Taking Our First Classic to Another Level.
Enzowerks’s Modern Take on a Classic
Emotions teem around the 1964 Chevrolet Impala Coupe SS once parked at Enzowerks Automotive. Watching the reaction of both the wise and the young is always entertaining. It’s an instant conversation starter.
What is it about the Impala that spans generations? Is it the classic design with its melodramatic proportions? Or could it be that almost every rap video since the 80’s has one in it? One thing is for sure, the design is timeless.
The Duality of Air Ride
Air Lift Performance has almost every modern car covered when it comes to air ride. The Impala, however, is far from modern; So we will have to piece together a system and fabricate whatever is missing. Using Air Lift Performance’s “universal air spring for ANY application”, the Dominator™ Series Air Bags are filled by a FLO Billet Air Tank connected to 2 VIAIR 444C compressors. Each compressor is mounted on isolators that keep vibration & noise to a minimum.
For aesthetics purposes, we added an oil filled analog air gauge for quick readings on pressure. It sits between the tank and air management via copper hardlines. All of this is mounted directly to the custom fit wood flooring among other accouterments.
Build Upon a Strong Foundation
The Impala’s original suspension came with a few caveats: Rust, Worn Out Bushings and Rear Leaf Springs. For those who know, leaf springs and air ride do not mix very well.
Black Powder-coated Summit Racing Tubular arms paired with QA-1 Precision Powered 18-way adjustable twin-tube shocks give the Impala track like handling over the old mushy boat feel of the original suspension. Both compression & rebound are adjustable in order to dial in the perfect ride for performance and/or comfort.
Because the original era-correct aftermarket rack-n-pinion was on its last leg, we installed a quicker ratio internally powered steering unit from Global West Suspension. Precise steering feel now gives you the confidence in your equipment to hit highway speeds.
How Do You Stop A Freight Train?
Wilwood Forged Billet Aluminum All Around
The original generic aftermarket brakes where really not up to task when compared to the suspension upgrades and with drums in the back, the look was rather dated. Wilwood provides stopping power with their forged billet aluminum calipers and vented slotted disc brakes. Not only do the new disc brakes significantly improve braking performance (obvious), but their high-tech design looks absolutely amazing!
Of course no matter how good your brakes are, if your tires are crap, nothing will stop you in time. We use Michellin Pilot Super Sports for perfect fitment and perfect performance.
Rotiform Forged 2-piece KPS
Fitment with full functionality. At Enzowerks we are not big fans of running ridiculous and dangerous camber with incorrect tire sizes just to make them fit. Hopefully the trend is short-lived. We prefer perfect fitment with performance rubber to increase performance not hurt it.
Power Generator & Wiring
No Fire Hazards Here
During installation of the air management we noticed quite a few wires were at the end of their lifespan. We certainly could not return the Impala to the owner knowing the original wiring was a fire hazard. We ended up gutting out the entire original wiring harness and replacing it with American Autowire’s Classic Update Series Wiring Harness. We also ended up replacing every bulb on the Impala.
Plenty of Room for Improvement
The future plans for the Impala include paint & body and perhaps an engine swap to a twin turbo unit but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Just to dress up the crate motor small block and it’s tired looking 4 barrel Edlebrock carburetor, we converted the v-belt to serpentine with some shiny new pulleys and added a 140 amp high performance alternator to supplement the added voltage demands.
Lastly, we wired in digital fan controllers, new high volume fans and a new aluminum radiator just in case you get stuck in Miami’s infamous traffic jams 🙂
If you’re ready to take the plunge into air ride for your classic, we highly recommend the upgrade. Modern handling on your 45+ year old classic can breathe new delight into weekend cruises.
Contact us for a consultation on how Enzowerks Automotive can update/modify your weekend warrior classic car.