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Convertible Week continues with a Broad Channel Bow Tie

Believe it or not the following images were taken in New York City. The city is so vast that if you explore enough you can find yourself in what appears to be a small village in Cape Cod.
The Broad Channel neighborhood sits in the middle of Jamaica Bay between Howard Beach and the Rockaways in Queens. I was riding my bike out to Far Rockaway and thought I'd finally explore this remote enclave. Within minutes I was looking at this:
What we have here is a 1966 Chevrolet Impala convertible in Tuxedo Black. We know it's an Impala and not a Caprice because contrary to online rumors Chevy only produced a single Caprice convertible for '66. As a result the Impala was the #2 selling convertible in the U.S. that year behind the Ford Mustang.
This thing has seen better days for sure but it's sitting up at the correct ride height with a nice set of fully inflated tires and the roof is in good condition. There are no plates on it but it has a parking space of its own so nobody is bothering it.
The rectangular taillights of '65 and '66 were a major departure for the Impala lineup. In the years previous and subsequent to this design the Impala had 3 separate lights on each side while the Bel Air and later Caprice had only 2.
Throughout the decade of the 1960s Chevrolet was a massive seller. The Impala could be had with any number of drivetrain combinations from a 250 inline 6 cylinder to a 396 V8 with several choices between those two.
The rusty wheels on this ride look to have started out as chrome units. The identifying Impala emblems are missing from the front fenders of this car. If it were a hardtop we'd have an impossible task deducing whether it was an Impala or Caprice.
Oof! This lower rust eating right through the rocker panels and lower door are tough spots necessitating some pretty serious welding and panel replacement. Between the chrome wheels and this somewhat odd spot for bad body rot I wonder if this car road out Hurricane Sandy in this neighborhood. Broad Channel was hit particularly bad with just about everything submerged under a few feet of water. The local fire department lost their trucks and ambulance in the storm, so it's not a leap to think this poor ride might have been flooded as well.
The interior at fist glance looks complete if a bit dirty. I see a bench seat but can't make out a column shifter so I'm hopeful it has a manual transmission!
Here we can get a glimpse of the front end with its distinctive mid-60s forward-leaning stance. The more I look at this ride the more I feel like it must be a Sandy survivor. Everything from the beltline up looks too great; the windows are all plum and on track, top tight and presentable, interior complete, etc to warrant the kind of wholesale damage to the lower half.
I took these pics well over a year ago so hopefully this old Chevy has been cruising the streets this summer. It is loaded with potential and has the benefit of being a classic where just about every part is widely available in the marketplace. Maybe I'll head back down that way to check in on it and see if she's still holding down that same parking spot. If I can I'll post a follow-up
Stay tuned tomorrow as Convertible Week continues for Labor Day!

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