The next time you see a beat-up old Chevy on someone’s lawn, you might want to take a closer look.
A 1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible with a torn-up interior, shredded roof and missing its engine and transmission was recently sold at auction for $88,500.
It was part of a collection of over 300 similarly beat-up cars that belonged to a towing company owner in Fort Collins, Colorado, who decided to finally sell them.
And it was not the only Impala from the era that went for a shocking amount.
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Another 1959 convertible in similar shape sold for $65,500, while a 1959 hardtop that actually had its engine, but did not run, went for $44,000. Several others from 1959 to 1963 received bids of $30,000 or more.
Considering Chevrolet built over 72,000 Impala Convertibles in 1959 alone, it’s not a particularly rare car, so the prices may seem puzzling, but there’s a good reason for them.
John Wiley, classic car lifestyle and insurance brand Hagerty’s Manager of Valuation Analytics, told Fox News Digital that the early Impalas are highly prized on the custom car scene.
“The Impala has long been seen as a prime subject for customization. It’s more than likely that the buyer(s) of these Impalas are intending to restore or customize them personally and saw an upside in taking these cars on as projects,” Wiley said.
Some are restored to their original condition, like a $220,000 car that was auctioned this January, while others get the “restomod” treatment where their iconic bodies are fitted with modern powertrains and components and can be worth well over $300,000.
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Wiley also noted that so many of them have been customized over the years, that some builders would rather start with an original car in rough shape that they can use as a template for their own idea.
“It doesn’t hurt that these cars are incomplete. While the rust-free body panels are helpful, the missing interior and drivetrain parts can be purchased or fabricated,” Wiley said.
“Finally, these late-50’s and early-60’s Impalas, particularly the convertibles, appeal to such a broad range of enthusiasts that it has become one of the most timeless and desirable in the model’s history.”
Over 17 million Impalas were built across 10 generations from 1958 when it was launched as a Bel Air trim to 2020 when the name was finally retired, making it the best-selling Chevrolet of all time.
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Its 1965 total of 1,074,925 sales still stands as the single year record for any vehicle sold in the U.S.