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1961 Chevrolet Impala: Roasted Gazelle

1961 Chevrolet Impala

To say this Impala is sun burnt might be an understatement. The entire top half of the car is completely covered in surface rust and is scorched from years of exposure to the elements. I actually don’t see that much in the way of cancer, although I do see a few spots that have me a little concerned. It definitely has a shocking yet interesting look to it, I’m just not sure whether I would want to keep it this way or do a proper restoration. It currently has a 348 sitting in the engine bay, but the seller doesn’t state what kind of condition it currently is in. They are throwing in a replacement transmission, as the original is gone so assume other parts could be missing too. This Impala is going to be a major project, but Bubbletops are desirable enough that I’m sure this one is worth restoring. You can find it here on eBay with a BIN of $7,999 and bidding just over $3k. So would you leave this Impala looking roasted or would you give it a full restoration?


  1. 62Lotus7

    If it was a 62 I’d buy it now.

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    • Richard Ochoa

      I think Boiled Lobster is more like it!! Great PARTS car!!!!

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  2. braktrcr

    I’m no body guy, but that rust looks a bit deeper than surface rust to me. I picture sanding to get it out, and seeing light coming through. Man I hope I am wrong, because that car definitely needs to be saved.

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  3. RollerD

    Imagine what she looked like back in 61. Hope someone saves it.

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  4. MH

    Great find. Very rare and worth the money. I’d drop in a 409 4 speed. Get it running and driving safe and be done. I like the extreme patina look.

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  5. Mike D

    I agree, braktrcr , and if you look at the drivers carpet, it looks wet… moldy, mildew, rust underneath it would be a worthwhile save for somebody who has the bucks with the engine exposed to the elements (???) plan on bucks there also bet it was a looker when it was new .. if it is as solid as the seller says, let your imagination run wild , but keep it as it would have been ” rodded” in 62 or 63 .. nothing like those big rims, and a gawdawful color

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  6. PaulG

    Yikes, I know these cars are rare & valuable, but the rust is much worse than “meets the eye”. The front leading edge of the fenders are rusted through, and if it’s that high…
    However, a 3 on the tree, and a 348 would have been an interesting combo if it did come that way from the factory. Now if it was one of the 453 ’61 SS Impalas…

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  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    This car should have (and deserves) a full body-off restoration. The patina has progressed to full-fledged rust and needs to be removed. There are compounds available from companies like Meguire’s and Eastwood that make surface rust removal a lot easier and more thorough than sanding. If a person wanted to blast it off, it would probably make more work in the long run unless he tried crushed/powdered corn cobs which actually do a good job except they tend to foul the nozzle in the blaster. But in the long run, having a pristine ’61 Impala 2-dr HT with a 348 is pretty sweet. That $8K price tag isn’t out of reach as long as the car is complete. And it looks like it is…

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  8. Chris in WNC

    rule #1- buy the car in the best condition you can afford.
    this bubble may be OK for someone who short on cash and LONG on skills but not for me..

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  9. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Wow, the auction ends in less than 24 hours and bidding is up to $4,350. There must be some value hidden here that I am missing? Could it be the tri-power intake and bucket of carbs that people want?

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  10. David Watlington

    I had one just like this back in ‘87. 348 and all. When I saw this I went straight to the listing, but it was gone. I want another one real bad.

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