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A Grandfather’s 1959 Impala Strengthens Bond With His Grandson

ABILENE, TX – For Riley Smith and his grandfather, who he affectionately refers to as “PawPaw,” their mutual love for cars is at the heart of their unbreakable bond.

Riley Smith lives in Abilene, Texas, but is originally from the Dallas Fort-Worth area. He lived there with his father Beau Smith. Riley attended Lake Ridge High School and was part of the Golf Team. After high school, he took classes for Photography, Photoshop, and A/V production at Ben Barber Career Academy. He later gained a lot of experience in sound and lighting, while working at the First Methodist Mansfield Church. He even had a cool job working with his father, making custom smokers and barbeque grills for a business called Big Hat BBQ Smokers and Grills and B&B Branding.

His close knit relationship with his grandpa is one of the reasons he chose to live in Abilene. Today they are pretty much inseparable. Riley and his grandad, whose name is Roddy Haley, love for classic cars was initially prompted by one specific car, a 1959 Chevrolet Impala. When Riley Smith’s uncle, Dale Haley, got his wife Estelle Haley an Impala. Dale was so mesmerized by the car that he purchased the same model for himself. As soon as he got it, he sent it to a car restoration shop in Fort Worth, Texas.

After Uncle Dale died in 2009, Riley and his grandad took it upon themselves to give the car all the right love and attention it deserved. After many years of hard work, the car was finally restored. “Pawpaw” brought the Impala to Abilene and found a garage to park it in.

“I really enjoy spending as much time with pops, and helping him as much as I can,” Riley Smith said. He moved in with his “PawPaw” at his ranch ever since his wife Marilyn passed away. In addition to working on cars together, the grandson helps feed the animals and helps maintain the farm upkeep. 

The grandfather and grandson duo take the beautiful 1959 Impala cruising on the weekends. They also drive it to car shows, car events, and cruise nights. Events such as the Kean Cruise Night, Potosi Volunteer Fire Department Car Show, Tom’s Tire Pros Trunk or Treat, and Potosi Baptist Church Car Show are just some examples of where the car has made special appearances. It also won multiple Kids Choice Awards and Best In Shows.

Riley Smith said once at the Potosi Baptist Church Car Show, a young boy ran up to him and declared that 1959 Impalas were his favorite cars, after seeing Smith and Haley’s car. “That really made my day,” Riley admits. “It put a big smile on my face.”

The Chevy Impala that the grandson and grandfather own is a 1959 year model with 2 doors and a hardtop. It runs on a 283 small block engine coupled to a 3 on the tree manual transmission. A classic combination of red interior and black exterior has been done. The dual exhaust and engine make it sound and run like a brand new car.

When Chevrolet first released the car, it was designed to be a pure driver’s vehicle. However, the looks and style they designed made it something you can take to car shows and add to any classic car collection. It was born as the top end version of the Chevy Bel Air as it had better looks, a longer wheelbase, and plush interiors. Within just a year, the Impala was a separate model instead of simply the top of the line variant. Even to this day, cars like Riley and his granddad’s 1959 Impala are some of the most desired cars among collectors of classic Chevys.

Not all people are as lucky as Riley and his “PawPaw,” who got to enjoy the car together. Their amazing bond, love for each other, and classic cars shine as bright as the paint on their beautiful 1959 Chevy Impala.

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