1975 Chevrolet Impala: Glasshouse Great

A Texas native may have just built the cleanest Donk on the West Coast.

Story By: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography By: Johan Lee

Lowriders will always dominate the Southern California custom old-school scene, and rightfully so, as their influence and presence has kept an entire coast’s custom-car culture alive for decades. With that in mind, there’s always room for something different—in its proper dosage.

Houston, Texas, native and current San Diegoan Will Robinson purchased his 1975 Chevy Impala glasshouse Donk from a friend headed to mandatory government vacation back in 2009. “I bought it from him to give some money to his family and keep the car on the streets,” says Will. “It already had a set of 24s on it, but I wanted to make it my own.” As to why he chose the glasshouse version of the Donk—which, in some circles, is considered the ugly duckling—Will insists it was his first choice. “Down in Texas, having a glasshouse is more popular than the ’71–’73 hardtops,” explains Will. Shortly after acquiring his Donk, Will joined the Texas chapter of the world-renowned Swift Car Club, which ultimately assisted him on the build and motivated him to do his best.

Will was eventually relocated to San Diego, California, where he currently serves as a Chief Machinist’s Mate in the United States Navy. Thankfully, he was greeted upon arrival as if he were family. “Swift San Diego welcomed me with open arms, and I never looked back,” he proclaims. Once in San Diego, Will continued with his grandiose glasshouse. Reppin’ two areas known for their candy paint—Houston and SoCal—getting a glamorous glaze on his glasshouse was at the top of the list. Will entrusted his ride to Jose at SD Kustoms in San Diego for a sweet Kandy lick composed of a silver base coat with a Kandy-apple red overlay and a gold pearl mixed in as well. Will also added a custom chrome grille and Florida-style chrome header panel and fender extensions, too. For the shoes, Will went with Savini but flipped it and put two different styles of Savini’s Diamond line on each side.

For the stance, Will wanted something that paid homage to the West Coast, but instead of going all the way with hydraulics, he went with a modest air-bag suspension system. “That’s probably my favorite part of the car,” says Will. “I like to pull up, sit the ass end down and watch the reactions on people’s faces.”

As for future plans, after attending so many car shows from Cali to Texas that he can’t even provide an accurate count, he’s finally content after the last piece of the puzzle is in place. “I always said I would retire it after I got it in the magazine,” says Will. “I’m not getting rid of it, though—I just want to build a ’71 or ’73 convertible now.”

Spec the Technique

Performance: 350 small block bored .030 over; Holley 670 carburetor; electric fuel pump; Summit Racing ceramic coated headers, Flowmaster 40 series mufflers, Be Cool radiator; dual electric fans, Wilwood front disc brakes; Two VIAIR 444 air compressors, four one-gallon tanks; Firestone airbags

Exterior: House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red over a silver base coat custom mixed with a gold pearl sprayed; custom All Wired Grill; chromed header panel and fender extensions; door handles, mirrors, antenna, and all key holes were shaved and prepped

Interior: Custom chocolate brown and red leather

ICE: Custom fiberglassed dash; double-DIN Pioneer AVH-P4300DVD head unit; 7-inch Bravo View LCD monitor; fiberglassed kick panels and rear deck; four Memphis Car Audio 6.5-inch component sets; two JL Audio 6X9-inch speakers, two 12-inch W6 subwoofers, two 500/1 amplifiers, 300/4 amplifier; motorized pop trunk; Stinger battery, 240 amp alternator; Dakota Digital dash

Wheels/Tires: 26-inch by 9-inch front, 26-inch by 10-inch rear, driver’s side Savini Prali, passenger side Savini Murlo; 275/25ZR26 tires

Shout-outs: Noah’s Tire Shop in San Diego, CA; Daniel DeLeon of Xclusive Auto Salon in Corpus Christi, TX; Jacques Jalifi of Jarboe Designs in Anaheim, CA; Tatum’s Upholstery in El Cajon, CA; Leo Sosa of Leo’s Custom Paint and Body in Corpus Christi, TX; All Wired Grills in Los Angeles, CA; California Plating in Chula Vista, CA; Jose at SD Kustoms in San Diego, CA

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