If there is one thing that is difficult for a car builder to do, it is to build a car that has the ability to stand out in the sea of cars that participate at the annual SEMA Show. The quality of the cars that make the yearly pilgrimage to Las Vegas is unparalleled. Just having a car at the event is a feat in itself, and every now and again, there is one car that catches your eye. There is always that one car that commands you take a second look. For us, it was this 1962 Impala SS built by Jason Hill.
Jason tells us that he has been building cars in his shop (Hill’s Hot Rods in Lubbock, Texas), to bring to SEMA for the last 12 years. The work-related eye candy he brought this year may have started life as an Impala SS, but now it is so much more than just another restored car.
This particular car initially belonged to a customer that had already installed a 502 cubic-inch Chevrolet Performance engine, and after most of the metal work was complete, fell on hard times and had to sell it. Jason was in a position to help out, and purchased the car — but he had different plans for the car than the previous owner did. Jason tells us, “I wanted to modernize it and make it a reliable driver, so the big-block came out.”
Underneath the bright red shell is an Art Morrison chassis with a three-link rear suspension with air bags on all four corners. The body was smoothed to give a clean, crisp look, and most of the trim was removed. What wasn’t removed — like the bumpers that are now one piece instead of three separate pieces, was painted. Speaking of paint, the red you are looking at is a custom-blended PPG color that Jason developed, and calls it Hill’s Red.
Under the hood is the heartbeat of the modernization, an LS3 that is mated to a 4L65 overdrive transmission. The engine has been stroked to 416 cubic-inches, and some minor porting has been done to the heads. Jason also added Holley electronic fuel injection, and finally, did a camshaft swap. Since a hot rod needs to sound the part, a complete Magnaflow exhaust system was bolted under the car. Finally, a 9-inch rearend with 4.11 gears rounds out the driveline.
The over-sized rolling stock is a set a Raceline wheels that measure 22×12 and 12×8.5 inches. They are wrapped in some seriously-big B.F. Goodrich rubber. Behind those massive wheels is a set of Wilwood brakes.
One of the many aspects of the car that really caught our attention, was the engine surround. Jason tells us, “The metal was all hand-fabricated in-house at the shop, and then painted with a custom-blended color.”
When it comes to the interior, you really need to see it in person, as pictures just don’t do it justice. Jimmy Davis of JD Glassworks in Lubbock, is responsible for stitching the tan Ultraleather interior. Jason let us know, “I plan to drive this car quite a bit, so I chose the Ultraleather, as it tends to last longer than traditional leather.” In case you’re wondering, “What is Ultraleather,” it is a polyurethane-based synthetic material. Did you notice the dash? Gone are the factory gauges, and in their place is a Dakota Digital cluster designed for use in a 1967 Chevelle. It definitely gives the dash a clean look.
Like we said, building something that stands out at the SEMA Show takes a lot of quality workmanship, determination, and let’s face it, some luck. Jason Hill accomplished this very thing with his car, and we can’t wait to see what he brings next year.