I am new to the would of Impala's and are located in New Zealand.
My wife and I have been lucky enough to inherited a very tidy 1961 4 door hardtop Impala from my farther in-law who was a very passionate Chevrolet fan. He also owned a 56 and 57 Belair.
We have a few plans to upgrade the car to improve its braking and handling, as well as its stance (springs, mags and tires).
I will be in California in Feb for work so I am hoping to pick up a few parts.
I will endeavor to read through existing forums but would really appreciate any short cuts to pages on the following
Front disc brake conversion kit recommendations
Lowering springs (it is illegal to cut springs in New Zealand)
Wheel fitment and offsets for 18" or 20"
Wheels will be the last thing you buy as you have to have the suspension sorted out first to know what back spacing to buy.
Disc brakes are going to increase your track pushing the front wheels outward. Though there are few high speed highways in the north island, there are mountains that will tax drum brakes due to heat build up.
You can buy a wheel with more backspace or a custom offset. Backspace and offset are two different numbers, but both will affect wheel fitment. Your desired killer wheels that rub are not what you are going to be happy with despite their great looks.
Depending upon the disc brake solution you go with, the change in track with that Big Dave mentioned should only be around half of an inch to 1 inch. A notable amount, but nothing too serious.
One option for brakes are at www.getdiscbrakes.com. aka The Right Stuff Detailing.
I assume you've also heard of the higher-quality brake companies Wilwood and Baer.
I think you're best choice on springs would be from a company like Hotchkis or Global West. Their experience with full kits for our cars, I think makes them a good choice.
You could also go with the Eibach company or good old-fashioned Moog brand which are probably available via Summit Racing or RockAuto websites.
Thanks yes I have heard of Wilwood, I was looking at the likes of Performance Online's kits, it currently only has a small block 283 and will only be used as a cruiser, so is it worth the extra investment in the likes of Wilwood?
Would you recommend going for larger say 12 or 13" discs or staying smaller so the original wheel's can go back on even through I do plan to go larger?