NRC Motorsports’ Impala SS Is Ready For The Road And The Track

When you think of fast cars, the Chevy Impala SS is probably not the first vehicle that comes to mind, but Bob Giannelli’s ’65 certainly looks the part with its low stance and bead-locked rear wheels. And as far as the car’s real performance capability, Giannelli was rather tight-lipped about it, but we can tell you that the car previously ran 9.60s, and it’s current naturally aspirated big-block engine likely makes north of 1,000 horsepower.

Gianelli purchased the car last year and started working on it in August.

“I bought it from a guy in Washington, Pennsylvania,” Giannelli explains. “I called my buddy up in New York and asked him if he knew where Washington, Pennsylvania was and he said his son had a baseball game there next week. I told him to take some money and his trailer and if you like the car, bring it home.”

“We basically changed everything but the paint,” Giannelli says. “I started from the back, changed the rear back to stock suspension and put in a new 9-inch rearend.”

Originally a small-block-powered car, the Impala later received a 484 cubic inch big-block and Powerglide transmission. Giannelli took it a step further, however, and dropped in an aluminum big-block from Oakley Motorsports that is “big enough to move the 4,000 pound car.” The powerplant is built from a Brodix block, SR20 cylinder heads and is topped with an Advanced Product Design 4500 Dominator carburetor. For a transmission, Giannelli turned to Dave Klaput at Proformance Transmissions for one of the company’s Turbo 400 automatics, and is using a Performance Torque Converter two-piece converter.

There’s also a custom Precision Shaft Technologies carbon-fiber driveshaft, a custom four-wheel disc brake system using Strange Engineering parts, and since NRC Motorsports builds small-tire race cars, all of the rear suspension parts were made in house, as well.

After the Impala’s original owner answered Gainnelli’s ad for a back seat and sold him the original. Giannelli had it reupholstered to match the Kirkey racing seats up front. The center console already had holes cut in it, so he just added the switches they use in their customer builds and dropped in an M&M Transmission shifter that just happened to fit the factory shifter hole in the consoler perfectly. The last interior upgrade was a new 8.50-cert roll cage.

One of the most noticeable things about the Impala is its rolling stock, which consists of Sanders Engineering three-piece aluminum wheels that incorporate a center adaptor for hubcaps to simulate steel wheels. They measure 15×4 inches up front and 15×10 out back, with the aforementioned beadlocks holding the Mickey Thompson 28×10.5 ET Street R tires tightly.

Still bathed in its original Mist Blue Poly color, the Impala looks classy, but we’re betting it’s going to surprise some folks soon enough.

“I just like big cars,” Giannelli tells. “I like stock-looking, older cars. All of my personal cars are like that.”

Gianelli has been waiting for the weather to clear so he can drive the Impala across the street from his shop to Carolina Dragway and get some testing in. Having built small-tire race cars for 50 years — 30 with his son, Jay at NRC Motorsports — we’re sure Giannelli will get it dialed in and probably hurt some feelings with his sleeper Chevy.

About the author

Steve Baur

A lifelong automotive enthusiast, Steve Baur attended the University of South Florida for journalism and has worked as a technical editor and editor for numerous automotive publications for over 20 years.
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