Custom Cruise Friday
This week’s Custom Cruise Friday feature is something a few degrees different that what is normally covered. The 1964 Chevy Impala owned by James Cooke fits tightly in with our overall theme of looking at the history of General Motors’ vehicles in Edmonton. However, Cooke’s plans for the car are something fairly new to the series. Most owners profiled here are looking to restore their cars to a state that is as close to factory as possible. Cooke wants to give the car a low-rider overhaul complete with fully functioning hydraulics.
Path to a low rider
Cooke purchased his 1964 Impala from Little Lot, an outlet for customized or classic vehicles in Edmonton. Cooke has owned the car for three years, and despite his ambitious future plans, he has kept the changes or upgrades to the car on the modest side. Upon taking the car home, he immediately placed staggered tires with muscle car style rims. He feels that this look is very much in line with the capabilities and style of the classic Impala.
“I wanted to give (the Impala) a muscle car look,” Cooke said. “These little tires have to spin a lot of times to get anywhere on the highway.”
Cooke has owned large luxury cars from the early 1980s before, but the 1964 Chevy Impala is his first foray into the classic realm.
“I’ve never owned nothing this old before,” Cooke said. “I’ve had an ’83 Olds and ’84 Buick. I seem to be going back in time with cars.”
Join the Club
As a young man, Cooke grew up seeing music videos filled with customized cars on aggressive hydraulic packages. This has clearly colored his future into knowing he wanted to build one for himself one day. Eastern Canada has a strong car culture surrounding low riders. Cooke and a few friends are working on bringing some of that to Edmonton through their Never Enough Car Club.
“I’m trying to do as much (work on the car) myself as I can,” Cooke said.
Down the road, Cooke plans to do a frame-off restoration/modification for the Impala. This means reinforcing the chassis to handle the stress of twisting and bouncing hydraulics. Because of these plans he hasn’t been shy about driving the car and has put more than a fair amount of kilometers on the car. Also given his plans for a pretty intense paint job during the process, he hasn’t worried about the occasional blemish showing up on the current paint.
Aesthetic plans aside, Cooke is also working out the feasibility of upgrading the engine. He would like to add a turbocharging unit to the engine while keeping the car’s original powertrain intact.
“I like the ‘old school’ mechanicals (found in the 1964 Impala),” Cooke said. “Everything is easily accessible and simple to work on.”
If you have a classic, custom or otherwise special vehicle you would like to see profiled in a Custom Cruise Friday post, contact Don Wheaton Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki by email — firstname.lastname@example.org.