'MR. CHEVY' BAGS LAST IMPALA FOR HIS COLLECTION (Chicago Tribune, 12/15/97)




   In 1948, M.G."Pinky" Randall paid $30 for a blue 1932

Chevrolet coupe with yellow wheels and flash fenders, a dream car

he fell in love with years earlier while walking to school in

Houghton Lake, Mich.



   Last week, Randall, 69, and his wife, Joyce, made one more

acquisition for their growing Chevrolet collection--the last

Impala SS to be built.



   The Arlington plant stopped building large sedans last week to

retool for a $264 million conversion to truck and sport-utility

vehicle production.



   The last Impala has a dark cherry metallic finish and gray

interior and is on its way to Houghton Lake, where Randall will

pick it up at a dealership.



   The Impala was the hot car of the 1960s, according to Impala

aficionados. The SS designation stands for Super Sport, and the

vehicle was reintroduced in 1994 on a Caprice platform with a

Corvette engine and a high-performance suspension system.



   The last Impala SS will be vehicle No. 46 in Randall's

collection, which includes a gray 1914 Baby Grand touring sedan,

a blue 1930 Roadster pickup and a green 1969 Corvair convertible.

Randall's favorite is the 1914 Baby Grand.



   "(That's) because it was a huge car and the only one like it,"

he said.  "But I'd hate to part with any of them."



   One of his early purchases was the 1932 coupe he spotted as a

boy walking the mile to Houghton Lake Public School.



   "This lady had bought a brand new '32 Chevrolet coupe," he

said."I would go to school an hour early just to look at that

car."



   He bought the car in 1948 when he and his wife married.



   Randall also collects memorabilia such as posters, jewelry,

mugs and toy cars.



   In 1947, for example, customers who bought Chevrolets received

banks in the design of the cars they bought. Randall has them

all.



   "They call me Mr. Chevy," he said.



   Tom Hamp, editor of The Houghton Lake Resorter, the local

newspaper, said he has known Randall since 1961.



   "If it's got Chevrolet on it, (Randall) has at least one of

them," Hamp said.



   Hamp said Randall is a great resource for Chevy.



   "If they need something for an ad campaign, an old logo, they

know (Randall) will have it," Hamp said."He's a historian for

Chevrolet. He's probably their best non-paid employee."



   A May 1995 article in the Detroit Free Press about GM's plans

to convert the Arlington plant to truck production alerted

Randall to the potential end of the Impala SS line.



   He wrote to Chevy General Manager Jim Perkins, requesting the

opportunity to buy the last Impala.



   Chevrolet officials told Randall to select a dealership, and

Randall arranged to buy the vehicle, which lists for about

$26,000, through a Houghton Lake auto dealer.



   "He gave it to me at a real good price," Randall said.