An Impala to Impress

1963 Chevy Impala SS is Super Sweet

By Jeff Barnes

It’s kind of funny how Mike White’s 1963 Chevy Impala SS gets people to open up.

When he picked it up from a consignor after buying it in May 2007, he barely had the keys in his hands before a man pulled up and asked him if he wanted to sell it. “I told him no and then he asked ‘Can I drive it?’” White said. “Another guy wanted to buy it while I was gassing it up, and a neighbor that I hadn’t talked to for eight to nine years came over and wanted to talk about it. Everywhere I go, people want to talk.”

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It’s probably because White has quite the conversation piece. The light blue two-door Chevy with the Super Sport package is completely original and immaculate. It’s got the original paint and original interior, highlighting a car with 31,000 miles. If you were wondering, that’s less than 700 miles a year since the assembly line.

“The engine and transmission have been redone,” says White, human resource manager for Pederson Power Products in Omaha, “but they’re matching numbers. It’s very rare to find a car like this – the appraiser (who examined the car before he bought it) told me that he never sees them.”

The pristine nature of the car has its downside, White said. “I can’t do anything to it. I wanted to put a dual exhaust on it, but the one place in town that can do it refused. ‘You do NOT want to do that,’ he told me.”

White, 59, said he was looking for some fun on wheels before buying the car, but intended it to be of the two-wheel variety.  He had a Harley Davidson when he and his wife Rose were married, “but after our son (Stephen) was born, I had had a couple of close calls and we decided it probably wasn’t good to continue with it.”

With Stephen now grown, White began thinking he’d like to get another Harley. He and Rose eventually agreed that when their pet dog died, she could get a new dog and he could get a new “hog.” When the dog eventually died, and a replacement puppy was found, their son suggested naming him “Harley.”

“He told us ’That way you can both get what you want’,” said White. “Now we have a Shi Tzu named Harley that’s afraid of squirrels. I’ve written Stephen out of the will.”

As a new old-car owner, White joined the Chevrolet Classics Club in Omaha. “It’s the oldest car club in America and it started right here in Omaha,” he said. “It was the smartest thing to do – they know cars and have a ton of experience.”

Rose White is known by many motorists for her automotive comments as the public affairs director for AAA Nebraska. As part of their shared hobby, she is building an educational display on the year 1963.

“It was a big year, with Kennedy’s assassination and Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech,” she said. “There were major developments in science, technology, politics, culture, and fashion, so I plan to create a display of that year to compliment the car.” She’s presently scouring eBay and antique shops for display items, which currently includes record albums, Life magazine and Barbie dolls.

White says he hasn’t done any car shows yet and isn’t sure he will. “If I did, especially the big shows, I’d have to keep it spotless,” he said. “You have to stick around the car for that, and I’d rather go around and talk to the other car owners.”

(Originally published in the Omaha World-Herald, November 2008)

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