RMD Garage '58 Impala
Bad, black and a dream come true
Every now and then, a car comes along and resets the way we look at a particular model. Traditionally, the ’58 Chevy has been embraced by the lowrider and mild kustom set almost exclusively. The swoopy lines lend the ’58 to such treatment, but today might be the day you put the first X-frame in a new category. RMD Garage in Long Beach, California recently built this Impala on their Velocity TV show by the same name, and we love it.
Ralph Holguin is the mastermind behind this fullsize flyer. He has an eye for what looks good and knows how important the stance is when putting a car together. To get the ’58 sittin’ pretty, the original chassis was fitted with a CPP 4-link rear suspension package which includes a set of coilovers. Up front, a set of tubular control arms and a pair of air bags dump the nose in the weeds for classic hot rod points. Braking consists of 14” discs on each corner covered by some giant Raceline rollers. The fronts are 20x9.5” while the rears are 22x10”; all are ringed with Toyo rubber.
Motivation comes from an LS3 pushing 500hp and backed by a 4L70E transmission. Just about everything under the hood has been painted a subdued satin black, including the block and heads, the fabricated low-profile intake manifold and brake booster. Eddie Motorsports came through with satin black billet valve covers and front accessory drive to match. What wasn’t painted was polished and finely detailed. The engine bay itself received plenty of attention, with the smoothed firewall and core support being handled in house by RMD employee Rafa Ceron.
Ceron teamed up with Eddie Vasquez to press and dress the exterior of the car and get it ready for the Triple Black BASF paint, squirted (again in house) by Victor Ceron. I guess paint and body skills run in the family because the finish on the ‘58 is absolutely stunning; the paint looks deep enough to swim in. The original exterior trim was retained after hitting the chrome shop to remind us what a glorious time in automotive design the late ‘50s was. A nod to modern technology, the headlights were upgraded with United Pacific HIDs and the rears are now LED-equipped and sequentially lit. High tech, but dig the ’59 Caddy taillights; where have you seen those on a ’58 Chevy before?
The spacious cabin gave RMD Garage room to go all out. Bright red leather covers nearly everything, from the chrome-trimmed bucket seats and the slick rear bench to the one-off door panels. The swoopy door panels have chrome spears that continue to the rear, drawing things together to trick your eye into ignoring the door gap. RMD’s own Joe Sanchez designed and created the scarlet-toned interior. Another ‘50s throwback is the painted dash, and it’s about the only component inside that isn’t red; the steel has been sprayed perfect gloss black and features a bolt-in Dakota Digital VHX system. The overlay (gauge face) was custom printed for this car and carries the RMD logo for a finishing touch.
Does this mean that the ’58 Chevy is no longer a “this or that” kind of car? We’re not so bold to say it’s as versatile as the vaunted ’55, but RMD’s fresh take on the forgotten platform with big and bigger wheels, low ride height and pumpin’ LS3 prove that the pro-touring look is a viable option for these cars. If you have access to the Velocity channel, give RMD Garage a try, they build a pretty good variety of vehicles so it’s never the same car twice, and the TV drama is at a minimum as well; cars, the process and the artists behind them are the real stars here. RMD’s slogan is “don’t dream it, build it;” I hope this ’58 is your catalyst to get out to the garage and burn up this miserable winter building your dream!
All photos courtesy of John O'Neill