August 17, 2018
Today’s RealRide took me back to the old neighborhood in Hamburg, where Mick & Becky Russell’s 1964 Chevy Impala SS sits quietly in an attached garage. Quietly that is, until the ignition key is turned, and the 502-cu.in. V-8 comes to life — a crate engine which, by the way, was manufactured just up the road apiece (okay, half an hour’s drive) at GM’s Tonawanda Engine Plant. You’d never know it by looking, but the Russells’ car was completed back in 1992, and has since led a relatively quiet life parked next to a 1982 25thAnniversary Corvette. Popular Hot Rodding magazine reported back in 1996, in a feature they ran on the Impala titled Tonawanda Terror, …this 3,900-pound Impala grunts to 12.51 elapsed times at 105 mph — yet Russell tells us it’s never been raced. It was built for the love of having it, he told me, with much help from Buffalo’s Torrelli Pro Car, along with long-time neighbor George Wagner (who not only had a big part in the mechanical build, but who also produced the flawless paint job, which is the same Silver Beige Metallic as the 25th-Anny ‘Vette); the flames were added by Hamburg’s Jimmy Shine. Getting back to the powertrain, Russell figures that the engine produces around 500 hp, and it’s connected to a Turbo 400 transmission. The tubbed rear-end is completely contained within the trunk area, so the back seat is still fully functional. The Russells don’t drive the SS very often, but, just in case, you’ll be glad to know that the reg & NYS inspection stickers are current… so you never know when it might roar through your neighborhood!
Jim Corbran, RRofWNY
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