“I have a house up in Ruidoso [New Mexico]. On Saturdays my little boy and I wake up real early and just take off riding around looking for old cars.”
While the rest of Michael Lightbourn’s family slept one Saturday morning in early 2012, he and his 8-year-old son stumbled across an amazing sight. On land near some old trailers in Tularosa they discovered what one might mistake for a junkyard full of mid to late ’60s Impala SS big-block muscle cars.
Except, these old cars were far more than junkyard dogs. They were “actually pretty solid cars,” Lightbourn says, belonging to a private individual’s collection.
New Mexico’s climate is kind to metal. These Chevrolets, parked and exposed to the weather though they might have been for the last quarter of a century, suffered from very little rust. “The problem in New Mexico,” Lightbourn points out, is not rust. “It’s dry rot. All the interior, the vinyl, carpet, the weather stripping, everything just gets dry-rotted in these cars.”
Most of the Impalas were complete. Every one appeared to be an SS of some form. Lightbourn was excited with his find because he likes fullsize GM muscle and believes the big cars have become more popular in recent years due to the fact there are so few on the streets these days. Finding an SS Chevelle at a car show is not nearly as difficult as finding an SS Impala.
Lightbourn knocked on doors until he found the owner. The man was very friendly and let Lightbourn and his son look over the old cars.
His timing to buy was right on target. The man was ready to sell. They made a deal for $3,000 a car for four big-block SS Impalas.