Volume IX, Issue 4, Page 35
Words and Photos by John Carollo
Hank Gabbert sticks to his story. “I didn’t find this car, it found me!” He’s talking about what is arguably the rarest of rare Chevys: a 1963 Z-11 Impala! As far as we know, there are only about 15 of these still in existence from the original 50 or so produced in the early 1960s as factory sponsored drag cars.
Gabbert is a self-proclaimed expert on the ‘63s, having completed numerous restorations, mostly with the W Series 409 engines. As Hank was working on a Bel Air with a 425-horse 409, he got the wild idea to put it on display at the Detroit Cobo Hall car show, that at the time was only a few months away. Hank had never built a car just for a show before, much less put himself on such a time-crunching deadline. Even though his ‘63’s were definitely show quality, this was very puzzling to him and his family. And today he still insists he had no idea why he was compelled to do so. But he was.
Here are those long ’63 rear quarters at rest. When launched, the cars squatted noticeably. You can just see the long traction bars going from the rear up to the front of the four-speed tranny.