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1961 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe

With a complete restyle for 1961 the full-size Chevrolet cars had now well and truly entered the sixties with tailfins pretty much gone. The A-pillars were re-angled removing the dogleg that had been put in place to allow the panoramic wraparound windshield of previous years. Unfortunately it had received complaints as some people found it got in the way during entry and exit of the vehicle.

The body sides were now much simpler and cleaner with a feature side line that ran from the headlamps sloping downwards towards the rear of the car, with an uptick taking it up to the top line of the rear fender. The Bel Air and Impala had bright metal molding to emphasize the line with the Impala’s being wider, fin shaped and used a contrasting color in the inserts.

1961 saw the top-of-the-line Impala now entering its third generation with the Sport Coupes getting the “bubble top” treatment and triple taillights were once again a signature mark reserved just for the Impala.

Rear view of a black 61 Impala Sport Coupe
rear view

Buyers had the choice from 15 solid colors with 9 of them being totally new. There were also 10 two-tone combinations available.

This car has been painted in Roman Red – a very popular color for these cars back then and now!

side view of a 1961 Impala
side view

While retaining their 119″ wheelbase, the 1961 full-size Chevrolet cars had trimmed down a little and were an inch and a half shorter and nearly 2 and a half inches narrower. The trim new size was how Chevrolet marketed these new cars. Better to handle and park was highlighted in the sales literature of the time.

cloth and vinyl interior of a 1961 Chevy Impala
Cloth and vinyl interior

Full-size Chevrolets came with a 6-cylinder 145 cubic inch engine as standard with the base V8, a 230 horsepower 283 cubic inch Turbo-Fire, costing an additional $107. Both came with a 3-speed manual transmission as standard.

Another $199 got you a Powerglide automatic transmission and, if you wanted, air conditioning which would have cost an extra $364 – not a cheap purchase at the time!

This car however is fitted with a 348 cubic inch V8, with tri-power (3 x 2-barrel carburetors) and 4-speed manual transmission giving 280 horsepower. It was a combination that would have cost an additional $459 at the time.

Chevrolet 348 cubic inch V8 fitted to a 1961 Impala
348 cubic inch V8 with Tri-power

Chevrolet sold 177,969 Impala Sport Coupes during the 1961 model year. Prices started at $2,597 for one with the six cylinder engine with a 3-speed manual transmission.

This 1961 Impala is currently for sale on eBay. (follow the link for more photos)


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