When your hobby is your job, it’s always fun to go to work in the morning. When your job is to build cool custom cars, having fun is not only good for your soul but also for the bottom line! That’s how it works at Streetheat Customs in Melbourne, Florida. Gavin Broome and Matt Verzi worked for others for many years before teaming up to create their own business. Boasting more than 30 years of combined automotive experience, this pair of master craftsmen transforms rusted hulks into pristine show winners, exhibited and enjoyed with an active fan base around the world.
Their latest, this beautiful 1958 Chevrolet Impala, had a humble beginning. Located on Craigslist, the car was fairly presentable, equipped with its original V-8, Powerglide, and drum brakes. It was a good driver-quality car and the guys knew with a little work it had the potential to be a top-ranked restomod. Getting started meant following their fairly strict code. In the last dozen or so years, the Streetheat approach has been the same; build a car to a definite standard with a modern powertrain, crisp suspension, big brakes and wheels, air ride, and a custom interior. You can drive their finished products anywhere without concern because reliability is built-in. As a result, when it’s time to begin, every build starts essentially the same way.
Gavin and Matt stripped the Impala down to its body shell so they could get a good look at the chassis. Their good friend Josh at Huff-N-Paint next door was tasked with bringing the Impala back to like-new condition, smoothing the body, filling holes, and getting it into primer. While Josh was hard at work, every piece of trim was either polished, chromed, or replaced thanks to Jeffat Precision Powder Coat and the experts at Space Coast Plating. Although new items were added, like the one-piece “California” bumpers, preservation of the original style was always paramount. For example, the original grille shell was polished but now it’s chrome. Nighttime illumination was increased now that the quad lights use modern LEDs. All four of the smaller parking lights in the grille are now functional even though only two worked when the car left the factory.
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