Anti-Restoring a 1965 Chevrolet Impala 4-Door

I had gotten heavy into weird sculpture projects during my last year at UC Irvine- mostly as an excuse to get my hands on school-owned welding equipment and unlimited time to use it- and I got the itch to do an "art car" for course credit. But not an art car in the usual sense, which always seemed to be a '79 Scirocco or '82 Bonneville with thousands of plastic army men or half-marbles glued to the body. No, I wanted to do something that really dug into some high-octane American automotive archetypes. Something that used the essence of the car itself, rather than just treating the car as a surface for attaching ironic objects.
I decided I'd work with menacing automotive archetypes, because A: It was easy, and B: The idea made me feel generally like a badasstical rebel type (at 24, such things seemed important to me). I figured I would have fun rattling the squares with the car once I had squeezed at least two quarters' worth of Independent Studies Sculpture class credits out of the project. I went with three varieties of Menacing Automotive Archetypes for my plan:
  • The Official Vehicle: The Cop Car. The Official Vehicle. The car driven by the KGB or Contra death squad or corporate brass-knuck-wielding rent-a-cops in some scary outsourced-security guard-gated community, come to take you away for questioning. The American Official Vehicle is always a full-size four-door sedan, conservatively styled, with V8 engine, no flashy trim, etc.
  • The Hoopty: The ghetto drive-by shooting vehicle, as featured on solid-citizen-terrifying nightly news shows. A battered mid- or full-size American sedan, featuring backyard bodywork, questionable registration, and a general wrong-side-of-the-tracks "I got nothing to lose" air. Criminal types passing PCP-soaked joints and 40-dogs of Olde English, as the ominous clicking of military-grade assault weapons blends with a crypto-Parliament soundtrack... just like on TV! The Hoopty can be a somewhat sportier model than the Official Vehicle, but there is plenty of overlap between the two types.
  • The Hot Rod: The jacked-up, primered-out street racer, spinning some donuts in the Circle-K parking lot while onlookers shriek obscenities and dump Milwaukee's Best on their mullets, all in a haze of rubber smoke and Eddie Van Halen guitar solos, dude. The Hot Rod can be just about any V8-powered American car, equipped with loud exhaust, fat tires, and primer paint.