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READER AD: 1961 Chevrolet Impala Bubble Top

Looks are highly subjective, but in my opinion, the 1961 Impala Bubble Top is one of the best Impala designs. The way the A-Pillar curves, the narrowing C-pillar and the massive rear window give it a look unlike any other car of its era. This one is a major restoration project, as it was involved in a front end accident, but it comes with some of the parts to fix it. These hardtops are getting harder and harder to come by in project form, so take a closer look at this one via the link below.

You can see the extent of the front end damage. Larry has a good hood and front bumper that are included with it. He also knows of a grille, radiator support and fender that can be purchased separately. Depending on the price, it might be worth buying those parts with it to get it fixed back up.

Chevrolet offered several engine options in the Impala, ranging from an incline six up to a 350 hp 348 V8. This one has a 283 V8 paired to a PowerGlide automatic. He hasn’t ever attempted to start the engine, so its condition is unknown. He also isn’t sure which version of the 283 it is, but you could get a 135, 170 or 230 horsepower version. Given the unknown condition of the engine and the need for a complete restoration, you could always upgrade it to a newer small block V8.

Restoring this Impala is going to be expensive, but Bubble tops are worth a fair amount when in nice condition. Given the accident damage, you will want to take inspect it to see how extensive the damage is and what all it will take to fix it. You can also view more photos of it here on Fotki. And you can message Larry via the form below with questions, to set up an inspection or to make him an offer.

  • Asking Price: $5,000
  • Location: Quincy, IL 62301
  • Title Status: Clean

Contact The Seller

List your car here on Barn Finds for only $50!


  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Unfortunately the seller ad won’t open for me, so the above is all I can see. Having said that, it’s a 61 bubbletop, what’s not to like? A 283 might not fry the tires but they definitely get you down the road all day.

    Like 5
  2. 8banger David Mika Member

    Glad to know its also powered by the radio – a 283 could use a little boost every now and then…

    Like 1
  3. local_sheriff

    When I first time participated in a Late Great Chevy meeting in ’96 I remember a flyer presenting the 58-64 models that stated ‘some people don’t like the 61 due to its lean-forward design’. I could never really comprehend, IMHO the 61 is hands down the best looking of all the X-frames; and I should be biased owning a 64. As much as I like the bubble top, I still think the ‘convertible roof’ found on 62-64 looks even better.

    Given that the frame stops where the radiator wall is bolted up it would be a miracle shouldn’t there be some damage to the frame here. I suspect there is more straightening in coming than just replacing front end panels…and the driver side rocker panel doesn’t seem to be the healthiest.

    Either way I honestly hope someone will save it – seller is right 61s are getting rarer to come by. This is not going to be a weekend project though…

    Like 7
    • Tempo Matador Ray

      Thumbs up 👍 local sheriff on your bow-tie comments…I cruise in a stock 1963 SS Impala “convertible” 327 with 2spd. powerglide. Smiles all day long…

      Like 5
    • TC Detector

      I agree local sheriff. In 1968/69, I had a 64 SS, give anything to have that car back

      Like 0
  4. Norman Wrensch

    That looks like a 350 in there not a 283. The valve covers are the give away. 283 did not have breathers in the valve covers, And that carb is also 350, 283 carb was smaller.

    Like 2
    • Leon Siegler

      No oil fill tube visible either…but I think at this price point it’s still a go!

      Like 0
    • Bigdrag49

      And it looks like it has a pcv valve. Don’t think they had them in 61. They had a vent tube/oil fill with a breather in the intake manifold…..I think.

      Like 0
  5. Tom Member

    Parking a car on gravel is THE KISS OF DEATH !! Lime from gravel will permeate EVERY area of a vehicle and cause rust to a level that you would think the vehicle was parked on the bottom of the ocean!

    I cannot even explain in words what lime from gravel does to a vehicle, absolutely unbelievable. The word “barnacle” comes to mind, really!!! :(

    Like 2
    • Larry

      The 61 Impala has only been parked on the gravel for the last couple of weeks, so therefore it couldn’t have hurt it that much

      Like 4
  6. Mark

    Nice car. Brought back memories of my neighbors white 61 bubble top

    She drove it until 1965 when she bought a new 65 impala.

    She worked at a bank. Her husband was a mechanic at the Chevrolet dealership. Her cars were always spotless and mechanically sound

    Like 2
  7. Glenn Schwass Member

    I hope someone does something with it. The rust on the doors and who knows where else is more than I can handle. It is a shame something made a nest in the back seat too. After a 57, I really like the 61’s. They had the best lines until the 66.

    Like 1
  8. Gaspumpchas

    One has to wonder why this great chevy wasn’t fixed by now. I’m sure the frame damage is one reason. You would have to have a good body and frame guy look it over and let you know whats involved. Looks like its stuffed back to the upper control arm area. 348 4 speed would be the stuff that dreams are made of. Good luck to the new owner. caveat Emptor.

    Like 3
    • Camaro guy

      409 and tell everyone it’s a 348 😊 I had a 61 bought it in 1966 was a 250hp 348 Tuboglide think Buick dynaflow just as crummy put a BW T10 4 speed in it then cloned an SS with all the factory parts except chrome 409 valve covers never should have sold it wish i had it back but in those days you had to sell to move up still my favorite Impala body style

      Like 1
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Cool story camaro guy. Ez way to tell difference between a 348 and a 409- 348 has dipstick on drivers side, 409 has dipstick on the pass side. either one??? She’s real fine….built 2 348’s and they were both monsters. They dominated the drag strips before the 409 or the big block hit the street. One of Joe Amato’s first rides was a 41 willys with a stock 348 4 speed at the Pocono Drag Lodge in Northeast Pennsylvania..nothing could catch him. Would love to post a pic but it wont allow,,

    Like 1
    • Camaro guy

      Thanks you’re right GPC dipsticks are the giveaway but i would think only us old guys would know that only reason i sold it was to buy a 63 Impala 327 4 speed both motors were rated 250 HP but the 63 was quicker but that could have been rear gearing too 63 was 3.70 never did find out what the 61 was

      Like 1
  10. bigdoc

    61 Bubbletops were really cool looking Impala’s. If only I had the room it would be mine.

    Like 1
  11. stillrunners

    It’s a 1961 GM hardtop – most should know it was the only configuration across the board. In 1962 you had the bubble top and the new hardtop both available with last years top offering – the 409 .

    Like 0
  12. Wayne

    I agree with others, large 350 carb, PCV valve, valve cover breather hose and electronic idle speed solenoid on the carb. All this would indicate to me a mid 70s 350.
    The angle of the radiator would indicate to me a right frame rail bent up a few inches. Even though the sheet metal core support is easily bent, I suspect that some time on a frame jig would be in order. IF, rust has not made the whole project prohibitive. X farmes are stiff from about the front door posts rearward. Not so much forward from there. As much as I like the body style ( actually prefer the same year Pontiac more) it would take some inspection on a lift for me to pull the trigger on this one.

    Like 1
  13. Del

    You would have really love these to take this on.

    I suspect what we have is a parts car and price is to high for that.

    Like 1
  14. Larry

    Additional photos is available at http://collectorcars.fotki.com

    Like 0
  15. Larry

    Price has been lowered down to $4,500

    Like 0
  16. Larry

    This car has been sold

    Like 0

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