Surf Sleds: Ben Fortun’s 61 Impala
All Photos by Mark Kawakami
The rumbling of the glasspacks spewed out of Ben Fortun’s dual exhaust as he cruised in his seafoam green 1962 Impala nonchalantly on Hermosa Avenue across from the vacant lot where a Foster Freeze once held the post as cruise central, American Graffiti-style, decades prior.
“The perks of my surf car is that it turns heads,” Fortun said. “It’s neat to ride old style boards and drive an old car that gives you perspective on how things were.”
Ben’s Impala is powered by the original 283 that was rebuilt years ago after hitting 400,000 miles. A daily driver, Ben’s ride is never seen without his original 60s aloha racks and his Jose Barrahona shaped, “Ben Fortun Model” diligently strapped in.
“I’ve done nothing too extreme just yet for surf trips, Ventura and back on Highway 1,” Ben said. “In the future I plan on going on a surf safari all the way to San Francisco and traveling across country along the gulf.”
Mechanically, Ben’s impala runs like a top, but he plans on adding air ride suspension and getting a fresh paint job. As for break down stories, Ben’s only had one real close call after deciding to cruise Hawthorne late night from a house he was watching in El Segundo and stopping at a gas station.
“My car didn’t start and a crowd congregated around me, some looked liked gang members,” he said, “It was getting sketchy as more and more people began to surround me, and then she miraculously started and I quickly drove away.” DZ