Owner Revisits His Youth With 1968 Chevrolet Impala

BEACON FALLS, CT – Stacy Poulos of Beacon Falls has owned his 1968 Chevrolet Impala convertible for only two years, but his memories of the full-size model go back to the 1980s when his grandfather owned one. 

Chevy introduced the Impala in 1958 as the top trim level of its Bel Air model before making it a standalone model the next year. The Impala was built from 1958 though 1985, 1994 through 1996, and 2000 to 2020.

“He had a ’68 Chevy Impala and he used to come up to our house every Sunday for Sunday dinners. I used to do puzzles with him all the time,” Poulos recalled. “I just liked the car and then when he passed away, I got that car and that was my first car. I had it for two or three years.”

See the 1968 Chevrolet Impala in action in this YouTube video…

 Poulos was a teenager at the time, and he gave the Impala a makeover by taking it to an Earl Scheib paint shop in Bridgeport. “Painted it red ’cause I didn’t like the ugly green. I called it ‘puke green.’ And I had it painted for $99,” he said.

Poulos only owned the Impala, an acknowledged “boat,” until he was able to afford a sportier model. “When I got my first job, I bought myself a Pontiac Trans Am with a T-top,” he said, referring to the 1986 model that replaced the Impala. 

It was probably a good time for a change. “When I drove the car to the car dealership when I was getting the Trans Am, it had no brakes,” he said.

Stacy Poulos and his 1968 Chevrolet Impala convertible

Time passed, but Poulos never forgot the Impala. “Years later I kinda regretted I sold it, so I’ve always kind of looked for an Impala again for the last 10, 15 years.”

It wasn’t until he spotted a ’68 Impala convertible for sale in Middletown on Craigslist that he acted. The previous owner was a woman who had died and it was being sold by the estate after being parked for eons. “They said it was sitting for about 10 years. They only thing she did was start it. She started it occasionally and still paid the insurance according to what I was told,” he said.

A photo of the parked Impala showed it covered with dust and having tires that needed filling. 

“They did a lot of cleanup. They put a new battery in it. They had to redo the ignition key ‘cause they couldn’t even find the keys for the car. They cleaned it up and stuff like that. The only thing I really had to do was replace the tires because they were still pretty bad,” Poulos said.

 What it most required was elbow grease as it smelled stale and mildewy. “I did a lot of deep cleaning of the carpets and the upholstery in the car, and the car smells nice now,” he said, reporting that he added a rear-view mirror on the passenger door, swapped in an AM/FM radio, and added flashier wheels.

“I saved the original hub caps but I did change the wheels. I wanted to give it a little more dressed up look,” he said.

The Impala has a 327-cubic-inch V8 engine and an automatic transmission. “It drives fine and there’s no mechanical issues. I’ve had a couple of people look at it and they said, ‘No (problems).’ It looks good with 62,000 original miles.”

Poulos isn’t surprised that it cleaned up so well. “I did a lot of polishing and waxing of this car,” he said, adding that the soft top got revived as well.

The Impala isn’t the first classic car that Poulos has owned. In the late 1980s, he bought a 1956 Buick Special and owned it for about 10 years. And when he was a kid, his father had Model A Fords.

“I’m used to old cars,” he said. “The reason I like the Impalas, I like the front of the cars. The grills. It was a boat but back then I didn’t know any better, anyway. It was the first car so I was excited I had a car, you know? I drove it to school and I enjoyed it.”

The Impala has produced one surprise for Poulos. It was while cleaning up the car that the original keys to the car were discovered. “Actually found the original keys stuck in the ash tray of the car,” he said.

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy prep school, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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