The Car with the “Cats Eyes”

By James Wood, Shirley, NY

Photography by Jim Knight

When my son was around the age of 15, a few years before he could drive, he said that when he became old enough to have his own car he wanted one of those cars with the “Cat’s Eyes." Way back then, I really didn’t pay much attention to what particular car he was talking about.

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A few years had passed by and while driving though a local neighborhood we spotted a '59 Chevy for sale with the crazy wings and wide rear lenses, I finally realized what my son meant. We negotiated a price, brought it home and did a mild restoration. He had the car for many years, much to the amazement of his friends.

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Many years later, while looking for something to do in my spare time, I stumbled on an ad in our local newspaper that read, “1959 Impala for sale - Losing garage, make offer." I hadn’t really thought about having my own ’59, but as the idea began to set-in I decided to call the seller and make an appointment to see what it was all about. To my surprise, I found a very run down '59 stuffed into a garage with only about 12 inches of clearance on each side. The owner told me it had been in there for several years. When we finally squeezed it out, we discovered it to be a Roman Red-Snow Crest White, small block car with power steering and brakes needing a lot of TLC.

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After a three-year total frame-off restoration, with the help of my friends Bob, Bill and Herb and the folks at Late Great Chevy, we turned this “entombed” Chevy into a really neat cruiser that we like to drive and take to all the local shows and events. So after a short three-year wait for the restoration, I finally have my own car with “The Cat's Eyes.”

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