Four Speed Fun! 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS

Continuing on my Impala theme, here’s another to review. So far, a ’59, ’61, ’66, ’67, and ’68 have been featured so let’s add a ’62 to the line-up. And this one is a bit special as it is an SS model with a four-speed manual transmission. Located in Haymarket, Virginia, and available here on eBay for a current bid of $12,000 is this 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS; 35 bids tendered so far.

Chevrolet had a big year in ’62, they produced just shy of 1.5 million “B” body, full-size cars and that number excludes the Corvair, Corvette, and brand new Chevy II. The Impala was good for about 700K of that 1.5 million volume. The SS model came into its own that year too, consisting of bucket seats, all-vinyl interior, center console, passenger grab handle, “turned” metal accents, SS badging and unique wheel covers. Power, however, spanned the range from 135 to 409 gross HP; there was no minimum required to gain SS class. This was also the first year for the “creased” convertible top look on the two-door hardtop’s roof, a styling cue that would continue through 1964 on the Impala and other GM Fisher bodied models. Of note is the former “bubble-top” roof structure that had been prominent on the ’61 Impala two-door hardtop. It remained in use for ’62 but was relegated to the mid-tier Bel Air. Bonus question: Why was the Chevrolet bow-tie emblem gold in ’62 after being blue all the way back to its origin? The answer is below.

Unfortunately, the seller of this ’62 SS has very little to say about his car. He states that he has owned it for five years, it has a matching numbers engine and needs work. The seller claims that this Impala has a 327 motor and that’s what the fender badge indicates.

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Noting the “camelback”, double-hump cylinder head casting mark would mean a 300 HP variant of the 327. As to whether it’s matching numbers or not, the engine casting numbers would need to be legible to back up that claim. Since they are not visible,  the owner’s word can be taken as it is. In actuality, it really doesn’t matter if the numbers match or not, it’s just good to know what the engine actually is. The air cleaner, valve covers, alternator (instead of a generator), and breather cap have been obviously replaced but there is no word on how this Chevy runs and drives. As previously mentioned, the engine drives through a four-speed manual transmission and that makes this Impala a nice find!

The interior is tired looking. First up, there’s no consolette surrounding the shifter, which looks like the original piece, but there is a center compartment between the seats. Perhaps the consolette was dropped after ’61; there is no evidence that one ever resided in place.  The upholstery looks moldy and dirty and the kick panels are deteriorating. The dreck continues with the cloudy instrument panel. Of concern is the worn and faded carpet, not the carpet per se, but what’s under it – it’s rough looking. Somewhere in this Impala’s past, a safety-conscious owner added front seat belts, a necessary addition. The interior is not out of place for a 58-year-old, unrestored car but weekend use or not, as the seller states its primary purpose, it doesn’t look like a very comfortable environment.

The seller mentions this Chevy needs work and that would be true, the body has quite a few rusty, soft spots, probably quite a few more than the images truly show. The fenders and quarters alike are both showing evidence of spreading corrosion. And thus, the concern about the floors – top side rust and bottom side rust go together. As for the finish, it’s hard to say how strong it is. The owner has applied that old sales promotional approach of photographing the car while it’s wet. That being the case, I won’t comment on it any further. In spite of the exterior irregularities, the Cragar S/S wheels do finish off this Impala nicely.

This Chevy has several attractive attributes, it’s an SS and has a four-speed manual transmission along with its original 327 CI engine. Assuming that the mechanicals are sound, and we really don’t know, it’s the cosmetics and body that are the critical path forward. The bid price is pretty strong, and there are 35 bids that like the car, but I’d be on the fence with this one owing to the scant details and observable corrosion. What do you think, worth pursuing, especially with that desirable transmission, or hold out for another example?

Answer: (Chevrolet’s 50th or golden anniversary was in 1962 so the bow-tie changed from blue to gold for one year only; in ’63 it went back to being blue. In 2004, Chevrolet started to phase-in the currently employed, outsized, usually cheap-looking, and frequently delaminating gold badge that currently graces their line-up.)

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Comments

  1. Gaspumpchas Hulsizer

    Ahh the wet look! Even has the pressure washer and the guy using it. presents ok but might be a mud queen. take a magnet when u go look at at it. Good luck.

  2. Angrymike

    This will be a beautiful car once someone with the time and money gets ahold of it !
    Funny story
    I had a 65 Chevelle Malibu SS convertible back when the mandatory seatbelt laws started. I got pulled over one afternoon and the officer asked me where was my seatbelt. I told him seatbelts were an option in 65 and mine didn’t come with them. I don’t know if that Chevelle had factory belts, but there wasn’t any when I bought it. The cop let me slide on the seatbelt but I doubt if that could ever happen now a days.
    Anyone know when belts became standard in Chevy’s ?

    Like 6
    • jerry z

      Seat belts become mandatory on Jan 1966 on all American cars.

      Like 5
      • Bigbird

        I believe you could order them from the factory as an option or have the dealer install them. The Chevrolet’s were all drilled and plugged (lap belt) from the factory.

    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Excellent question, I found this on NHTSA’s website:

      There were no regulations for seat belt performance in the U.S. until after National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 created what is now the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). The first seat belt law—federal law Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard—took effect in 1968. The law required manufacturers to fit seat belts into vehicles.

      Now various manufacturers took it upon themselves to “require” themselves to do it earlier than that, but this appears to be the origin of the Federal rule.

      JO

      Like 4
      • 19sixty5 Member

        Interestingly enough, my 1965 GTO was a seat belt delete car, resulting in an $11.00 credit.

        Like 3
      • Camaro guy

        In 1956 ford offered seatbelts as an option i had a 56 Ford 2dr post sedan with factory seatbelts not sure if they were offered earlier than that or what other manufacturer’s offered them but my 56 had em

        Like 1
    • stanley kwiecinski

      Same vein, different story; Riding my 1974 shovel…no turn signals on it. cop stopped me. say’s wheres your turn signals? told him 74 didn’t come with them yet. he grunted, told me to beat it.

      Like 1
    • Tim Nemeth

      If your car did not come with them from the factory, then the cops cannot charge you with not wearing seat belts. But, if you install them in the same car, and then get caught not wearing them, then the cops can give you a ticket.

  3. jerry z

    I like the deep dish Cragars on it! Gives the car a meaner stance. Obviously the body needs work, just a question of how much. Just not a fan of red cars, paint either black, silver, or white.

    Like 3
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    As far as when seatbelts came to be mandatory, I think it was 66 but definitely by 67 as I bought one new and it came with seatbelts.
    I like the 62, once the to-do list is done.

  5. Stevieg Member

    For commercial vehicles the seatbelt law didn’t kick in until later.
    Some time in the 1990’s I had lost my license due to an issue with my foot weighing too much. I had to take a road test again to get my license back. My car at the time was a 1968 Cadillac hearse.
    A friend drove me to the dmv for the road test in my own car. The examiner got in & told me to buckle up as he looked for his shoulder belt lol.
    He & I had a few words about this. The internet wasn’t readily available then like it is now, so he went and talked to his stupidvisor. The stupidvisor told him he wasn’t sure either, but to just road test me. I passed the test with flying colors!

    Like 6
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    These cars were a breath of fresh air after the chrome plated late ’50s. Nice looking cars with big engines. Love it!

    Like 2
  7. Steve R

    Hard pass.

    With more than a few signs of shoddy rust repairs and a description that lacks any details there isn’t a good reason to join in the bidding at $12,000+. If someone is willing to spend that much money they would be better off waiting until something nicer comes along.

    Steve R

  8. Steve R

    There is no reason at this point in time to spend $12,000+ on a car with significant amount of prior shoddy rust repair.

    We are entering what will likely be a prolonged buyers market. Those that are patient and persistent should be able to find all but the rarest and most desirable cars for significantly less than just a few months ago.

    Steve R

    Like 11
    • David Hatch

      It’ $12600 now and my thoughts exactly it’s pretty shoddy inside and outside, just from the pictures then restore it another $25k-$35k give or take..

  9. RATTLEHEAD

    i am pretty sure those crossed fender flags with no numbers means 283, all other v8’s had the number below the flags.

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Definitely 327 flags. The 283 engine was the “V” portion of the badge only and 409 equipped cars spelled out “409” under the badge.

      Like 12
  10. jose Member

    what’s the asking price on 62 Impala ?

  11. Ragtop4ever

    Ah, the good old days! My ‘62 Impala SS was black with a white ragtop. Had the numbers matching 283 in it but the seller threw in a 327 for a little more fun for the pricey sum of $550 for the whole deal. Let’s call that car the one that got away. Misspent youth forced its sale but oh what it would be worth today, not that I would sell given the choice again.

  12. Vince H

    The 300 hp engine had a problem with piston rings in 62. Mine and a friend both had to replace them at low miles. They were fast for their time. I would like to have mine back. It was a convertible with a 4 speed and 373 posi rear.

    Like 1
  13. Doug B

    I remember back as a teenager in the early 70’s and 80’s Guys would buy high jackers for Impala’s Then it was poited out to me the car looked like it was going sideways . That was because of that do hickey that keeps the rear end centered I think this car should be retored

  14. GeneB Member

    I had that car but with a 409 that I added…same color, same wheels, bucket seats…I paid $20 for it in 1968, with a tired 6 and 3-on-the-tree; red, but not the SS. I also had a 62 convertible with a 283 auto, and a silver hardtop with a 283, 3 speed.

  15. JP

    My cousin had one w/409 4sp conv & it was an earthshaker!

    Like 1
  16. Steve S

    I don’t think the cops can give you a no seat belt ticket if your car don’t have seat belts as long as you have antique license plates on your car. But I don’t know.

    • Bigbird

      You really need at least a lap belt…..not to protect you from yourself, but to protect you from other drivers. When I drive my classic, I pay close attention to whats going on around me.

      • Steve S

        It don’t matter if the car has a seat belt or not it’s a 50/50 chance of getting hurt. My cousin got into a head on accident in around 2009 and he wasn’t wearing a seat belt and the cop said that saved his life. But he still got hurt bad and He still doesn’t wear a seat belt.

  17. TimM

    Nice color, nice drive line package, I would not mind at all restoring a car like this!!! Getting harder and harder to find in this good condition after a slumber in the barn or garage!!!

  18. Troy s

    Looks like a hot rod and I hope it stays that way. Maybe even more firepower under the hood to really get it moving.
    It seems strange I guess that seatbelts were optional fifty five years or so ago…thinking in modern terms, but….fifty plus years before this Impala was built the automobile itself was strange to many folks.

  19. Rharper

    Alternator came stock on some 62s I had three of them one had a generator

    • Bigbird

      When you see an alternator it is an upgrade. All AC cars came with one. The strange part was the alternator cars still had an external regulator bolted on the radiator support.

  20. Virgil Haataja

    Nice rides. I have had several 60s chevys my favorite was a 2dr sport coupe 63 with a hopped up 400 sbc and a built t350 . headers n 2 1/2″ exhaust . that was a fast car on the street.

  21. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $13,100.

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