Spotting this unrestored, ’63 Chevy Impala post sedan at an intersection on my block in July of 2010 got me thinking at the time: What were the years like between when this car first drove off the lot (perhaps from “Z” Frank Chevrolet in adjacent Rogers Park) and that very moment? And how much fun would it be to cruise this baby downtown Chicago from Edgewater on Lake Shore Drive with the windows down, with your crew and/or significant other along for the ride?
My best bud in high school, Fred R., had a yellow, 1976 Chevrolet Nova coupe with a 305 V8 2-bbl. and 3-speed auto. Fred’s ride wasn’t a hooptie in the true sense (in contrast to the Bondo-fest that my ’76 Chevelle Malibu Classic turned out to be), but it was fifteen years old at the time and still a very large car for a “compact”, especially when parked next to its then-current descendant, the front-wheel-drive Beretta. Fred’s Nova was solid and rust-free, had been repainted once (to a brighter shade of chrome yellow), had a white, vinyl interior in excellent condition, and sat on aftermarket, slotted mags that complemented its cool lines and Seventies-swagger.
In the early 1990’s, Fred’s car stood out for its great condition, in contrast to many other Novas of its vintage in the area, many of which were clapped-out. We’d fit four, or sometimes five, of us in the Nova pretty easily, heading to Playland Arcade or Tilt at the Genesee Valley Mall, to Showcase Cinemas for a flick, or to Hot ‘N Now for a bag full of $0.39 hamburgers. Friday nights, we’d all go to “The Cruise” on Industrial Ave. on Flint’s north side near an empty factory complex to watch cars street-race (which police seemed to largely ignore). Great days. Some of my favorite teenage memories are from when I was riding “shotgun” in Fred’s Nova.
Which brings me to my QOTD: For those of us who had a good high school friend who drove a car that would have been considered big or old at that time, what are some of your favorite memories of that car?
Top photo: Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, July 3, 2010.
Second photo: Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, January 31, 2010.
Third and fourth photos (taken from the front passenger’s seat of Fred’s ’76 Nova): Downtown, Flint, Michigan, May 1992.