El Diablo – Adam Hartley’s 1963 Chevrolet Impala Wagon

A lot of adjectives come to mind when describing Adam Hartley of Las Vegas, Nevada … Eclectic, unique, maybe even a bit odd. Not that this is anything new in the custom car world. Not only is he the father of three, but he’s also a heavily tattooed car builder with quite the collection in his stable. He’s built quite a few rides in his past too including a ’94 Toyota pickup, a few VW’s, and an ’87 Astro van, which lead to the purchase of the ’63 Impala you see here.

Shaved, Painted, House of Kolor, Colorado Custom, Impala Wagon, Kustom

We do mean that literally too. Adam was cruising around a Tangelo Orange pearl Astro van around Vegas everyday with a little “For Sale” sign in the corner of the window. While cruising around town he ran into a dude with a ’63 Impala wagon, also Tangelo pearl, that was selling his car as well. The ’63 was juiced, laid on 14” wires, and even appeared in the pages of Lowrider back when the car was in Hawaii. A deal was struck and Adam traded his van for the Impala, straight across.

hot rod, retro, low-rod, Impala, Airbags, pinstriping, pinstriped hot rod

Even though the car was “done”, it wasn’t the style that Adam was going for. It was a good start though for a custom low-rod, and that’s exactly what he had in mind. He turned to his good friend Joe Musso of Musso Motorsports, and they mapped out a plan of attack. The goal was the Sema show, 2002, just 8 months away.

The car was stripped down to the bare essentials to be rebuilt. The bodywork was first on the list. Off came the handles, the mirrors, fender emblems, lower rocker moldings, the roof rack and the factory antenna. Between Joe Musso and Tristan at T-Creations in Las Vegas, the car was shaved, blocked, and straightened out. Next it was time for the paint, and Adam had a sick plan in mind. He wanted lots of scallops, flames, and some old-school pinstriping to give it a real custom touch. Ryan Evans & Joe Musso did all the work, painting the car using all House of Kolor products. The car was painted Persimmon Kandi with orange flake from the windows up, and flames were added in Tangelo Pearl. The rest of the car was painted Tangelo pearl also, with scallops and flames in the same Persimmon pearl that the roof was painted in. The car was then pinstriped by Ryan with other various House of Kolor products.

Scallops, flames, airbags, kandy, flake, pinstriping, Kustom Impala, low-rodder

While the outside of the car was being built, Adam sent off the interior to Friend’s Upholstery in Las Vegas. Since the car is a factory 9 passenger model, there was a lot of work to do. The seats were previously wrapped in white vinyl with gold plated buttons. Adam took a few hours to strip the gold from the buttons, and repainted them to match the brown vinyl that Friend’s Upholstery used to wrap the seats. The headliner was redone around the same time, as well as the door panels.

The dash, however, is a whole other story. The original dash pad was removed and the holes were shaved, then the dash was sprayed with Tangelo pearl with a gang of flake. ACC Carpet provided a brown carpet kit for the car, and Colorado Customs hooked him up with a Paradox steering wheel to match his rims. A B&M floor shifter was mated to the tranny, and a custom shift boot was made at the same time. When it came time to do the stereo, Adam went to Dave Rayna at Audio Xcellence in Las Vegas. Since he didn’t want to hack up the factory dash to fit a din-mounted stereo, Adam made a plate in the glove box to fit a Panasonic CD player. An Eclipse component set was installed into a set of custom kick panels that were painted Tangelo Pearl as well.

custom kickpanels, vinyl interior, switch panel, billet steering wheel, flaked dash, custom interior, Impala Wagon, hot rod

Two things were out of the way, now it was time for Adam to tackle the engine bay. The previous owner of the car had rebuilt the stock 283, and bored the motor over .030.  Adam did add some dress up items though, as well as a few performance goodies. The motor now sports a HEI Distributor, Hooker Headers, Coolflex radiator hose kit, Edlebrock carb, Mooneyes valve covers, and a one-wire alternator. Adam decided to rebuild the Turbo 350 that was in the car for extra reliability. He really had it easy with the paint work there too, since it was already Tangelo Pearl. The finishing touch was a yellow top Optima battery.

The one last thing on the list before SEMA was the suspension. First on the list was replacing the worn out factory bushings. Out came the cracking rubber bushings, and in went an Energy Suspension bushing kit. Adam wanted to lay the car out, and with the help of Joe Musso, he made it happen. First the factory front and rear springs were tossed in the trash and replaced with Firestone 2600 airbags. The whole system was plumbed with ½-inch line and ½-inch Parker valves. A plexiglass switch box with 10 switches was wired up, and Adam was out of nosebleed status just like that. The 14’s weren’t really a low-rod look though, so he bolted up some 20” Colorado Custom Paradox rims with 255/35 Pirelli PZero Rossos.

V8, SBC, Chevy, Billet, Carb, chrome accessories, Mooneyes valve cover, Edelbrock,

8 months and $10g’s later, Adam had a cruiser to be proud of. He’s not done with it either. Since this shoot, Adam’s car has changed up a bit. The Colorado Customs were exchanged with some 5-spokers, and disc brakes were added on as well. The 283 blew up along the way, so in went a crate 350 with all the trimmings. Adam still drives this car every day – well, unless he’s driving his ’63 Nailhead Riviera, but that’s a whole other story.

Props go out to Kevin Books, DJ Rolly Polly, Joe Musso, Triston from T-Creations, Dave Rayna, Colorado Custom, Pirelli, House of Kolor, Energy Suspension,  ACC Custom Carpet, B&M, Mooneyes, Musso Motorsports, Audio Xcellence, Bigtime Threads, Friends Upholstery, and the homie Boogie from Customatix.

Impala Wagon, airride, Firestone airbags, low-rod, Custom Chevy, C-10, hot rod pickup

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