Fred & Kathy Puschmann's 1965 Chevy Impala SS Convertible
(from Volume 19, Issue 211)

Since a young teenager in Cincinnati, Ohio, Fred has liked anything with wheels or engines....from model cars to Go Karts, to his first ’54 Ford. Hanging around the gas station where his older brother worked and the local hot rodders would congregate, just fueled his love affair with cars.

In 1963 Fred bought a 1954 Ford Victoria. He picked it up on Wednesday, and took it to the drag strip on Saturday for his very fist run. A big 23 second elapsed time was not quit what he expected.....but boy did he have fun. Wanting to buy something a little faster Fred had his eye on a ’57 Chevy convertible. The problem was Fred’s dad was from the old country, and could not understand that cars were not more than just a means to get back and forth to work. Fred insisted they were made for fun also....and wound up with the ‘57 Chevy.

It was in his senior year of high school that Fred got his ’57 Chevy, and also started dating Kathy (who later became his wife). It was quit evident after hanging around the speed shops she was going to like cars too. After graduation Fred went to work at Cincinnati Milling Machine, and it seemed like it was time for a new car. He wanted a new Falcon Sprint, but Kathy said she would buy a set of American mag wheels if Fred bought a GTO, or a Chevy! This is where their love affair with big Chevys started. They purchased an Impala with a 396 engine and 4-speed manual transmission, and Fred taught Kathy how to drive it. You couldn’t chisel the smile off of their faces!

However, one year later the smiles were gone when they came home from the Spring Nationals at Bristol, Tennessee and Fred had his draft notice for the Kathy got the car payments. After his training they got married at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma just before Fred left for Vietnam. Kathy still spent many weekends racing at Edgewater Dragway. After Fred’s safe return from Vietnam he finished his military obligation at Ft. Sill, and the last week before heading to California to look for work they bought a new ’68 Chevelle 396 with a 4-speed. Yep, they picked it up on Thursday and raced it on Sunday. Kathy beat Fred’s elapsed time by half a second. What fun!

It was then on to California, where Fred worked as a truck mechanic, and did a little racing at the new Orange County Raceway. After living in California for 3 years, the cost of living dictated a change. Fred and Kathy, along with their two daughters, Wendy and Shannan, moved back to Cincinnati where Fred went to work as a field service mechanic at the Caterpillar dealership, and Kathy started her real estate career. They managed to own a ’66 Nova with a 4-speed, and then got hooked on “big block” Jet Boats.

In ’87 Fred took a job as an equipment manger for a contractor and moved the family to Orlando, Florida. The next 15 years were dedicated to Kathy’s real estate business, putting two daughters through school, and two weddings. About 10 years ago, after being a spectator at Old Town in Kissimmee over the years, Fred and Kathy decided it was time to build “Mellow Yellow”, a tribute to a rare high horsepower 1965 Chevy Impala SS, with a 396 engine and a Turbo 400 transmission. It is estimated that fewer than 50 convertibles with 425 horsepower and the automatic transmission were built.

Fred purchased the car from an internet seller in Denver, Colorado. He was a little disappointed with the overall condition, but it was a solid car to work with. They drove it for a year, and then turned it over to John and Sandy at Hi-Gloss Paint & Body in Lady Lake, Florida. They took it down to bare metal, fixed the dings, and sprayed the PPG “Mellow Yellow” paint. Sandy coordinated the interior work with Robin at Bob’s Seat Covers in Leesburg, plus Sandy finished the interior detailing and carpet.

Fred handled all the mechanical aspects. Upgrades included power disc brakes on the front, transmission cooler and fan, and a new late model Delphi steering box, modified by Concept One, which takes away the “big boat” feel. They then added some American Racing Torque Thrusts rims…and she is a beauty!

Fred and Kathy also have a 1964 Corvette Roadster with a 327 engine and 4-speed transmission, which they call “Smoke”. It too was sprayed at Hi-Gloss.

Living now in Clermont, Florida, with their daughters and son-in-laws, Tony and Bruce, close by, they are all able to be together at local shows to support and be with mom and dad. They say between the family they have about 13 Chevys of various origins and uses. So many more cars - so little time! CN