RK Nation: Logan Boyle’s Four-Door 1966 Chevy Impala

We always enjoy hearing from our readers about what they’re up to. Sometimes, that means telling us where you’ve taken your awesome old cars. And sometimes, that means telling us how you, RK Nation, came to own them. Canadian reader Logan Boyle sent us the whole story of how he came by his 1966 Chevy Impala sedan and it’s pretty great. We’ll let Logan spin the tale himself:

“I have always loved four-door cars. Most people go straight to coupes and convertibles, but when a big tire-smoking four-door rolls up, it just makes me happy.

“I had been on the hunt for a ‘65-’66 Impala for about two years. I wanted a four-door hardtop (no post). They were exceedingly difficult to find. Once the family was done, to the crusher they went. I was actually beginning to settle on the idea of a two-door coupe or SS. The idea didn’t sit well with me as, well, it really wasn’t what I wanted.

“My dad and I actually went to look at an SS in Edmonton. It looked not bad in the pics. No drivetrain, rolling chassis. I was visiting from Parksville, British Columbia, so we went and had a look. There was nothing left of this poor car; it would turn your stomach. Ever hear the old saying ‘Good from far, but far from good?’ That phrase was written for this car. Drywall screws and vice grips held on the rear quarters. The steering column was out of an S10. The floors were hacked and it had a rusted frame. There was no way I could make this work, so we left it.

“On the drive home whenever I stopped for a break I would absent-mindedly look at Kijiji or Craigslist between napping and cruising along in my ‘76 Silverado, listening to the awesome sound of the 454. I kept thinking about the big, tire-smoking four-door that I couldn’t find.

“I arrived at the ferry terminal tired. It was the last sailing from North Vancouver to Nanaimo. I pulled into the ferry and decided to just curl up on the big bench seat in my truck. I pulled out the smart phone and started searching. I had exhausted Craiglist and Kijiji in three provinces and five states by this point, so I literally googled, “1966 Impala four door hardtop”. I started scrolling through the pictures.

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“There she was.

“In Kennewick, Washington. My car, a 1966 Impala four-door hardtop. White with a green/patina top. I clicked the picture. It brought me to a site with numerous classic Chevys for sale. I read the ad 3 times: ‘1966 Impala four door hardtop 327 sbc with 2-speed powerglide. Runs but smokes bad. All original, never touched, no rust, $2500 US.’

“I emailed the guy immediately. I was so pumped up. I then figured I should check where Kennewick was compared to my house. Not far, 9 hours drive time. That’s a cake walk after driving from Bonnyville, Alberta, where my parents live.

“The next day, I received an email from the fellow. I phoned him right away. We chatted for a bit, he tells me literally everything I want to hear. He sent me more pictures and I couldn’t help but think the car looked sad, like it’s waiting for someone or something to rescue it. The cautious in me said ‘OK great, I’ll come have a look. I work shift work so on my next set of days off, I’ll head down.’ He said fine and that I had first dibs if anyone else came looking.

“A few days later, I am sitting in my work truck. The phone rings. It’s the Impala man. ‘Logan, this never really happens, but there is a girl interested in the car.’

“Obviously, I am suspicious, but he sounded sincere. ‘She phoned and asked about it. I told her you had dibs, if you want to put a deposit down.’

“Right at this moment, the thoughts of losing my perfect tire smoking four door started racing through my head. Then it happened, I got emotional. ‘Tell me everything about the car again,’ I demanded.

“He proceeded to tell me everything, how it’s a one-owner car from the area. How it’s an all-original, factory-AC car with a 327 and a 2-speed automatic.

“At the end of the conversation, I buy this car sight unseen except for pictures. I buy it over the phone with my credit card, for $2,500. Dumbest thing I have ever done…period.

“The next hour moved at a snail’s pace. Then I received a receipt in my email from Dan’s auto wrecker and dealership along with a copy of the title. I breathed a sigh of relief. The rest of the day, you couldn’t smack the smile off my face. I was still worried, but the excitement of having a bill of sale and title for the car I had sought after for the last two years was overwhelming.

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“When I traveled home from work a week later, I had all my ducks in a row. I had contacted a US customs broker and she had prepared all the paperwork for my border crossing. I could cross with the Impala anytime after August 31, so I had a few days to wait. That was perfect, so I could spend a few days with my wife Sabrina before I left.

“I decided I was going to take my dog with me. Buster is an excellent co-driver and he absolutely loves cruising in the 1976 Silverado. After making sure the truck was up to snuff with an oil change, greasing and general check front to back, and making sure my 16-foot trailer was good to go, I made sure he had all his shots in order.

“We began the drive down on August 30th. My plan was to cross the next early afternoon. This was a bit ambitious to say the least. The trip to the border was uneventful. We pulled up and the guard asked what our business was in the USA. I stated that I was buying a car in Kennewick. I went to hand him the paperwork. He said that’s fine and told me to go ahead.

“Now, I hadn’t driven across the border since 2005. I looked ahead and thought ‘Well, I must go this way, not between those two concrete barriers. That looks like a wall.’ I begin to pull ahead and turn to the right. Suddenly I’m being flagged down. A guard walks to the side of my truck. ‘Were you told to come here?’

“’He said I was good to go,’ I replied nervously.

“He looked back at the gate I just left. Then back at me and smiled a little. ‘Next time you come through, go through there.’ He pointed at the barriers I had looked at, there was just enough space to squeeze a vehicle through. ‘No problem though, follow that van and I’ll let them know you’re ok.’

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“I relaxed a bit, said thanks and proceeded to follow the van he pointed at. That’s when the air horn sounded! I’m totally guessing at this point, but I think he hadn’t gotten a hold of the guard in the checkpoint booth in time. This new guard thought I was running the search checkpoint. I looked back and I saw the guy I talked to telling me to go. So I pull up to the booth nervously. A very angry looking guard looks at me and spits out ‘Do you have an orange ticket?!’

I stammer out, ‘I took a wrong turn, he said I was good to go.’ He turns away and I can hear him yelling into his radio, he then turns back. ‘You’re good to go.’

“I sat there frozen for a second before I continued on. For the next 10 miles, I waited for sirens. They never came and after I got something to eat, I relaxed. At one point, I looked over at Buster, who was still at attention from the air horn. I scratched his ear and he relaxed. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful.

“What I did discover is that after you come out of the mountains in Washington, there is a desert. I had no idea and was totally unprepared for that. I did end up taking a wrong turn and taking the long way to Kennewick. I didn’t mind at all though as I went through some neat little town like Desert Aire. I also ended up cruising across a dam somewhere.

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“The truck handled the drive beautifully as well. Yeah, the 454 likes gas, but it pulled right along, never missing a beat. Buster liked his vent window open so he could smell as much as he could. We arrived in Kennewick around 11 p.m., checked into a motel, and settled down for the night. I barely slept. I couldn’t wait for the morning.

“I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and grabbed some coffee and food from the continental breakfast. I took Buster out to the truck, did a once-over in the daylight, and started over to where my Impala was.

“When we arrived, the seller was waiting for us. His place was heaven for a Chevy guy like me. Cars and parts everywhere. I could have stayed for days! There was an old ‘65 or ‘66 Chevy panel truck, Camaros, Novas, and Chevelles as far as you could see.

“We went to look at my car. I’ll never forget that feeling as long as I live, walking up. I didn’t really believe it was happening. But there it was. A big, tire-smoking four-door. Well, to be fair, it couldn’t smoke the tires yet.

“He lifted it up with his forklift and I checked out the underside. There wasn’t any rot or rust. The mufflers were still silver. We moved it out to his other lot. Here there was more GM treasures. I asked him how many cars he had. He didn’t really know. That told me the answer was a lot. We changed a rear tire on the Impala and he set it down on the pavement. I winched it onto my trailer and strapped it down.

“While I was working away, a guy walking by stopped to talk to me about it. He had baggy pants and an accent and was probably around 19 or 20 years old. He was actually in love with it and wanted to know how much I paid. I told him and he smiled as he said, ‘That’s pretty good man, nice set of Supremes in her and she’ll be tight.’ It struck me as awesome that a young guy could appreciate this big family four-door.

“We hit the road a little after 10 a.m. Everywhere I stopped, people wanted to talk. I’m pretty sure Buster and I looked awesome towing a ‘66 Impala up the interstate with a ‘76 Chevy Silverado in August 2015. They asked all of the questions: What year was the truck? What year was the car? What was I gonna do with the car? Restore it original or hop it up? Does that truck really have a 454? It was awesome to see people genuinely interested and chatting with them. It made the trip, it really did.

“Again, the truck performed awesomely. The only small hiccup was coming up a big hill a few hours out of Kennewick. It was 35*C and she started to warm up. But she didn’t get even close to actually overheating. We just took a break at the top of the hill and then continued on.

“At around 2 p.m., I discovered the US customs for exporting cars closed at 3 p.m.. I realized there was no way I was going to make it. I was going to have to spend the night in Blaine, Washington. Trying to find a pet friendly motel was actually pretty difficult. On top of that wheeling the combo I had in and out of small parking lots was pretty exciting.

“I finally found a place for us to stay, but ran into the meanest front-desk lady I ever had the pleasure of meeting. I asked her where I could park my truck and trailer. She snapped I could figure something out in the cul de sac. I went out to look, I was pretty sure there was no way I was gonna fit at the end of this cul de sac, but thought I would try. At that moment: torrential downpour. It was coming down in sheets within five minutes.

“So here I was, middle of the street, trying to back a trailer down into a cul de sac turnaround in the middle of the worst rain storm I’d seen in a long time with a 17-foot Impala on the trailer. The rain was so hard suddenly the storm drains couldn’t keep up, the curbs began to disappear. The street was flooded. After running up on the curb I gave up. I pulled my truck back into the parking lot. I went inside soaking wet, annoyed, and also tired.

“I look at this lady, who is talking to someone else. ‘I don’t have any rooms, I gave the last one to him,’ she snapped. ‘Maybe he’ll let you have it.’ The guy wheeled around, took one look at me and I guess I looked like hell, because he just nodded and left.

“‘I cannot fit in the cul de sac,’ I said through gritted teeth. She looked at me like I was stupid. ‘Well, not if you have a trailer. Park next door.’

“I couldn’t believe it, I clearly stated I had a trailer. I was way too tired now, so just shook my head and parked the truck and trailer with my new-to-me Impala next door in a Chinese restaurant parking lot. I found our room, then Buster and I crashed. The next day, I realized I only had one pair of shoes and they were soaked.

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“I headed for the border on a mission. I landed there and after some confusion ( you have to go to US customs to export before going to Canadian customs), I found the USA vehicle export office. The guy at the desk actually recognized my paperwork from a few days previously when my broker sent the title and papers to their office. It also turned out he was an Impala fan, having owned one as well. He went out to look at the car and when he got back gave me my stamp and we were on our way. Twenty minutes later I was paying taxes on $3,200 Canadian; 10 minutes after that, Buster and I were back in Canada.

“All in all, it was great trip. Buster and I met some great people. Buster is always a crowd pleaser. We saw some really cool cars in Kennewick, saw some awesome scenery, went somewhere I had never been, and learned that if you really want something—such as, say, a big tire-smoking four-door—you just have to go find it.”

OK, Roadkill Nation, it’s your turn. If you have any great back stories on obtaining your car, we want to read them. Send us your stories to TheGuys@Roadkill.com and we’ll be happy to share them.

Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover