America, land of the free, home of the brave. Our great country is known around the world as the land of opportunity, where a person with grit, determination, and gusto can make a comfortable life for themselves through hard work and determination. Nothing quite says “I’ve arrived” as a classy custom car, and that is part of the reason why many Americans still pour their hard-earned dollars into tricking out vehicles near and dear to their heart.
Miguel Aguilar, a native son of SoCal, has worked hard his whole life. His many achievements include taking 1st place in the NPC Excalibur bodybuilding contest, starting his own real estate firm, and being a husband and father to two young daughters. The man is the epitome of self made, and to celebrate his success he commissioned a 1959 Chevy Impala convertible that definitely lets people know that Miguel has indeed arrived in style.
Introduced in 1957 as a 1958 model, the Chevy Impala immediately found sales success as Chevy’s top-end automobile. It came with all the fins, chrome, bells, and whistles you’d expect from a late 50s Chevrolet. Yet just one year after its introduction, the Impala was dramatically restyled as part of GM’s economizing its lineup.
Miguel saw fit not to mess too much with perfect, leaving the body and styling of this 1959 Impala intact, except he opted for a set of custom Intro wheels to round out the stance. The Impala was restored by Ultimate Hydraulics, who also added airbags to all four corners to allow the Impala to skate along the streets just inches off the ground.
That isn’t the only suspension upgrade the self-made Impala got; a 9-inch Ford rear end replaces the stock setup, as well as four-wheel disc brakes. But the real heart of this beast is under the hood, where a LS2 V8 engine replaces one of seven different V8 engine setups the ‘59 Impala came with. With 385 horsepower on tap, the LS2 V8 is worlds away a superior engine, offering this big old Chevy plenty of power to motivate it down the road.
There is no supercharger, nitrous, or hidden turbo system here; while powerful, this LS2 engine seems perfectly content with cruising duties. Perhaps that is why Miguel opted to keep the interior looking stock, though it has been updated with newer seats and of course a classy audio system. Our favorite feature though is the custom Dakota Digital dashboard that keeps the outline of the original gauges, but replaces them with something thoroughly 21st century.
All too often, we come across cars that are either half-baked, as though the builders gave up at some point or overdone to the point where less becomes more. Miguel’s 1959 Impala however, is a refreshing look at the right details that make for a great cruiser and adding a few modern amenities that do nothing to detract from the classic look and feel of a chromed-out masterpiece of automotive design. Job well done Miguel, we can’t wait to see what’s next!