Parked Since 2007: 1961 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe

This 1961 Impala Sport Coupe has not run since 2007, and while the engine is partially dismantled, it appears that all of the parts are there to get it back up and running. It is a solid car that is just waiting for someone to get it back out on the road again. Located in Somerville, Massachusetts, it is listed for sale here on eBay. With bidding now sitting at $15,600, the reserve has been met, and the Impala is all set to head to a new home.

The owner says that the Impala is solid and that there are no issues with the floors or frame. There are a couple of photos which show the inside of the trunk, and it looks solid, with just some surface corrosion to deal with. The owner does say that the rockers have received some amateur repairs and that the car has also had a repaint at some point. It appears that this all took place before he bought the car, and as that was more than 35-years-ago, you would have to assume that they were done reasonably well. He says that the paint is beginning to show its age, but it generally doesn’t look too bad at present and is of reasonable driver quality.

The interior looks quite nice, but the seat trim isn’t original. There are no signs of any tears or stains on the seats or door trims, while the carpet, dash, and pad also look good. The padding under the cover on the driver’s seat looks like it might be a bit lumpy, so that might be something to check if the new owner is seeking presentation that is close to flawless. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t bee too inclined to touch a thing inside the car.

Now you can see why the car hasn’t run since 2007. The owner states that the car bent some valves back then, but it took until 2016 to whip off the head and have a bit of a look. It isn’t clear why it did this, because a check of the cam timing indicates that everything is fine there. There is a replacement head to go on the original 235ci engine, which has been machined and assembled with all new parts. Everything is there to reassemble the engine, but I would like to know why it bent those valves in the first place. As well as the original engine, the original Powerglide transmission is still in the car, while it also features power steering. The owner does float the idea of dropping a V8 into the Impala, and I guess that would come down to a matter of personal choice.

The owner of this 1961 Impala bought it 35-years-ago, and it has been garage kept ever since. It appears to be a solid car that just needs someone to get it back up and running. The option is to either reassemble the original engine, or to drop a V8 into the engine bay. Which way would you go?


  1. TimM

    Bubble tops when slammed with the right rake are just one of the best looking rides!! I saw one at a car show a couple years back and the guy had fender skirts on the back and the tires looked like they weren’t there!! I didn’t think they made fender skirts for these!!

    Like 1
  2. HonertGrimes

    No need to restore engine .
    Needs a summit replacement small block rated just under 400 ponies to pull the sled . I suggest new rearend and manual m21 with a shortened old school 4 speed shifter.
    Then 15 rims painted black with dog dishes.

    Like 4
    • Chuck

      If you’re going to replace the engine the only way to go is a 409. Possibility a 348.

  3. Chris in Clover

    leave the 6 in place, it will be much more unusual than a 283…..

    Like 7
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Oh yes they did Tim. I’ve seen several of these cars wearing them and they were indeed factory issue when so ordered. And while most of the folks out there would opt to put a V-8 in this car, I’d go for the 6 popper instead. It isn’t that often you see a 235 in a car like this one. The last one I saw on YouTube seven years ago in a ’60 Impala 4-door hardtop. That same car also had a 3-speed tranny to boot. This car would indeed be a rare bear if it were put back to stock specs. I’d also give it a good inspection before buying it. Even though the body may look good, these New England cars can and do rust from the inside out. Shouldn’t take more than a month to get the engine purring again and have it ready to drive for at least part of the summer.

    Like 3
  5. CJinSD

    The engine damage is the perfect excuse to install a V8. It might make an infinitesimal amount of sense to keep it a 235 if the engine didn’t need work, but that ship has sailed. This has a future as a 409 clone or an LS driver.

    Like 1
    • TimM

      $16,100 seems like a really good buy to me even if there were no motor at all for a straight 61 bubble top with the interior this one has with no rust!!! The potential is there for a great car!!!

      Like 2
  6. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Had a 61 Biscayne 6 cylinder 3 on the tree. As a teenager it wasn’t fast nor intimidating but then again it was a teenagers wheels. I found it to be a fairly solid drivetrain. IMO 6 cylinders were a very prevalent engine in the low end models but not to much in something like an Impala.
    Get it running and enjoy it. Plus I do like bubbletops.

    Like 2
  7. local_sheriff

    Though I own a 64 SS I’ll still claim the 61 is the best looking Impala ever! I’m sure many will disagree with me here; but if it were me, my dream Impala would be a 61 with the roof and A-pillars off a 63-64(believe it or not) and the 64 SS interior. Since I’m neither Chip Foose nor want to part with a vehicle I bought as a teen, I’ll make do with the 64(believe me; I can live with that!).

    Being a 6 car I’d hoped for it to come with a stick too.The slush box will take away much joy of a six. I can perfectly understand why someone would put a newer crate v8 in it, personally I’d keep the six or upgrade to a hopped-up next gen 250. Buyer beware: whatever you do, don’t toss away those PS pump brackets!

    Like 3
    • DAVID6


      Like 1
    • Beel

      I agree — gorgeous car. As a teenager, we found a nearby one for $100 back in the seventies. We were just going to drive it on the trails in the woods. Dad put the kibosh on that!

  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Both the 6 and the transmission can be modified to get it past the “brick” mode without damaging originality. If that body is solid this could be a neat car to have. Agree with TimM. The ’61s look great on the ground. Summit Racing featured a grey hard top a couple years that was mildly customized, lowered, etc. that was one of the best looking cars I’ve ever seen.


    As far as the valves being bent, my first guess is that it was over-revved and a collision occurred between valve and piston. The fact the engine has new internals ( I presume meaning new pistons etc.) is another indication that that is what may have happened.. If timing between came and crank is good I can’t think of only one other possibility and that would be that a valve( s) stuck open because of carbon build-up on valve stems. Either which way same results.

  10. Dave

    I can fathom a six in a Bel Aire or a Biscayne but not in a high end Impala Sport Coupe. Unless, that is, the original buyer actually intended to underwhelm someone…or the dealer made an offer that simply cannot be refused.

  11. mainlymuscle

    Deep six the six,even if it runs like a top.Bubbly top Impalas MUST have more power than any self respecting lawn mower !Sensational style deserving of V8 rumble.

  12. Del

    Another non-runner for ridiculous

    Like 4
  13. PatrickM

    I say…(of course, you know what that means), rebuild the six if you just want a cool looking car and a bit of fuel mileage. But, for my tastes, build a 327 with some extra goodies. That will give one the extra ponies…enough to open some peoples eyes. I’ve always loved the bubble tops. I think the six was keeping the bidding low. Ad gone. $16,100.00.

  14. Wayne

    If I remember correctly. The 235 had a rocker shaft for the rocker arms to pivot on. My bet, seized rocker arms due to lack of lubrication. Remember the 235 engine oil filters were optional. Otherwise, no oil filter at all.
    I agree with the upgrade 6 cylinder engine, ( 230, 250, 292) with a few ( not over the top) performance upgrades. With the engine swap you could then upgrade the automatic to a 700R4 or something similar that you could not do with the 235. (Wrong bolt pattern)

    Like 1
  15. Woody

    Very nice old Chevrolet! The 6cyl.would stay unless a 409ci.was located……

  16. W9BAG

    Nothing wrong with keeping it original. You can get extra juice from the 235 by introducing some high performance parts without detracting from the originality. I’ve always had a penchant for these bubble top Chevy’s. Great design. I would definitely have the interior refreshed, and would like to have a look see under the car to check for the evil tin worm. Love the color combo, as well.

  17. Joe Haska

    A bubble top this nice for 16K WOW! The engine missing is not even worth the discussion. The only thing to say if you would like to have 6 cylinder bubble top, you don;t have a clue ?

  18. John S

    Here`s a different spin; rebuild the 6, add some as cast aluminum… like.valve cover, side covers, etc., go twin carbs, duel exhaust with Porter steel packs, T5 trans and a highway gear out back. American Racing Torque Thrust wheels and a mild lowering. This could be a sweet little cruiser!

  19. JOHN Member

    We had a neighbor that traded in their 55 2 door 6 cylinder 3 speed on a brand new 61 Impala Convert, 6 cylinder, 3 speed. Blue metallic, white convertible top, the area between the moldings was white also, loved that car. I was only 9 years old, and remember on bad weather days I got a ride to school with her daughter. Her mom never did get the hang of a smooth start with the stick… I would love to have that car today.

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