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57k Original Miles: 1961 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe

Until recently, this 1961 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe had been part of the same family since Day 1. Its owners have retained all the original documentation and service records verifying that the odometer reading of 57,017 miles is genuine. After a few years in hibernation, the current owner revived the car, ready for it to find a new home. If the Impala tempts you, the seller has listed it here on eBay in Nampa, Idaho. Frantic bidding has pushed the price to $44,300, although the figure remains short of the reserve.

At a touch over seventeen feet in overall length, the ’61 Impala Sport Coupe is a pretty big car by modern standards. However, Chevrolet’s designers achieved that rare feat of making the car look far smaller than the tape measure suggests, thanks to the execution of the roof and glass. With exceptionally thin roof pillars and what seems to be acres of glass, the finished product rightfully earned the Sport Coupe the “bubbleback” nickname. This car presents nicely in Twilight Turquoise and Ermine White, although the seller quickly points out that it isn’t perfect. Rust seems limited to a small spot on the lower passenger side rear quarter panel. The rest of the body looks clean, and the floors and frame are rock-solid. There is a small dent on the passenger side door above the trim and a few scratches. However, the condition is above average when you consider the Impala as an original survivor with six decades under its belt. Otherwise, the trim is impressive, while there are no visible glass issues.

Powering this Impala is a 283ci V8 that produced 170hp when the car rolled off the line. Its original owner backed that V8 with a two-speed Powerglide transmission, adding power steering to remove the hard work from the driving experience. The journey down the ¼ mile would have taken 20.2 seconds, which seems relatively sedate by modern standards. The seller indicates this Sport Coupe is numbers-matching and has a genuine 57,017 miles showing on its odometer. I am usually dubious about such claims, but they hold the original Dealer Documentation, Title, Registration, and complete Service Records that verify the odometer reading. They admit that the Impala had been sitting for a few years when they located it, and they have replaced parts to return it to a roadworthy state. The engine sports a new Edelbrock carburetor and intake, while the replaced components include a radiator, water pump, fuel pump, plugs, wires, and various other items. However, they have retained the original parts for potential buyers intent on returning the car to its factory specifications. The Impala runs and drives well and appears ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.

The Impala seems to provide good news wherever we turn. Its interior is trimmed in a combination of Turquoise cloth and vinyl and is extremely tidy for its age. There appear to be a few minor marks on the front seat and some wear on the outer edge of the driver’s side, but no glaring faults that might justify replacing upholstery. The back seat looks like it has never been used, while the headliner, dash, carpet, and wheel, are excellent. There are a few small faults for the new owner to consider. The factory AM radio needs a new speaker, which should be a straightforward process. I’m not surprised the clock doesn’t operate, but there are specialist services that could revive it for a reasonable price.

The Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe would not be considered rare, with 177,969 examples rolling off the production line during the 1961 model year. However, that doesn’t make it less coveted than other cars from that era. The bidding history is a testament to its desirability, with sixty-nine bids submitted. There is time left on the listing for that figure to grow. If you bought this classic, would you drive it untouched? Or, would you find the idea of reinstalling the original engine bay components impossible to resist? More importantly, are you tempted to join the bidding war, hoping it eventually finds its way into your garage?

Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    My first thought upon seeing this car was “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, although I believe the car in the movie had dog dish hub caps. This one looks good! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 11
    • Bob C.

      Yeah, that &@#$ Sylvester ruined it by running them off the road!

      Like 7
  2. Greg Gustafson

    All of that glass and no AC, I’ll pass.

    Like 2
    • David Nelson

      Not even tinted glass!

    • bone

      Jeez , its a ’61 Chevy , what did you expect ? Probably 90% of the cars in 1961 didnt have A/C as standard equipment , unless you had a Caddy , Lincoln or Imperial . If you were to buy it today you could always add aftermarket air to it.

      Like 2
  3. CaCarDude

    If I owned this, I would spend the $1200 or so to ad Vintage air and just cruise the wheels off. My father drove one of these ’61 bubbletop Impala’s back in 67-68. His was all white on light blue interior, had the black in the side cove trim, 283, 2 spd auto. I wanted the car for myself but got drafted in mid ’68,.. car was sold soon after and replaced with a ’64 Impala.

    Like 9
    • Jack M.

      Just curious, did your Father’s Impala have a/c?

      Like 3
      • CaCarDude

        No a/c in his Impala as far as I remember. Sold to a private party in the Sacramento area.

        Like 2
      • Nelson59

        All our Chevys Had AC. but We Lived in Phoenix Arizona and all those 283’s were 185 in the 59 195 in the 65. Even My 57 235 I had Ac and it came from the orginal owner up in the Mountains a Mile High Prescott where it’s very Sweet Weather. But it worked great in scorching 115 Temps i did add a sprayer to throw a mist of water over that drop flow radiator as it could get a bit warm sitting at a light.

        Like 3
    • Laddie Hunt

      Similar story to yours I got drafted Nov. 67, got orders to Vietnam. I had no place to keep it and my Dad sold it for me.
      The car was almost junk when I got it, but I rebuilt a 283 power pack out of a fellow employee 58 Impala. I carefully rebuilt the engine with much detail it had gray interior and cove, solid white car. I replaced the drivers seat cushion and back, new carpet, full brake job and a bunch of Nick Naks. I put 30,000 miles on it the next year. A20 second 1/4 is about wright but top speed was 144 mph using Eng. rpm, diff ratio and tire size. Ewe had a bunch of racers in the shop round track and drag strip! I had to sell it and have always regretted it.

      Like 1
  4. Jerry Bramlett

    That IS a beautiful body… but pay over $44,000 for a 283/Powerglide? Nah.

    Like 10
  5. Rw

    That’s right Snow flakes melt W/O A/C

    Like 10
    • Bill

      My mom melted down in our ’64 Dodge on a 100 degree day on the 101. A hang down Sears appeared shortly after. And she was no snow flake.

      Like 11
  6. Taconix

    Bidding has ended on this item. Must have gotten the better offer outside of eBay.

  7. Bob

    A high school friend had a new “Baby” Blue one. 348 ci , 4 speed.
    He went through 2 engines then sold it.can’t say I blamed him. Beautiful car, but the 348 was a time bomb.

    Like 1
  8. joenywf64

    That color combo inside is hardly what i would call vintage ’61.
    The 283 v8 2 bbl was only 15hp more than the lighter in weight ’68 250 6 cyl 1 bbl?

    Like 1
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Not sure of your point about the interior. Perhaps you’ve never seen one ‘new’. This has over 60 years of fade on it in a car with LOTS of clear glass to ‘let the sunshine in’! The turquoise 61 Impala interior is gorgeous when it’s in the original color, so this one needs at least new seat cloth and probably vinyl as well to bring back its ‘true colors’. I’m sure you don’t (or won’t) look the same after that many years either!

      Like 1
      • joenywf64

        Well, if the once original blue seat upholstery & carpet are completely faded from the sun, the steering wheel should also be cracked & discolored by the sun. & the vinyl on the doors should be cracked too. The carpet should still have some blue spots – under the mats & other hidden areas.
        I think that carpet is simply “modern” aftermarket generic grey replacement. & the seat covers look almost like ’80s grey velour material.
        Shouldn’t the upholstery back in the ’60s (espec in a Chevy like this) be simple vinyl, or a not-plush-at-all optional plaid type of fabric?

      • karl

        With 57,000 miles in 61 years it probably didnt get much time outside to fade…just sayin

  9. 59Poncho

    Bubbleback????????????????

    Like 4
  10. David Nelson

    good catch! “bubbletop” as you and I know. Same top offered in the BelAir for 61, and ONLY on the BelAir in 62! I had a 61 Impala Sport Sedan (4 dr ht) a few years ago with Factory AC and full tint – white with a red interior…

    Like 1
  11. Morley Member

    My 61, SS, 348/350 horsepower, 4 speed, tinted windows and no air. We don’t need no stinkin AIR. Windows all down we just need speed, perhaps we Canadian are just tougher???????

    Like 3
    • Barry

      Morley Brown?

      • Morley Francis Brown Member

        Yes it is me

        Like 1
    • Barry Simpson

      67 Firebird Sprint OHC 6 vs Camaro RS in Shelburne – U 1

      • Morley Francis Brown Member

        Barry, I think we should talk, you know too much 519 925 0267
        Morley

  12. Camaro guy

    That’s interesting CaCarDude that’s the same time frame i had a 61 Impala 348/4sp mine was also white with black in the side trim never saw another one like that most had red but mine also had a red/white interior. That’s one i should never have sold really miss that car

    • CaCarDude

      The ’61 2dr hardtop was a great body style and I remember seeing several in the Sacramento and Norcal area back in the mid sixties, most as I recall had the black in the side cove, although I do remember some with the red. If not for the draft at the time, I would have bought my dad’s Impala, he replaced with a like new ’64 Impala SS White on Black fully loaded car, was a 327 4bbl Auto, buckets, console. As I recall he didn’t care for the 283 and wanted the newer Chevy 327.

  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Made it to $44,300, but ended with Reserve Not Met.

    Like 1

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