In 2006, some three weeks before Christmas, Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa reached out to West Coast Customs to see if they could build him a restored 1963 Chevrolet Impala for Mrs. Bryant to gift to Kobe on the morning of this game. Though some outlets would regard this as an impossible task, somehow the body shop completely rebuilt the classic car from the ground up in time for Bryant to take ownership on Christmas.
Seven years later, Kobe is responding by … well, he’s selling the car. Perhaps the 1963 specs are too much of a hassle for his recovering Achilles tendon, even if the car does house an automatic transmission. It can be yours on eBay, with a starting bid of $100,000. From the auction’s website:
Complete restoration on a rust-free vehicle, taken down to bare metal prior to painting. The car was completely disassembled prior to paint and reassembled using new glass, re-plated chrome and new stainless steel trim pieces. Very Recent Tuneup and Complete Battery Replacement.
Sale Includes Bryant's Registration, Insurance Card and Title for this Vehicle.
The car, obviously, houses an eight-cylinder engine, a 327 cubic inch noisemaker that produced 275 horsepower in its day. There are just 23,000 miles on the odometer.
In a fawning piece from 2007, Lowrider Magazine discussed the production of this particular car, with the recipient (a “high-profile client”) going unnamed:
A '63 this sweet in just three weeks? Some shops take that long just doing a preliminary estimate of the work that needs to be done and an inventory of the necessary parts.
But while those shops are still thinking things over, West Coast Customs has the talent, resources and reputation to make the build happen in real time, and we're talking about a project here that includes a rebuilt engine, hydraulics installation, custom paint job, redone interior and audio upgrade, all to show-quality standards in terms of appearance and performance.
No word on why Kobe, a noted car-hound, is putting this particular piece up for sale. As someone who grew up in a household intimately familiar with our beastly 1995 Chevrolet Impala SS, I commend him on his seven-year turn behind the wheel of this lovely thing:
(Hat-tip to Our Man Oz.)
- Kobe Bryant