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HomeCar Culture1962 Impala SS Rises from Ashes at Detroit Autorama

1962 Impala SS Rises from Ashes at Detroit Autorama

Resurrected Chevy originally owned by Mickey York’s grandma

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If you were told this 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS was a phoenix, what would you think? Logically, the Phoenix is a Pontiac that was produced from 1977-84. Is this Chevy one of those funky Canadian creations? No, but there’s more to the story that bears reading.

(Image courtesy of Mickey York)

Historically, the phoenix is a mythological bird that regenerates and rises from the ashes of its predecessor. It’s a concept that appears to have originated with the Egyptians though it has existed in several ancient cultures, including one that has lent its name to a certain Arizona city. It’s the perfect description for this Bow Tie that the grandmother of Mickey York, a Detroit sportscaster, bought new and kept for 34 years.

Oma’s SS before the accident. (Image courtesy of Mickey York)

“She sold it in 1996, but after her passing I was able to track down the car and buy it back in 2009,” says York, who spent more than three years restoring the Chevy. “The first restoration featured a 383 stroker with TH350 automatic, two-inch drop spindles, tubular control arms, adjustable coil-overs front and rear, and disc brakes all around. So, it was modified from the original, but we kept the stock look.” The car made its debut at the 2018 Detroit Autorama and it took First Place in its class.

(Image courtesy of Mickey York)

Fast-forward to October 2021, and something happened that would crush Mickey’s soul: “I was traveling to a local car show and, as I was entering the intersection and the light was changing, a car waiting to turn left in the opposite direction turned in front of me. There was nowhere to go and nowhere to stop. We collided with the SS going about 50 mph.”

But Mickey is from Detroit, a city that has developed a hardy breed of folk. “We couldn’t let his horrific crash be the end of its story,” he says, so the SS was brought to Motor City Solutions Hot Rods & Restorations. Grandma’s favorite white exterior and red interior was retained, but this second chance brought significant upgrades like a 525-horsepower LS3 blowing smoke through 2½-inch stainless pipes, 6L80-E six-speed automatic, 3.73 gears, Viking adjustable coil-overs, CPP control arms, two-inch drop spindles, and Wilwood four-wheel discs, among other items.

The regenerated Bow Tie made its return earlier this month at the 71st Detroit Autorama. “We call it Oma’s SS in honor of my grandma,” adds York. “We hope you join us to celebrate its new life.”

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Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Great story and a beautiful car! Nicely done in the face of great adversity. A really great tribute. If I squint a little I can see my grandfather’s white ’60 Belair two door in the pic. Many miles under my belt in that one as a new driver.

  2. I understand replacing the engine with something of newer variety, but to keep the car original. I think I would’ve just stuck in a small block with painted valve covers and a cast-iron intake just to keep it originality after going through all that work to repair it. Sure is a beautiful car.

  3. I love to see the older gems of from years gone by, but to see them butchered in the name of “customizing” is really sad. One of the worst offenders of this is the butcher shop in Salt Lake City, Utah. They absolutely destroy some the rare and beautiful cars from the past. I suppose if someone with far more money than brains is willing to grease the butcher’s bank account with six figure deposits, let them have at it. I love looking at pristine stockers from years gone by. However, it boils down to this “to each his own”.

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