|All Toad needs to meet a woman is a fine car like the '58 Impala.|
|'58 Cadillac tail light were placed over the original ones.|
|The car was powered by a 348 Tri-Power|
|The Impala & its proud owner, 2005.|
|Similar to a woman, the Chevy's rear-end is one of its most alluring features.|
After 42 year of ownership, Mike sold one of the most famous cars in American film history. On November 6, 2015 the car was sold through PROFILES IN HISTORY, which is a Hollywood memorabilia auction house. The car originally crossed the auction block at about $800, 000 but when it did not immediately sell the price was reduced. The car was eventually purchased by Ray Evernham. Rumor has it that the longtime Graffiti fan, Evernham paid somewhere in the vicinity of $300, 000 for the star car. According to a recent article on the Chevy Hardcore website, now that he has possession of the car his first order of business is to bring the classic Impala back to its original, American Graffiti condition and preserve what he says “has been on my dream list forever.”
When asked why Mike finally decided to sell his star car after so many years he explained that two of his family members have on-going health issues and paying for medical costs are expensive. So the profits made from selling the car will help go towards the medical costs. Mike believed if he waited any longer to sell his car that the rising capitol gains tax would be lost to taxes. If you sell your diamond ring or your house the federal government wants to tax you at 20-28% depending on what your selling and it may go up to 40% next year his accountant told him. "So, I thought I'd just go ahead and give my money to my family rather than the government while I still have control over it," he said.
According to Mike, the original Saginaw three-speed manual transmission used in the film was sold with the car as well as a California DMV validated registration card issued to Lucas Film LTD in Mill Valley, California. Mike said he saw Graffiti star Candy Clark’s shooting script for the movie was up for auction and a typed copy of her royalty shares. "I think her script went for $6,000" In addition, the auction also included an original poster for “American Graffiti”
Mike amusingly recounted his conversation, "I told the auctioneers, 'What ever they sell the car for-as long it's over $285 than it is pure profit to me, 'cause that's what I paid Henry Travers for the car back in 1972.' [laughs]." Despite his seeming carefree remarks, Mike added that he is sad to have had to sell a car that he has owned since high school and will miss owning an iconic piece of movie history.
“To now own this car and lead the preservation of this incredible piece of American history is truly an honor,” said the car's new owner, Evernham, after he first purchased the car. “To save this car for future generations, we have to go back 42 years to its original movie condition. He continued, “It really is a forensic preservation. We have to take it apart piece by piece, catalog every piece and then repair those pieces. Every piece of chrome is being straightened and re-chromed. The emblems are being re-chromed. The nuts and bolts are being re-plated. The interior has been entirely dis-assembled and will be restored back to its movie condition. Everything we took off is going back in it," says Evernham.
Working with Axalta Coating Systems, a manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings, Evernham displayed the finished car in all it’s American Graffiti glory at 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Although this writer wasn't able to attend, the pictures below by Davey G Johnson and Ray Evernham gives you some idea of just what a magnificent restoration job was done to this classic beauty.
|In the film Toad brags that the engine had a 327 Chevy V-8 with six Stromberg carburetors. So Evernham installed a first-year-of-production 1962, 327 and six period-correct Strombergs from an original manifold.|
|Those aren't fuzzy dice they're knitted just like the original ones that dangled from the movie car.|
- Famelette, Mike. Personal communication, May 15, 2008, December 10, 2009, January 5, 2011 & 11/15/2015.
- Gabahl, Pat. (May 1976). The American Graffiti cars. Street Rodder. Vol. 5. No. 5.
- Gilbert, John. Photos of Impala. Super Chevy .com
- Groster, B. G. (Summer 2010). American Graffiti: father/daughter style. Northern Reach.
- Harding, Michael. June 03, 2016. Ray Evernham Channels his Inner American Graffiti for Preservation. Chevy Hardcore website. http://www.chevyhardcore.com/news/ray-evernham-channels-his-inner-american-graffiti-for-preservation/
- Johnson, Davey G. (November 3, 2016) Field Car No More: Evernham Restored the '58 Impala from American Graffiti. Car & Driver website. http://blog.caranddriver.com/field-car-no-more-ray-evernham-restored-the-58-chevy-impala-from-american-graffiti/
- Love, Bill. (Photographer). (2009). Impala interior, engine, and tail lights [photographs]. Retrieved 2/10/2011 from http://www.themilnercoupe.com/p/steves-58.html.