Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The classy 1959 Chevrolet Impala September 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:07 AM

A back shot of Tim Swanson's 1959 Chevy Impala.

A back shot of Tim Swanson's 1959 Chevy Impala.

A FEW WEEKS AGO while attending a car show in Faribault, I saw my dad’s car. Well, not exactly Dad’s car, but close enough.

Tim Swanson of Faribault owns the 1959 four-door black and white Chevrolet Impala that so reminds me of a car from my childhood. Unlike Tim’s car, my dad’s Impala was mostly black with a white stripe running down each side.

Tim’s Chevy features a Tuxedo Black paint job accented by Snowcrest White across the top and trunk of the car. If anything, you have to appreciate those classy color names, which Tim verified for me in a thick Chevy manual.

He’s pretty proud of the car he redid, stripping it down to the metal, removing “crappy carpeting” (his words, not mine), replacing the seat covers and more. And he should be. This car shines, literally, and with pride in ownership.

Even though Tim isn’t nearly old enough to remember 1959, the 59 always has been his favorite year, he tells me. And that, he explains, traces to the plastic car models he built as a boy. They were always 59s.

He’s even more precise about what he likes specifically on his 1959 Chevy. It’s the teardrop taillights.

I have to agree with Tim. The taillights look like exotic eyes with the curves of the trunk mimicking nicely-arched eyebrows. I’m sure Tim doesn’t quite view it the same way as me.

As I circled Tim’s car, I thought of my dad, who died six years ago. I remembered how all of us kids piled into the backseat of his Chevy so many decades ago. And I wondered why he ever sold that attractive Impala to one of the Rohlik boys.

Couldn’t he just have driven the car another 40 years?

A gorgeous taillight on the 1959 Chevy.

A gorgeous taillight on the 1959 Chevy.

The 1959 Chevy Impala had a factory list price of $2,710.

The 1959 Chevy Impala had a factory list price of $2,710.

Tim Swanson owns this 1959 four-door Chevrolet Impala, one of 85,238 built.

Tim Swanson owns this 1959 four-door Chevrolet Impala, one of 85,238 built.

The beautifully-redone interior of Tim Swanson's 1959 Chevrolet Impala four-door.

The beautifully-redone interior of Tim Swanson's 1959 Chevrolet Impala four-door.

No, this isn't Tim Swanson's car, but a 1960 customized Chevy I photographed in downtown Kenyon. It really doesn't look all that much like the original, but, hey, it's still an old Chevy.

No, this isn't Tim Swanson's car, but a 1960 customized Chevy I photographed in downtown Kenyon, Minn. It really doesn't look all that much like the original, but, hey, it's still kind of cool, isn't it?

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling