I'm new to the forum, and I'm looking forward to learning more about Impalas. I don't own one yet, but I'm saving all my pennies for a '67 4-door hard top, on which I'd also like to do some of the resto myself. It'll be some time until I can afford her, but until then I can learn all I can about her, and about the rest of the Impala line.
Thanks for having such a great forum available.
Welcome to the Team!
To mis-quote Horace Greeley, "Go South, young Man!". I say this because the desert southwest is a horrible place to live but because it is kind to sheet metal. That is because as they say, "It's a dry heat", and it is true.
I once made the mistake of touring the area in the summer when it was a 117 degrees in the shade and all of the rattle snakes in Big Bend National Park were dying because they couldn't handle the heat. The old abandoned cars that they normally lived inside of were fine, it just formed an oven to bake the snakes. So cars from the turn of the century (the nineteenth century) abandoned were they sat due to lack of parts were still standing proud. Nothing remained of the cloth or stuffing from the interior or hoses belts or tires as they had all turned to dust and blown away, but the raw (no paint on anything either) were still standing straight and strong after sitting out doors for a 120 years.
If you find a 1967 four door hard top out in one of the many desert communities and cities of the south west it will probably need interior pieces, as the sun is hard on plastic and cloth. The body won't even have surface rust if the paint was protected. It is rust that you have to worry about with these old cars. They were built before modern plastics and had no corrosion preventive treatments other than under coating that was installed by the dealer if he could get you to buy into the idea. Today the federal government requires basic corrosion protection (thanks to the Vega that rusted in half before it was out of warranty due to a flaw in the full body dip Chevrolet used to use to primer coat bare steel in the car). Cars still are designed to be off the road in ten years (it was seven years back in 1967), but today's cars are crushed after ten years on the road instead of being stored in junk yards for used parts because of EPA regulations.
You want to scour the used car lots, junk yards, and classifieds from the southwest to find a straight rust free body. You can buy a rusted out hulk from the northeast for interior parts, wiring, and other trim pieces (if they are above the hide tide mark caused by road salt). Such a car costs too much to save and is only good as a parts car. Power train is best addressed as a crate motor, and a brand new crate transmission. They are cheaper than rebuilding an old 283 or a 327 and you can get an OD tranny to have the best of both worlds (performance and economy).
If you want a Concours correct restoration then you have to look for a numbers matching original, but beware of shinny paint and restamped motors.