- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2000

Nancy Schuyler was of driving age but did not have a driver's license when her father bought a brand spanking new 1962 Chevrolet Impala.
She thought it was about the prettiest car she had ever seen. Eventually, the young lady learned to drive, although not in the new Impala.
Her father, she recollects, sold the car after about six years. However, by then she had married Kent Hudson, had her own family and her name had evolved from Nancy to Nicki.
There always seemed to be an antique car around their house, all owned by Mr. Hudson. By the end of 1996, the couple decided to get an antique car expressly for her. It took about a millisecond for Mrs. Hudson to decide her car had to be a 1962 Chevrolet Impala.
Model 1847, a two-door sport hardtop, was a very popular car and many still exist. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson began looking in earnest for her Impala in January 1997.
For weeks the Hudsons chased down various 1962 Impalas. Most of the dozens of cars they saw were in rough condition or otherwise had a flaw with which they did not want to contend.
In March they answered an ad for a 1962 Chevrolet Impala two-door sport hardtop near Pittsburgh. The owner sent pictures of the otherwise all-white car with a red slash down its length. He said he had taken the car as payment for a debt a decade before, and it had been residing in his garage for the past 10 years. The odometer registered only 22,000 miles.
The pictures looked promising. While the owner sounded legitimate, Mrs. Hudson didn't want to travel that far only to be disappointed once again, so she stayed home while her husband made the trip.
On a hunch this might be "the one," Mr. Hudson borrowed a car trailer from a friend and towed it to Pittsburgh just in case.
He saw the well-maintained 3,450-pound Impala with the smallest V-8 offered in 1962, a 170-horsepower, 283-cubic-inch engine mated to an automatic transmission and thought, "This isn't a car I would buy for myself."
Because of its power steering and power brakes, he thought it would be perfect for his wife. After purchasing it, he loaded the vehicle on the trailer and headed home to Woodbridge, Va.
As he approached his destination, he telephoned home to report what he had done and what he was towing.
Mrs. Hudson says she was so excited about the prospect of having her very own 1962 Impala that she ran out to the front yard and stood there anxiously awaiting the arrival of her antique car.
When the white Impala was unloaded she peeked inside to see an all-red interior, with the exception of the white headliner. "That didn't hurt," Mrs. Hudson said, "since red is my favorite color."
The AM radio has a rear speaker nestled in a dip in the middle of the rear seat back.
All six side windows have individual hand cranks, including the wing vents. Since the Chevrolet is not equipped with air conditioning, the under-dash air vents prove to be very useful in hot weather.
While out driving her 1962 Impala, which had a base price when new of $2,776, she enjoys how the B.F. Goodrich 7.50x14-inch tires on the 119-inch wheelbase soak up the bumps on the highway.
"This is my absolute favorite car," she exclaims.
The horizontal 120-mph speedometer in the red dashboard stretches over three round instruments, the clock, which is flanked by the temperature gauge on the left and the gasoline gauge on the right. The glove compartment is centered in the extra-wide dashboard. If it were on the right side it would be out of the driver's reach.
Mrs. Hudson is quite pleased with her Impala, even though the smallest V-8 engine is under the hood. "It's just perfect for this little granny," she said with a laugh.
Her dozen grandchildren have yet to ride in the car since it is not equipped with seat belts. She hopes to correct that deficiency this summer.
Mrs. Hudson's Impala now has more than 24,000 miles on the odometer, most of the recent miles rolled up on the way to and from antique car shows.
As Mrs. Hudson settles into the red upholstery and rubs her feet on the red carpet while stroking the two-spoke red steering wheel, she has but one regret: four months after her husband brought her Impala home, he died suddenly.
Consequently, Mrs. Hudson says from the driver's seat, "This car's real special to me."

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