How It Goes

When you don’t need to cause a ruckus, the engine proposition becomes insanely easy. There’s no one to impress here, just the idea of a safe, reliable method of getting from point A to point B. In that light, the ’72 350 has more than enough crust, even for the ark-like, 3,750-pound B-body. Mario says, “The engine is mostly stock except for a mild cam for a little more giddyap.” Other changes are minimal and in keeping with the vision of the car. The Edelbrock intake manifold is paired with a Holley of some sort that sucks through a K&N filter element. Spent exhaust is extracted by Hedman headers. Torque passes through a Turbo 350 and thus to the factory axle fitted with a Positraction differential and 3.23:1 gears.

Smoky Bones

Without a doubt, the most significant thing about the Imp is its stance and how it got that way. Mario did an end run and made it work with plain, old basic stuff, like we did back in the day. The Imp is rudimentary, and uses a studied wheel offset, complementary tire size, and modified coil springs to yield the lounge-lizard look. Stance is set via CPP front and rear coil springs that were cut to yield the desired height. Wheel movement is lassoed by KYB gas-filled shock absorbers. To make it all work with scraping, the front and rear inner fenderwells were modified to accept the 20-inch wheel combination.

Wheels & Brakes

The wheels are big and the brakes are little, but that’s no skin off a dedicated cruiser’s nose. Stock drum brakes are completely overwhelmed by the 20-inch Foose two-piece Nitrous hoops (8.5 and 10.0 inches wide) and the brutal 245/35 and 275/30 Pirelli P Zero rubber.

Lounge

Again, the stock theme prevails. It’s a pleasant change to see the real McCoy when it’s the practice these days to mute, smooth, and divest the interior of its original markers. “I was lucky enough to find a car with power seat and convertible top mechanisms intact,” Mario says. The air conditioning is original, albeit refurbished for its new mission. Mario held the interior to factory spec because he felt that the stock look is critical to the package and that it had to be retained. He did take advantage of the Imp’s mammoth nether region, though. A custom trunk enclosure houses the amp and woofers. Custom fiberglass kick panels house 61/2-inch speakers and the front dash and rear speaker housing also accommodates a pair of 51/4-inch coaxial speakers.CHP