1961 Chevrolet Impala Convertible - SOLD
  • Overview & History
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If you want a hobby car that remains entertaining to drive, looks like a rock star, and has bulletproof mechanicals, you need look no farther than this gorgeous Imp.

1961 was a very big year for the Impala, which was all-new. More than 491,000 were sold in various configurations, suggesting that the fresh styling was a big hit. Fins were gone, and the result was sleek without being over-dressed, making the Impala the most modern-looking car on the road. It announced that the ‘50s were over and the future was here already, with myriad aircraft-influenced design cues that blended with traditional Impala details like the triple taillights and twin deck-mounted antennas. Today the ’61 Impalas remain favorites with collectors and the convertible is perhaps the most appealing of all, combining big car comfort with a ton of charisma that made the Chevy look like a much more expensive car when it was new. If you want a hobby car that remains entertaining to drive, looks like a rock star, and has bulletproof mechanicals, you need look no farther than this gorgeous Imp.

Sporting a restoration that’s perhaps 15 years old, this 1961 Chevrolet Impala convertible was refinished in its original colors of code 917 Seamist Turquoise over code 853 Turquoise vinyl upholstery. The combination is just gorgeous, and we’d argue if you’re going to have a car from this period, you may as well go for the pastels—regular old black or red or white just seems so boring, doesn’t it? This must have been a very expensive restoration given the finish quality on the car today, which shows some minor signs of use but also signs of expert care. That lovely turquoise paint is truly turquoise—it’s difficult to capture on a computer screen, but it’s neither green nor blue, which is exactly what turquoise is supposed to be. Bodywork underneath remains in excellent shape, quite straight with no signs of buggered bodywork or issues underneath, although given the age of the restoration, there’s some minor cracking at the bottom edge of each front fender just ahead of the doors—quite common on X-frame cars and probably all but unavoidable on a car that is driven (don’t worry, you can’t find it without a lift). The quarters are straight, the doors fit beautifully, and there’s a wonderful shine that really makes this car pop in the sunlight. This is a VERY pretty car, and this is coming from a Ford guy.

Chrome is an important detail on any car of this vintage, and it appears that all the bright stuff on this Chevy has been correctly restored to a very high standard. The bumpers are bright and the front bumper features an accessory bumper guard with rubber bumpers and a remote hood release. The side trim is beautifully restored, leading into the strip of chrome that outlines the tail of the car, perhaps the car’s most attractive feature. Of course, triple taillights on each side, twin antennas, and famous ‘Impala’ script leave no question about what kind of car this is.

The two-tone turquoise interior is beautifully restored and in fantastic condition, showing almost zero signs of use beyond some scuffing on the heel pad. This car features an unusual 6-way power seat (fully functional, by the way) and has been upgraded with correct-looking seatbelts color-matched to the interior. Correct carpets with black speckles, a gorgeous two-tone steering wheel, and a slick dashboard aimed up at the driver all give the car a high-end feel when you’re behind the wheel. The gauges feature a ribbon-style speedometer and auxiliary dials with bright markings, which are all operational except the clock. The original radio has been replaced with a newer AM/FM unit that fits in so neatly that you might not even notice it at first glance. The white power convertible top stows neatly under a matching boot and the trunk is neatly detailed with a correct mat set and a full-sized spare with jack assembly. And the nice thing about the trunks on these Impalas is that they don’t really leave many places for botched workmanship or rust to hide—this one is clean!

There were multiple engines available in 1961, from an inline-six to a 409 with dual quads, but the one you want for easy cruising and low maintenance is the 283 cubic inch “Super Turbo Fire” V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, which makes a rather robust 230 horsepower. It’s smooth, torquey, and never calls attention to itself, moving the big convertible around without strain. Yes, yes, everyone wants a 409 so they can point at it at shows and impress their friends, but if I’m spending my own money on a car I want a bulletproof small block that will run forever. Rebuilt during the restoration and still nicely detailed in Chevy Orange, it looks the part of a Chevy engine when you look under the hood. Familiar details include the big air cleaner up top, ‘Chevrolet’ script valve covers that really dress it up, and the “ram’s horn” exhaust manifolds that feed a reproduction dual exhaust system underneath. Experts will note the modern alternator and Saginaw power steering pump in place of the original generator/pump unit, which is a nice reliability upgrade, but otherwise it remains pretty much as the factory intended. Power brakes were available, and this car has them, along with a giant radiator up front that keeps things cool when you’re cruising. It starts easily, idles well, and just runs the way you’d expect from a small block V8. Just get in and go!

The only other noteworthy upgrade on the car is a TH350 3-speed automatic transmission in place of the original 2-speed PowerGlide, a change that makes it feel a bit more nimble on the street but doesn’t affect its ability to cruise on the highway. It’s a familiar modification and fits so neatly that most folks won’t even spot it, particularly not from inside the car. You’ll also note that the floors appear to be completely original and not patched or replaced, and there’s only a light dusting of undercoating which hides nothing. The exhaust system is brand new and the power drum brakes are surprisingly effective, so don’t let anyone talk you into that disc brake conversion because you just don’t need it. Out back there are 3.36 gears in the pumpkin, a good choice for hobby use, making the car punchy around town but a decent highway cruiser that’s at home in today’s traffic. The suspension feels appropriately smooth and luxury-oriented, and thanks to recent shocks there’s a well-damped feeling when you’re driving. A new gas tank was installed during the restoration and the exhaust outlets are right where they belong: behind the rear tires. 14-inch steel wheels with factory hubcaps are the right choice, as are the G78-14 wide whitewall tires that give it exactly the right stance.

Extras include an assembly manual, the original radio, and a spare steering wheel (needs restoration).

This is one of those cars that we like far more than we expected. It’s got a lot of charisma and with the no-fuss drivetrain, awesome color combination, and smart upgrades, it’s ideal for cruising and casual shows where everyone will think it cost far more than it does. Today, as in 1961, the Impala represents a lot of car for the money. Call today!

Vehicle: 1961 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 116021
Mileage: 72,227
VIN: 11867L184370
Engine: 283 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.36
Wheelbase: 119 inches
Wheels: 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: G78-14 whitewall
Exterior Color: Seamist Turquoise
Interior Color: Turquoise vinyl
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