1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

High School Dream – Pat Meador’s 1958 Chevy Impala

Most car enthusiasts had a high school dream car, and for Pat Meador of Eugene Oregon, that dream was a 1958 Chevy Impala. Unlike many of us, Pat made his dream come true, but it took nearly a half century to make it a reality. Since an Impala was out of his financial reach a student, Pat settled for a ’58 four door Belair. By today’s standards a “more door” Belair would still be a cool cruiser, but when you are in high school, there was simply no comparison.

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

Jump ahead a few decades to the early 1990s when Pat spots his “would be” dream Impala in a newspaper ad. Remember newspaper classifieds? Pat makes the deal on the idle Impala but has to tuck it away as the timing is not right for a restoration, but he’s happy to have it in his possession.

A few more years pass and Pat is ready to have the ‘58 restored. Though he has accumulated an impressive car collection over the years, he has never personally had a car restored, and wanted to make sure he chose the right shop for the job. One day Pat receives a call from a friend who tells him he needs to get down to a car show to see a bright red mustang that was on display. Pat drove down to the see the car and was impressed. The Mustang had been restored by MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration, so Pat reached out to Jon Mannila the owner of the shop. Jon stopped by Pat’s house to see his weathered’58 Impala and to give him a bid on a restoration. After seeing the shop’s work first hand and meeting Jon, Pat knew his car was in good hands.

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

The Impala was basically a complete car, except for one major component – the factory 348 tri-power engine and cast iron powerglide transmission were missing. Unfortunately, the gentleman that Pat purchased the Chevy from already had a nice ’58 impala in his collection and needed the 348 and powerglide for a ‘58 panel he was building. While the team at MetalWorks began addressing the Chevy’s body work, Pat got busy locating a replacement driveline. After some digging he was able to locate another Impala to pull the motor and transmission from. Whenever I hear stories like this, I can’t help but wonder how many times this has happened over the years to vehicles who have had their drivelines removed to aid in another car’s restoration. Only then to have the “robbed” car get purchased for restoration itself, and the search is on to replace its now missing components. It’s like a game of musical chairs, but with engines.

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

The balance of the restoration went smoothly since the car was so complete, but a grille needed to be sourced from back East, and an aftermarket air cleaner had to be purchased for the tri-power mill. One struggle was the fact that the one of the curved rear fender trim pieces was smashed flat, and replacements in better condition were not to be found. A local tool and die shop created a tool to reshape and salvage the original trim piece…pretty impressive!

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve


1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

When it came time for a paint color Pat knew he wanted red, so Jon did a pair of spray out panels. The one panel was factory red, and the other was a special creation known simply as “MetalWorks” red. Pat liked both colors, but the shop’s version was so much deeper that it was an easy choice. I found out later that the shop has used their special red formula on several builds over the years, but the paint code is as secret as Colonel Sander’s recipe for fried chicken.

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

Since the restored Impala emerged from MetalWorks it has been primarily a sunny summer day cruiser for Pat and his family. Pat does take the ‘58 to the occasional car show, in fact, it earned a “Best Restored” pick at the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals in Puyallup, WA – an award which proudly hangs next to the Impala in the garage.

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

1958 Chevy Impala Dream Car, Fuel Curve

Pat has remained good friends with Jon and his crew at MetalWorks and stops in on a regular basis to chat, but primarily to get a hug from Jon’s wife Nelsa. There is no doubt in Pat’s mind that with how amazing the Impala’s restoration turned out, and the resulting friendship, that he made the perfect choice in shop to bring his high school dream into reality.

Chadly lived his first 40 years in Wisconsin, but an opportunity to pursue a dream job with MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration led him and his wife to Oregon. He has a passion for classic cars of all styles especially seeking out, photographing, and telling the tales of survivor cars. Every scratch and dent has a story of how it got there, and Chadly loves learning how… whether it’s a bone stock barn find, or a radical show car tucked away for decades. He prefers more obscure cars. His current stable includes a 1976 Cobra II Mustang, a 1960 Nomad wagon, and a 23-window VW bus.

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