Historic Racer: 1962 Chevrolet Impala Gasser

This 1962 Chevrolet Impala is said to have had a competition life that was short but sweet. It then found its way back onto the street, but the owner at that point had one too many brushes with the law, so the Impala ended up being parked for years. The current owner has begun the process of returning the car to its former glory, but circumstances mean that he must now sell the car. Located in North Las Vegas, Nevada, you will find the Impala listed for sale here on eBay. Currently, bidding is sitting at $8,604, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

According to the owner, the Impala was built up into an Altered Wheel Base (AWB) drag car back in around 1964 in the Chicago area. It competed for only a short time before it and similar cars were banned by the NHRA. He believes that it competed under the name of “Love Potion #409,” and while this might be true, a long search has failed to locate any photos of the car in that guise. Maybe one of our readers can help us out on that one. The body of the Impala looks quite good for what it is. The car has recently been fitted with a new front floor and new quarter panels, but there will be some finishing and fine-tuning before it is right.

If the racing history for the Impala is correct, then it carried the #409 because that was what resided under the hood. This 409ci V8 has been given a pretty healthy refresh, with the engine undergoing a full rebuild, the heads receiving hardened valve seats, a Z-11 camshaft, and a factory dual-quad intake. The carburetors will require a rebuild, but everything else is good to go. The car is fitted with a rebuilt Muncie 4-speed transmission, while the rear end is a P-Case 4.56 that is said to be in good condition. That’s a pretty potent combination, and with the headers that are fitted to the engine at present, it is sure to attract plenty of attention, even with a decent set of mufflers fitted.

Due to the body modifications, there is no rear passenger area, and this area will need to be sealed off with tin, as was the fashion when this car was in competition. One thing that you learn with any form of a race car is that presentation and engineering has come on in leaps and bounds over the years. The interior of this car is pretty much as it would have been when the car competed all those years ago, but by today’s standards, it’s pretty agricultural. There is no reason why it couldn’t be made to present really nicely with carpet and a few luxury items, but in my humble opinion, that would destroy part of the character of the car. I would be inclined to return the car to its original competition appearance inside, but do a really neat job of the paint and upholstery that would have been present back then.

There is no doubt that with a bit of work, this Impala could once again find its way back to the street. There are people who will decry the fact that a classic car has been desecrated to create what you see today, but that was the way of the world when this car was in active competition. To restore it to its competition specifications would allow later generations to gain an insight and understanding of a very brief period in drag racing history. That alone makes it worth the effort.

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Comments

  1. Dave Rhodes

    a 2 dr post Impala ?

    1
    • Last 1LE

      Biscayne.

      2
      • SquareLeft

        It’s a Bel Air. The line of side trim holes tight up against the top body-line crease is the tell-tale. Biscaynes had NO trim – the trim holes for Impalas would have been about 1″ further down and the model name at the far back corner would have had the round Impala emblem.

        1
    • 427Turbojet Member

      Believe it or not, in 61, you could get an Impala 2 door sedan. In the early 70s, two elderly sisters in my small home town had a nearly perfect example, not sure if they traded it in or sold it privately, but a young man ended up with it – within a week one quarter was badly dented and a couple of weeks later it had the wheel wells cut out for wider tires. I don’t think it lasted for 6 months before it ended up at Frankie’s (the local salvage yard). What a shame, but at the time it was a 10 year old used car. No big deal right? Chevrolets for ’62 didn’t continue the 2 door sedan in the Impala series.

      5
    • Jerry Brentnell

      gm never built a 2 door post impala so Its either a biscayne or a belair but mostly its a money pit the thing to have is a 62 belair bubble top 2 door hardtop hard to find

      2
      • John P

        Wrong.. you could get a 2-door Impala, Biscayne or Belair for many years- ‘61 and ‘62 specifically. I highly doubt this car was a get a racer.

    • PatrickM

      I agree. Chevy didn’t make a Impala 2 door sedan or coupe in ’62. This is a Biscayne.

  2. wallyum

    Awesome just the way it is. I agree with you on the restoration. Clean it up and finish it off to the standards of the day. It would be cool if someone could come up with pics of the car competing.

    1
  3. Troy s

    Maybe a four door with the body cut? That’s one crazy reminder of the golden age of drag racing!

    1
  4. John S

    While not an Impala (Biscayne or Bel-Air 2 door sedan) and not a Gasser (Altered), this is a trick little rig. I’ll bet this thing would be a blast and a hand-full to drive!

    6
  5. TimM

    Super cool!! It’s 409 makes it!!

    2
  6. RivaDella

    Re: pic of the 409…..pretty gnarly presentation for a “fully rebuilt” motor…..jus sayin….

    6
  7. Steve R

    It would have been nice for the seller to furnich some sort of eveidence the car has a racing history, especially when he throws the name Nickey around. That is one of the few dealerships that is guaranteed to increase the price of any car associated with their racing program. As of right now, this is an unfinished project of questionable quality with no paperwork to back up the claim of a rebuilt engine. Potential buyers would be wise to keep that in mind before placing a bid.

    Steve R

    9
  8. Wayne

    If the car has seen limited street use. Why did the floors and sheet metal have to be replaced? Also, I believe that the pictures are not current as I think they were taken in Illinois not in Nevada. ( I now live in Nevada and grew up in Illinois ) I frequented Chicago area drag strips ( US 30 and Great Lakes Dragway) from 1968 through 1971. And it would still be unusual for me to forget a car that I had seen before. And I have never seen this one. As for Impala sedans. My Mom had a 1963 Impala 4 door sedan with a 327 4 BBL. dual exhaust and 3 on the tree. I know that altered wheel base cars were big in the early to mid 60s. But I agree that I they were banned somewhere around 1969.
    So I should have seen this car run.

    4
  9. chris
  10. jay bree

    Too bad it’s so cut up

    1
  11. ACZ

    Is that a set of Ford buckets in there?

    1
  12. Rube Goldberg Member

    I believe, altereds were considered the 1st funny cars, because they looked,,,funny. Moving the axles forward was an early attempt at better traction, Chrysler seemed to rule that roost but I’m sure Chevy’s were just as popular. Not sure what you’d do with it other than nostalgia. Still pretty cool.

  13. Wagonmaster

    What a flashback!

    This car has been for sale a few times in the last 5 years, judging by the number of listings I was able to find. The vehicle was located for a time in Genoa City, Wisconsin in much the same condition as it appears to be now.

    I found this picture also, but for some reason it looks “funny”, no pun intended! (Louis and Gaston lettered on the door?)

    https://images.app.goo.gl/uuMiDcG6hnEsj67Z8

    The Mopar Factory Experimental cars (A/ and B/FX) where professionally built, with factory support, and the not-so-missing link between the Super Stockers of early 1960’s and the “real” tube-framed, fiberglass-bodied “Funny Cars” they morphed into. Many privateers created their own versions of various GM, Ford and even AMC models that thrilled folks from coast-to-coast! Great time to be a drag racing fan back then, and now that “Nostalgia” is making a return we can enjoy it again!

    2
    • Mr. NicKey

      Love Potion 409 and this car are not the same. Look at the distance from the forward wheel opening to the B pillar/door post.

      5
      • Camaro guy

        Gotta love the paper box air scoop though 👴

  14. Jeff Harner

    I see why he parked it. That thing screams pull me over!

  15. mike

    Judging by the photo of the dual quads, the front carb doesn’t have idle metering screws which would indicate a factory front carb. Sweeet!!!

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