Ran When Parked: 1960 Chevrolet Impala Convertible

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about a ’59 Chevy Impala convertible, found here, a doo-wop, trailer queen in excellent condition, a big price (it went for $106,599!) but a bit over the top with its accouterments. Today, let’s look at its 1960 successor, a similar car in very different condition. This example is located in Billings, Montana and available here on eBay for $15,000, reserve not met yet.

When I first saw this ’60, I started to think about the ’59 and the difference reminded me of the scene in the film Animal House where Pinto, played by Tom Hulce, has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other tugging back and forth on his conscience – that’s the juxtaposition that I envision between these two Impalas. Let’s look closer.

Unlike the ’59 which had the tried and true 283 CI V8 engine under its hood, this ’60 is powered by a 348 CI “W” head V8 engine. The seller doesn’t say which version of the 348 it is so I’ll assume it is the base 250 HP version. The seller states that the car, “runs, drives, idles but the brakes have not been checked and do not work yet”. No indication that that’s on his punch list to fix so you may need to bring an anchor if you are interested. Between this car’s 348 engine and the 59’s 283, I’d vote for the 283 – it’s a more reliable engine and has greater improvement potential if you’re looking for more power. Nevertheless, the 348 is probably a value enhancer over the 283 as it is less commonly found. A Powerglide two-speed automatic gets the “go” to the rear wheels.

Going over the body, the first thing that I noticed is the similarity of design with the ’59 but it was pulled back a bit as if the Chevrolet design staff may have held this one on their back pocket in case they got the ixnay from the GM board on the ’59. Well, they didn’t, so both designs saw the light of day. This ’60 has relaxed, i.e. smaller tail fins and what I think is a much cleaner, less busy front end. There’s still a lot of curvy stuff going on, however.

The owner is pretty forthcoming, the floors have rust problems as do the rear quarters. The good news is that the frame was sandblasted and then the car stored in the late ‘70s so I guess that means it’s OK. I don’t know where or how this convertible was stored and the late ‘70s weren’t exactly yesterday but the image included gives us an “OK” on frame condition and the under-structure that is visible in this image.

Interior? Well, it looks like the Chrysler LeBaron’s interior from the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles after Steve Martin and John Candy get the fire out. It doesn’t look burned per se, but there’s no fabric left on the convertible top frame, the rear seat is down to its springs and there appears to be a lot of missing parts, door cards, etc. It’s going to need a huge redo.

I like the ’60 Impala considerably more than the ’59 but it is still faint praise as those fins are just still too out there for me.  I think the best to come from Chevrolet, in my estimation, started with the 1965 models. All that said, a top-dog ’60 Impala convertible, in restored condition, with a 348 CI engine, can bring some pretty serious coin at sale time. The issue here is how much would you need to sink into this convertible to yield a respectable return? If you just wanted to do it for the sake of having and driving a really cool convertible, then the investment wouldn’t really matter. I ask this question often but I always want to know, if you wanted a car like this ’60 Impala convertible, would you take this project on as it sits or hold out for a better example?

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    If someone really wanted a project ‘60 Impala, this might be the one if they’re doing the work themselves or have someone to inexpensively refurbish the car. However if someone wanted a turn-key driver there are many out there for not much more than this seller is asking: one of those(the first listed below) is a frame off rotisserie restoration for $12000 more..

    https://www.listedbuy.com/cars/convertibles/atlanta-ga/1960-chevrolet-impala-convertible-4?utm_source=TrovitCarsNew&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=cars

    https://www.listedbuy.com/cars/classics/nashville-tn/1960-chevrolet-impala-convertible-3?utm_source=TrovitCarsNew&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=cars

    https://cars.trovit.com/listing/1960-chevrolet-impala.1B1RA1hE1K1A12

    I’d someone bought this for $3500 or more less than the asking price it could be a worthwhile project-but then again most of never really do a project like this for a quick buck.
    Maybe for low dough later though…

    Nevadahalfrack

    Like 9
    • Tom Member

      Well said !!! Finally someone singing out of the same hymnal as me!

      Other than the rusted out quarters I was flipping through the photos saying “wow, looks pretty good, pretty solid”….then I got to the last 2 photos !! OUCH!.. Oh well, not surprising, these are typical problem rust areas in these cars as they had many!

      The good news is this one could also sell for $106,000. Bad news is that will take $110,000 or more to get it to that level !!! Sad but true.

      Nevadahalftrack has the right comment, this IS a pretty good project if THIS is your dream car, IF YOU want a project and YOU are doing most of the work YOURSELF. Otherwise, as pointed out, many others out there done and for way less to buy and drive now.

      Like 4
  2. TimM

    Was certainly a beautiful car in its day!! There’s work to be done but in my opinion all the parts are there and it hasn’t been hot rodded!! The hard top or bubble top was such a cool car that I don’t really know if they had many convertibles!! The flattened out find on the back give this one such a unique style it’s just screams early 60’s!!! What a ride she could be!!

    Like 5
  3. elrod

    Nevada nailed it. Cool ride – but not 15k cool. Walk on buy…

    Like 1
  4. Cavan Blazer

    The 60’ Impala convertible was also the star of the legendary Canadian film “Going Down the Road” https://capebreton.lokol.me/Content/Uploads/XV5PDES5VUCHAMQQRS2QRNDW6GAEQ6GX/Media/1488/i524715.jpg

  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Agree too much money going in but this car gives you something to start on without starting from scratch. Obviously one of the better looking cars of the era. Would keep the 348. Got a little time behind one of them and love the way they sound and run.

    Like 1
  6. Bob

    If it was the original engine it would have flags in the front and rear emblems.

    Like 4
    • Del

      Probably a 283 originally ?

  7. John S

    This car must have been a knock-out when new… I can imagine driving home from the dealer, pulling into the driveway for the first time… showing friends & family “The new car”… ahhhh… But now… not so much… too much $$$ for what’s left.

  8. gbvette62

    60’s are among my favorite years for Chevy’s. In the late 70’s I had a black with red interior 60 convertible, but mine had a white fender arrow, which I believe is the correct trim color, not red. Mine was a 283 2bbl, with a Powerglide, and had a white convertible top. I sold mine to pay to paint my 62 Corvette.

    As Bob said, if this car was originally a 348, there would be crossed flag emblems above the “V”s on the grill and trunk lid emblems. This car started life as a 283.

    I’m not sure what the author is basing his statement that a 283 is more reliable than a 348, or that a 283 has the potential to make more power. The 348 was a pretty good engine, and responds just as happily to common hot rodding mods (induction, cam, headers, etc) as any other engine.

    Unfortunately, I’d say the seller’s reserve has to be pretty optimistic.

    Like 3
  9. Gary Miles Thompson

    Overpriced..sorry..I’ve noticed on ebay, out of 14,000 plus listings under “collector” car, more than 12,000 are by dealers..mostly “big” dealers..I’ve also noticed the prices they want for their cars run about 200%$ above their actual value – virtually none sell.. Having been in this hobby for over 35 years, am disgusted by what I’m seeing, pricewise.. Now re: the 60 impala..Drove one in college, equipped with the 348 and factory tri-power. I’d install a 4:1, and race it weekly at the Great Bend drag strip. With a two speed powerglide, it ran D-stock/automatic..and kicked butt every weekend..About 15 sec – 90 mph..Great days..great car..Can’t afford them today, unfortunatately..

    Like 1
  10. Del

    Nevada covered it in Spades.

    2500 dollar car

    Like 2
    • Will Irby

      Hmm, the car drives, but the brakes don’t work? That sounds like an exciting drive.

      Like 2
  11. Gary Miles Thompson

    Yep…

    Like 2
  12. canadainmarkseh Member

    I’d find this to way more appealing if it were a hardtop. I do think that in its current state that it’s a $5000.00 car and no more. The floor and the quarters would be easy enough to fix but that rag top and interior would be the big expense. Hopefully it will get restored and enjoyed.

    Like 1
  13. TheLRZ

    The boomer generation boosted the cost of vettes and 55-57 Belairs while I grew up. The full-size 60’s are now the coveted car. They will continue to rise and I’ve seen at least 20 sell at constantly increasing prices. This car a year later from the start of this thread is no close to double. True the 348 is not original so maybe car would got for 20-25 easy today (Fed 2021). The old guys might have slept on these and paid big bucks for a Vette. Those days are over. I know of a generation that would take over a Vette all day. They have the money to boost the cost higher.

  14. Bill Benamor Member

    If any one knows of any cars similar make and model I would appreciate a heads up I’d be willing to pay a finders fee of course. 1958-1964 convertible! Thank you

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