If you’re like me, you not only have great memories about your first car, but you also wish you still owned it. The truth is, many first cars succumb to the rigors of being…well… the first car. If it didn’t get destroyed during some hijinks, it was eventually sold to fund something else. This means that unfortunately, not many of us have the ability to say, “I still own mine.” However, if you are like Chad Kallies, you are still able to create memories.
“I wanted to share some pics of my 1967 Impala,” says Chad. “This was my first car, and I bought it when I was 16 years old. I am now 48, and although it has undergone many changes, it still looks almost like it did the day I bought it.”
Chad tells us his family-sized cruiser started life with a 396ci big block under the hood that was backed by a Turbo 400 transmission. While that might have been adequate when new, Chad is an enthusiast who wanted more. Like many lifelong mechanical friends, since then it has undergone several engine changes. Chad recently completed an engine swap, and currently residing under — or should we say, through — the hood, is a tunnel ram equipped 502 cubic-inch behemoth. “The big block is a stock Chevrolet Performance crate engine that is very streetable and a blast to drive, even in such a heavy car,” Chad states with a huge grin on his face. When the engine was on the dyno with the tunnel ram, it made 533 horsepower and 615 lb.-ft. of torque. That factory Turbo 400 has been replaced by another, manually actuated 400 outfitted by Transmission Specialties that brutally send driveshaft-twisting torque to a 4.56-geared 12-bolt housing a spool.
“I had a roll cage installed in 2009 because, at the time, I had a high-horsepower, nitrous-fed small block and was hoping to eventually break into the single-digit quarter-mile e.t.’s,” Chad expounds. “Unfortunately, life took over, and the car sat for several years. One day I decided to put a more street-friendly engine back in the car.”
Finally, Chad informs us the paint and interior were redone a year before he initially bought the car, and it still retains the full stock interior and the same paint it has carried for more than 30 years. “I am still waiting for a different hood to fit the tunnel ram, so at the moment, it’s going old school with no hood,” Chad says. “Sadly, as other projects backed-up in the garage, this one used to sit more than I wanted it to. But I am hoping once winter is over, the opportunity to drive it will happen more often. Thank you for taking the time to read about my car.”
Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since I’ve started the series, I have received more than a few candidates, but I still want to see more — I can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and I’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].