Chevrolet : 1960 Impala

Just coming out of the automotive recession, Chevy execs chose to go with a more conservative vehicle – some of the 1960 designs were over the top such as those with fins that stretched to the starts and others that had horse collars in the center of the grille – and the vehicle they came up with was interesting, to say the least.

First, the design team didn’t abandon fins or try the raucous reverse fins that you would find on cars such as the BelAir. Instead, they chose horizontal fins. In other words, they took the fins that would have stretched skyward and turned them to the sides. This was almost a portent of the design for the 61 that elminated them altogether. In their place would be a rear end that filled in the space between the fender and wing with metal, although the three small taillights remained the same.

The most expensive Chevy in 1960 at $2,954 was given a conservative facelift that featured a more tastesful rearend where the horizontal fins were fared nicely into the rear quarters.

At the front, the restyle stayed with chrome, chrome and more chrome as the bumper, grille and front-end surround were all chrome or chromed. The grille included a strong center line that and a smaller vertical line that led the eye to the Chevy bowtie.

The front end, which featured quad headlights, was fairly blunt with a slight angle that led to a set of nicely fared front fenders that carried the plain lines of the side back to the rear. There were a couple of design touches such as the slight ridges that also carried to the rear quarters and integrated nicely into the body design. The hood was fairly plain as the restyle removed any phoney hood scoops.

The 1960 Impala buyer had plenty to choose from. There were four body styles, a hardtop sport sedan, a sports coupe, a convertible and a four-door sedan. Indeed, the Impala sedan was Chevrolet’s only full-sized convertible that year.

The buyer also had a choice of seven V-8 engines that ranged from the small block 283-cubic-inch to a 348-cubic-inch mill. The top-of-the-line engine was the 348 Super Turbo Thrust engine that cranked out 335 horsepower. It featured three deuces and an 11.25:1 compression ratio. Fuel-injection was no longer an option. All of this meant the buyer had a wide range of power to choose from as the basic mill turned out from 170 to 230, while other engines, depending on configuration, cranked out from 250 to 320 horsepower.

The 1960 Impala was a popular car for an industry just coming out of the doldrums as more than 490,000 of them were built.