Gunze Sangyo 1/32 1959 Chevrolet Impala

KIT #: G-175
PRICE: $10.00 'used'
DECALS: one option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Missing electric motor, tires, and axles


The 1959 Chevrolet Impala was redesigned from the 1958 offering. Sharing bodyshells with lower-end Buicks and Oldsmobiles, as well as with Pontiac, part of a GM economy move, the Chevrolet's wheelbase was 1-1/2 inches longer. Using a new X-frame chassis, the roof line was 3 inches lower, bodies were 2 inches wider, and curb weight increased. Its tailfins protruded outward, rather than upward. The taillights were a large "teardrop" design at each side, and two slim-wide, nonfunctional front air intake scoops were added just above the grille,

The Impala became a separate series, adding a four-door hardtop and four-door sedan, to the two-door Sport Coupe and convertible. Sport Coupes featured a shortened roof line and wrap-over back window. The standard engine was an I6, while the base V8 was the carryover 283 cu in (4.6 L), at 185 hp (138 kW). Optional were a 283 cu in with 290 hp (220 kW) and 348 cu in (5.7 L) V8 up to 335 hp (250 kW). Standard were front and rear armrests, an electric clock, dual sliding sun visors, and crank-operated front vent windows. A contoured hooded instrument panel held deep-set gauges. A six-way power seat was a new option, as was "Speedminder", for the driver to set a needle at a specific speed and a buzzer would sound if the preset were exceeded.


I like to buy kits from vendors at shows. There, fairly unusual kits can be found and so it was with this one. The box had a big tag on it saying 'no electric motor'. That was not an issue with me as I rarely motorize models so designed. A peek in the box showed that the rest of the parts appeared to be there. Appeared being the operative word as when I got it home, I discovered that not only was the motor missing, so were the axles and tires. While this was disappointing, it was not a disaster as I have metal rod and tires from my slot car hobby that I'm pretty sure will fit. In fact, I had purchased this to just use the body for a slot car, but sometimes I just like to build them as is.

First off, this is a curbside so has no plastic engine. The interior has a separate back seat with the two piece dashboard accepting the steering column and steering wheel. The chassis basically holds all the motor bits and two construction steps are dedicated to that. You are also provided axle holes in a normal or lowered position. The front wheels are held in place by rivets (also missing), as the electric gears are to the front on this one. The one piece grille/bumper has separate clear headlight lenses. In the back, taillights are also separate  and will need to be painted a clear red.

The car body is molded as a convertible and you have a windscreen if you wish that option. There is also a tonneau cover to go over the rear seats if you so wish. For tops, you have a standard convertible top and a hard top. This latter is molded in clear plastic so there is no need for a separate rear window. The chrome is well done and you have a number of customizing items including rear fender covers, spotlights and louvers for the hood, rear fender antennas and a continental kit for the back. Optional 'wire' wheels are also included.

Instructions are a multi-page fold out type with the building instructions on one side and suggested painting on the other. The only decals included are license plates.


I realize that 1/32 is not a standard scale for many auto modelers, but Gunze Sangyo kits are all superbly molded and while fairly simple, should make into a very nice model.


September 2021

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