LIVN LO: Rob Johnson's Pro Street 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS

10 min read

LIVN LO: Rob Johnson's Pro Street 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS

10 min read

Since its inception in 1958, the Chevrolet Impala has been one of the most beloved Chevy passenger car nameplates to date, going through ten different generations before being discontinued in 2020. Unlike some other models, the Impala changed significantly throughout its iterations. Arguably, the second and third-gens are the most desirable among collectors. However, the coke-bottle-styled, big-bodied fourth-generation Impalas are picking up steam.

Johnson Impala 1

Rob Johnson of Columbia, Missouri, influenced by the memory of his father’s ‘67 Impala SS when he was young, decided it was a perfect platform to create his Pro Street dream car. The only problem was that it would take a while for that plan to become reality. A mechanic by trade, Rob started to build a coil-over, back-halved ‘67 Impala back in 1992, but life got busy, and it ended up collecting dust in the corner of the shop. As his son Jordan came of age, they started building him his own 1967 Impala SS to drive...yes, there is something about these cars that definitely runs in the family.

In 2016, with Jordan’s Impala nearing completion, Rob’s motivation returned to finish his car so he could cruise with his son. There was still a massive mountain left to climb to get it in running order (it needed a drivetrain and extensive bodywork) when Jordan found another Impala project on Though the body was in rougher shape, this car was much further along with a tube chassis, four-link rear end, engine, and transmission. Rob bought the driving chassis for less than it would’ve cost to get the original one into a roller.

With the new project in their possession, the father/son team took stock of what they were working with, and they were pleasantly surprised. The 119-inch wheelbase S&W 2x3-inch rectangular steel tube chassis provided a solid foundation for a big-block 427 that was backed by a TH400 and a 9-inch rear axle. It had Wilwood disc brakes on the rear but nothing on the front. For the first year, Rob worked on making the car roadworthy while enjoying cruising with Jordan.

He added Wilwood brakes on the front, an ePower electric power steering, and changed the suspension to Ridetech Shockwave airbags all the way around. With the tube chassis, he’s able to lay the rockers on the ground when the bags are fully aired down. Next, Rob swapped out the wheels with some old-school Cragar Super Slots (15x15 rear, 15x4 front) with huge 33x21.5x15 Hoosier Pro Street Radials on the rear. In keeping with the Pro Street look, he lengthened the wheelie bars 24 inches and had his friend Rick Schafer at Metalworx fabricate the massive aluminum wing. Rick surprised him with the bead-rolled Impala SS badge to give it some extra bling.

As the calendar turned to 2018, Rob set a goal of making it to the Street Machine Nationals in DuQuoin, Illinois with a fresh paint job. Jordan works as a body man, so the two had a bit of an advantage but still a formidable task ahead. The body was so rough that they had to replace the quarters, doors, trunk lid, fenders, hood, and bumpers — the only part untouched was the roof! The Impala was a stripped shell with just 30 days left until the show. The two fitted a Glasstek 4-inch fiberglass cowl hood, prepped the panels, and sprayed the Nason Shotgun Gray Metallic paint. Unfortunately, they fell slightly short of completion, but their efforts garnered a “Best Under Construction” award. On his return in 2019, he was awarded “Best Stance” at the show.

Continuous improvement (while still enjoying the car) is the name of the game for Rob. As if the stance and monster meats weren’t enough, Rob is a Pro Streeter and wanted more “wow factor.” He added a parachute to complete the look on the rear, but the big news was in the engine bay. Rob had Ty Baumgartner Race Cars custom build fender-exit headers that are even prettier than the FloTek 320 heads. He bought an 8-71 supercharger powdercoated black from The Blower Shop with a 4-inch spacer and topped it with two Holley Super Snipers wearing a carbon fiber-dipped hat to match the valve covers.

Not only is the blower the most dramatic change, but Rob is thrilled with the tunability and performance of the Holley EFI. For fuel delivery, a Holley drop-in fuel pump module is plumbed with hoses and Phoenix fittings sourced from Baumgartner. He used a Hyperspark distributor, CD ignition box, and coil to light the fire. Though he has no prior experience with fuel injection, Rob tuned it himself with the handheld and said the install went flawlessly.

For folks who call Pro Street cars trailer queens, Rob likes to prove them wrong. Yes, he will trailer it to other cities, but he drives the wheels off of it once he’s there. This year, he has been all over the country. Besides the Street Machine Nationals in Du Quoin, he's taken the Impala to the Cruise for Cancer in Duluth, Minnesota, the OBX Rod and Custom Festival in Outer Banks, North Carolina, the Battle in Bama in Mobile, Alabama, the Cruisin’ the Coast show in Biloxi, Mississippi and is heading to the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona, Florida.

RJ Impala rear night shot

The next evolutionary step toward completion is a complete rewire and a new interior, which he will be starting soon. As you can see from the interior shots, it isn’t that pretty at the moment, but it is functional, and that is all he cares about. Rob knows his ‘67 Impala isn’t perfect, but his goal was to build it as he enjoys it, and he does so every chance he gets. By the number of people pouring over it at car shows, everyone else is enjoying it too!

RJ Impala rear day


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