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1958 Chevrolet Impala from the movie American Graffiti

Iconic ‘American Graffiti’ Impala Takes Summer Road Trip

Axalta Coating Systems has partnered with Ray Evernham to display the 1958 Chevrolet Impala from the movie American Graffiti at select automotive shows this summer.

The Impala is currently featured in Axalta’s exhibit space during the June 15-17 NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky this weekend. Its next stop will be July 7-9 at Goodguys Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, and then Aug. 3-6 at NSRA Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.

For Evernham— a three-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief and 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee—’58 Impala and the movie, American Graffiti, inspired his life-long passion for American car culture. After pursuing this iconic car for most of his adult life, Evernham finally acquired it from the gentleman who purchased the car directly from Lucasfilm after the movie was produced in 1972. Upon arriving at his shop, it was clear the car needed work to protect it from deteriorating. Evernham and his team set out to preserve the car and restore it to the exact specifications as it appeared in the film. 

When it came time to restore the finish of the Impala, Evernham turned to Axalta. With the help of Axalta’s color experts and Cromax refinish products, the vehicle’s finish was completely restored to its original paint scheme, including the iconic hand-painted red striping.

“The paint was more than 40 years old and hadn’t been maintained. If it was left unprotected for much longer, the car would have just been bare metal,” Evernham said. “My long-standing relationship with Axalta allowed me to call on the industry’s best paint experts to evaluate the car, get recommendations and subsequently, restore a vehicle that was originally coated in obsolete lacquer material. Axalta’s color match ability played a primary role in making the car look just as it did in the movie.”