The 1964 Chevy Impala SS Ragtop is the quintessential Cali car. In fact, we challenge anyone to think of a better ride to represent the Best Coast. It’s big, beautiful, and cool as they come. But iconic as the ’64 SS may be, it’s rare. It’s really rare, especially in the numbers matching 409 form. So when TeamSlamd got the chance to team up with RideTech and FLO Airride to put one on the pavement, we practically began salivating.
This particular example is truly special. It features its all-original silver paint-job over the black-leather interior, model-specific machine turned aluminum trim, original black canvas rag-top, and authentic 14-inch Dayton spokes wheels. The car has been modestly modified with a quality sound system featuring JL amps and subs. The original 409ci motor is preserved and enhanced with a Billet Specialties TruTrac front runner kit. The car may have been impeccable in its static condition, but that was not going to stop us from taking it to a lower level.
Photos & Words: Michael Phillips
But how do you approach modifying such a pristine, numbers-matching, Cali-original car? Only the very best components will do. No shortcuts in quality or engineering can be stomached in a build like this. The key is to find minimally invasive, yet highly functional components. For such a system, look no further than the RideTech Ride ProX suspension system. Its combination of brand-new and OEM replacement parts complete an unparalleled package to put your classic on the pavement.
We started by taking inventory of the parts. The kit includes a weatherproof ECM with mil-spec connections as the “brains of the operation.” Thanks to the high-tech ECM, LevelPRO measures and calculates the pressure of the suspension and adjust accordingly. The EMC’s Bluetooth connectivity allows for full monitoring and control from the convenient smartphone app. There is also included an RF controller that hides in plain sight in the cigarette outlet.
Next up was installing the ProX shocks and airbags at all four corners. The RideTech ProX airbags come with all the necessary hardware, including super durable bolt-on supporting pieces. No welding is required for the installation of this kit. The front airbags directly replace the OEM springs. They use a finish-coated plate that bolts to the A-arm and heavy-duty steel cup over the top. The OEM placement makes initial installation, running airlines, and servicing a breeze, all without compromising the accessibility of other factory components.
For the provided shocks, RideTech teamed up with FOX Shox to build some truly fantastic units. The shocks are extremely tough and include full dampening adjustment with the simple twist of a dial. The installation locations in the front and rear make sure this adjustment dial is always within arms reach. With the airbags and shocks in place, we installed our upgraded RidePRO-HP height sensors. This allows the Ride ProX system to measure and calibrate height as well as pressure.
The front shocks include an upper bracket that bolts to the frame rail and hardware for bolting to the A-arm. Template are provided to ensure clean, precise mounting locations that will last a lifetime. Similarly, the rear airbags reside in the OEM spring locations as do the rear shocks. The ProX system also includes front and rear sway bars for added comfort and ride quality. The sway bars include all the necessary hardware and bracketry for stealthy installations.
With all the suspension components in place, it was time to mount our ECM, run some wires, and build-out a badass trunk display using the gorgeous RideTech Big Red valve body and FLO Airride Mfg. BTS-28. The red-anodized valves along with the all-billet 5-gallon tank was a gorgeous combination that highlighted the customs style and preserved the original character of the Impala.
With the suspension buttoned up, the ‘bags filled, and the 409 roaring there was only one thing left to do: Hit some switches and cruise!
Massive thanks to RideTech and FLO Airride Mfg. for providing (as always) top-shelf parts to take this truly special ride to another level.