1962 Chevrolet Impala by Chic Henry
ohOn the occasion of Chic Henry’s 75th birthday, let’s go back to the original feature film by his famous Chev, dating from 1982
THE first time the name Chic Henry was printed in Street Machine was in April / May 1982, just the fifth issue to hit the stands. The Dick Coates shoot was quite memorable, shot at the Old Brisbane Museum.
Street machine Summernats was a long way off, but Chic was already deeply involved in the formative years of our sport, having competed in the first four National Street Machine Championships and leading the fifth in 1982 as event director. This first feature film didn’t mention anything about it – it was only about his ’62 Impala Super Sports.
The ’62 was an original 409, two-oven, four-speed, but by the time he came to buy the car, all the right gear had been removed and replaced with a 289 and ‘Glide. Chic’s solution was to replace it with an angry 427 rat engine and a 727 TorqueFlite on Wild Bill Shrewsbury’s LA Dart stander. Chic mounted the push button auto shifter to a custom stalk that is still in the car.
The car itself had a body-off restoration under its home in Brisbane, with the chassis sandblasted and coated, while the body was brought back to metal and struck a modified Lancia catalog blue.
Chic had the car re-styled by Keith Albury with brocade accents on the seats. “John Peterson always teased me about this cut,” Chic says. “He thought I got them from the famous Melbourne furniture king, Franco Cozzo!”
Underneath has been updated with HQ drives on the front and a Watts link on the back. The rims were the classic combo of the Cragar SS and BF Goodrich T / A.
In this form, the Chev was used a lot on the streets, tore the go-to-whoa track in the first National Street Machine Championships, and of course did plenty of drag racing in Surfers, where Chic was also a scrutineer.
“My favorite memory of that time is a special meeting where I did my technical checks, went out and qualified with a 12.8, won my class and took out Top Eliminator. So I got paid to be a public servant, grabbed cash prizes, and went home!
The ’62 has undergone a number of engine combinations over the years, including a blown configuration built by Mick Atholwood. This engine later became famous when it was fitted to Wayne Barbour’s Corvette.
The Chev then rode a wild Weber quad setup that has been used regularly at the Summernats’ exhaustion terrain every year.
These days, the Chev uses a Shafiroff 540ci engine from the Camaro de Chic. One thing that hasn’t changed is the TorqueFlite push button. “It’s a really strong box, so I have no reason to take it out.”
And did he ever think he would keep 62 that long? “Not back then, but I love this car. I like the 62s, not the 61s or 63s. People tell me I should build a hot rod, but I still love this car.