Jim Arkin's 1965 Chevrolet
1965 Chevrolet Impala owned by San Fernando Valley Illusions member Jim Arkin of Los Angeles, California. Jim lived in the Sun Valley district of San Fernando Valley, and he used to cruise Van Nuys Blvd and the Valley in the 1960s. Jim's Impala was a typical boulevard cruiser of its time, and body modifications didn't include much more than shaving away excessive chrome, emblems, trim and door handles. The shaved doors were operated by electrical solenoids and pushbuttons. From the outside the doors were opened by a button installed on the driver side rear wheel trim, and on the inside there were buttons under the dash. Around May or June of 1966 Jim had Joe Andersen of Joe Andersen's Custom Shop paint the car in rainbow colors. Jim met Joe in the summer of 1965 when Joe gave fellow Illusions member Sandy Gordon's 1961 Pontiac Bonneville a pearl apricot paint job. After that Jim used to stop by Joe's shop every couple of months to see what he was working on. It was Joe's idea to give the car a rainbow paint job. Jim had talked to Joe about doing it in a pearl burgundy, but Joe said he had some ideas so Jim told him to go ahead and do it the way he suggested. As far as Jim know, it was the first rainbow paint job around. Bill Carter did a rainbow paint job on a Pontiac about 6 months later. Another shop Jim used to stop by was Dick & Ron's in Huntington Park. Dick & Ron's probably installed more hydraulic lifts than anyone else in the 1960s, so after Joe had given the car a rainbow paint job, Jim had Dick & Ron's install lifts on all four corners of the car later on the same summer. Jim recalls that Dick & Ron's did excellent work on his car. He had two switches down by the front seat, one to raise the front, and the other one to raise the rear. In the beginning, Jim's Impala ran on chromed and reversed wheels fit with flat baby moon hubcaps. The wheels were made from 14 inch Chevrolet centers with 7 inch reversed Chrysler outers. These were later replaced by wire wheels.
Jim and his buddies used to hang out at San Fernando Bob's Big Boy on Sepulveda Blvd. As soon as he would get the Impala into Bob's he would hit the switches and drop the car to the ground. As soon as he pulled out he'd raise it back up again. From Bob's they would cruise down to Van Nuys Blvd. At the North end of Van Nuys Blvd near the General Motors Plant was a drive in called Oscar's.They cruised through Oscar's with the lifts down, then down to Van Nuys to Bob's and then on to Ventura Blvd where June Ellen's Donuts stand was at. Then they either cruised back up the Blvd or down Ventura to the Toluca Lake's Bob's Big Boy. The Toluca Lake Bob's was mostly drag racers and a few "lowriders". Jim recalls seeing some good drag races come out of Toluca Lake Bob's for some big money. From there they would head back to Van Nuys to check out the cars and girls.
Late in 1967 Jim brought the Impala back to Joe Andersen for another paint job. This time the Impala was painted pearl black with cobweb along the sides. Back in the 1960s Joe Andersen used to take 10 or 12 of the cars he had painted to car shows in order to showcase his work. Both versions of Jim's Impala was showcased in a number of shows from the time it was first painted until Jim sold it in 1968. He sold the Impala to a guy named Frank Scalaro, and he don't know what happened to it after that.
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