Storage Unit Find: 1963 Chevrolet Impala

By 1963, sales of the Chevy Impala were nearing the one million unit/year mark (it would break that in 1965). It was a continuation of the redesign from 1961, but with the usual styling updates. The front and rear ends would have more of a pointed appearance and the “bubble top” body style of 1961-62 for some coupes was gone. This ’63 Impala is rusty from head to toe, as the seller admits, with the frame making it a questionable restoration. But it does run (off a bottle of gas) and will move around at 20 mph. It could be found in Rockford, Illinois where the no reserve auction here on eBay now sits at $8,100.

Chevrolet would build 832,000 Impala’s for 1963 and that excludes the Bel Air’s and Biscayne’s which shared most everything with the Impala. Of that number, 735,000 had some form of V-8 engine, so the seller’s ’63 edition was not uncommon then and there should be a few still running around today. While you could get an inline-six in an Impala, quite a few came with the 283 V-8, although a coupe with 3-on-the-tree was probably fewer in number than those with a Powerglide. The seller’s car is said to be numbers-matching, but given the condition of everything around it, that won’t mean much if the motor finds its way into another car.

This is one of those cars to go into eyes wide open. The seller makes no bones about the rust, especially in the frame which he says is unusable. A storage locker apparently was home to this ’63 Impala for the last 10 years. I get the impression that if you got the car running as it sits, the undercarriage might give way.  There are a number of holes that are said to make it unrepairable and the floor and trunk are in a similar situation. With the trunk open, you can see pavement in a few places. The fenders and quarters also have corrosion, but some of the chrome and all of the glass don’t look bad. The door, hood, and trunk lid all open and close properly.

The interior is original and the backseat, door panels, and dash seemed to have survived well, however, the fabric on the front sheet is shredded. After putting in a new battery and a light tune-up, the seller was able to fire the car up and had it running for 45 minutes. No smoke, overheating or leaks were apparent. However, this is only possible due to gas being fed by a bottle as the gas tank and straps are bad (rust again). It’s stuck in first gear, so parking lot navigation is about it. The brakes and tires are pretty well shot.

Chevy’s reliable 283 V8 is under the hood, the 2-barrel version rated at 195 hp. The seller has a sense of humor as he says the indicated 77,000 odometer miles are “in excess of mechanical limits”. In other words, given the physical issues of the car, does the mileage really matter? Even the 15-inch Rocket brand wheels have quite a bit of pitting. Hagerty says one of these cars in Fair condition would be worth close to $20,000. But you’d have to spend a small fortune just to get it home and strip it down. With the undercarriage and much of the sheet metal in serious disarray, why is this car worth the current biding?

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Comments

  1. Rustytech Member

    Whoever winds up with this better have some major welding skills or deep pockets. I like the quick change spare, jack her up, remove left rear wheel, roll spare through wheel well & bolt her up!

    Like 5
  2. Tim

    It’s pretty much a goner. Unfortunate, my dad had a metallic brown one when I was a kid, I thought it was coolest looking car on the road, still do.

    Like 5
  3. EPO3

    Would make a great doner car as long as it doesn’t get stupid on the bidding

    Like 2
  4. Steve R

    The bidding is too high for what it is. It’s hard to believe anyone other than a novice would be willing to spend this much money on a car that needs a frame, extensive rust repair, paint, interior and major mechanical work. The better move is to keep looking and spend extra to get a car in better condition.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  5. Steve Clinton

    Forgive my ignorance, I am not the least mechanically inclined, but why would someone bid $8,000 for a car that the seller defines as a questionable restoration with an unrepairable frame?

    Like 8
    • J R Manley

      You are not ignorant. You are wise.

      Like 11
    • Steve R

      It’s a lack of common sense. The car doesn’t look that bad in the pictures so people will ignore what they are told and bid anyways. It’s not uncommon with cars or many other facets of life. It doesn’t matter what the seller is telling them, he did his job and didn’t try to hide anything, hopefully he won’t feel guilty when he deposits the payment into his account.

      Steve R

      Like 9
  6. Sean P Stevens

    Rust…seriously dissolving this old Chevy. It is dissolving it as I type this…rust never sleeps.

    Like 3
  7. local_sheriff

    As a lover of these X-frames I hope it gets saved, and at that $ I expect it will! As stated above someone has to love welding – most every panel have rot issues… Did someone note the handle under the steering column; can this Impala be one of the BW R10 overdrive cars just with the wrong knob…?

  8. Barry Hafeman

    My dad bought a new one in 63 it was bel aire but he added an extra tail light on each side and converted it into an impala had the 283 with 3 speed gear shift on the column.loved that car

  9. Rick mahan

    I had a 63 3-speed on column, 327 w. 300 hp back 50 years ago in high school. A lot of fun was had in that ride, good thing cars can’t talk. Would love to have one now, but this one is to far gone for me. Still looking.

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