Super Survivor! 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS

Being reviewed here is one of 832,600 Chevrolet Impalas built-in model year 1963. That’s 832,600 Impalas – this number doesn’t include lesser models like the Bel Air or Biscayne. Chevrolet had the tiger so by the tail in the early ‘60’s that the Justice Department considered forcing GM to spin Chevrolet off to limit a potential monopoly. What’s really desirable about this particular example is that it is the coveted SS model. It is a life-long California car, located in Bellflower, and for sale here on eBay for a current bid of $2,550 (reserve not yet met) or a BIN price of $18,500. Thanks to Patrick S. for the tip.

This was the one! In the days before the Chevelle Malibu and the Camaro, performance came in a full-size package like this Impala. And the Super Sport (SS) was the performance-oriented version. Now the reality is an SS model could come equipped with a six-cylinder engine or a 425 HP 409 CI dual quad V8 motor. Most came somewhere in between as is the case with this Impala. Let’s take a closer look.

Under the hood of this SS is the basic, entry-level V8 engine in the form of the famous 283 CI V8 good for 195 HP. The engine appears to be in stock form with the addition of chrome valve covers. Curiously, the seller states that the engine “fires right up” and “idles great” but makes no mention as to how it runs. It has had recent maintenance performed including a replacement gas tank and other parts. One thing that I did notice is that it appears the heater core has been bypassed so that’s an item that will probably need to be replaced. As is typical for this vintage Chevy is the two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Probably a discussion for another time but the Powerglide was the biggest detraction that Chevrolet had in this era and for several years beyond. Where competitors Ford and Plymouth moved to three-speed automatic units in the early sixties, Chevrolet didn’t really embrace such a unit until the late ’60s and continued on with Powerglide availability in the Impala through 1971. Didn’t hurt their sales, however…

The interior of this ’63 is beautiful as it should be because it has been replaced. These were really sharp looking interiors and they can be completely replicated as original – that’s exactly what this seller has done. Being an SS model, there are bucket seats and a center console present with a console-mounted gear selector. The carpet and instrument panel look good too though the dash pad will need replacement.

Underneath is exactly what I’d expect for a lifelong California car – the floors and its heavy X-frame look very sound. The same goes for the body panels, no evidence of corrosion is visible. The original lacquer finish is faded and burned but that’s exactly what one would expect with a 57-year-old car that has spent its life in the California sun – it’s a nice patina.

The originality (other than the interior) of this Impala SS is spectacular. It is a well-documented auto including the build sheet (Van Nuys plant), bill of sale ($3,252 out the door), original California black license plates and original dealer license plate frame. Sure, it would be more desirable with a 327 or 409 CI engine and a four-speed manual transmission but this is still a very nice, collectible Impala. What would you do, buy it and drive it as is or go for a little updating and refinishing?


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  1. Tucker Callan

    Tune-up, oil change, buff & polish, spray w/clear, point it & punch it!

    Like 13
  2. Marty Member

    The color was called “laurel green”.

    More and more of these great survivor cars get ruined with shiny paint jobs every day.

    My two cents is to install original valve covers back on it, drive, enjoy, and watch the value continue to appreciate.

    Like 23
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Friend of a cousin had a 63 SS 409 4 speed in the later 60’s. Very loud (with the plugs open) and very fast. It was show quality at that time. This one has a ways to go but could be on the same page on looks though it never will come close on speed or fun of rowing the gears.
    I’d take it, given the chance.
    I suspect the BIN on this is just short of $20K, which in honesty I think is much higher than it should.

    Like 7
  4. Steve R

    This is the same guy that’s selling the orange 1968 Charger that was listed on this site the other day. He has a knack for finding good cars and isn’t afraid to ask good money for them. His location in LA, likely helps him reach a world wide market.

    Steve R

    Like 9
  5. ACZ

    I wish I had never sold mine.

    Like 7
  6. Del

    Nice car

    I have never seen a floor shift power glide before.

    Car will need complete repaint at what ? 15 grand ?

    I doubt if he will get his reserve

    • PatrickM

      Bidding now at $10,100.00. I still don’t think he will get the $18K he’s lookin’ for. That’s a bit up there, if you ask me. I think he needs to do some more basic work in order to get that much moola.

      Like 1
  7. Del

    And I forgot….rear shocks are gone

    Like 2
  8. w9bag

    My brother had a similar car. 283 4bbl. Same color. I’m not a fan of “patina”. I like my cars to be shiny. I’m from the Midwest, and we like shiny cars !

    Like 9
  9. Gloin

    Didn’t all V8 cars have the crossed flags emblem on the fender?

    Like 2
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      Look just ahead of the door above the horizontal trim, there’s your V8 emblem.

      Like 1
  10. George Mattar

    Buff paint, feed it plenty of polish. Paint needs the oils in polish to bring back luster. It can be done. The big mistake people not in the know is they go to town with a buffer and rubbing compound. With paint this old, you will burn it up. Do the brakes, change fluids, go over cooling system. Drive. That’s it. I had a 64 two door hardtop this same color. Got it from grandma in 1981, I was in college, I buffed the orig Aqua paint, did control arm bushings, exhaust, tires. Drove it 3 years, sold it for I think $1,800. Pretty rust free west coast Florida car bought new in Tampa in 1964 by my father’s step mother. Had some old lady scrapes, but she never crashed it hard. Was not garaged, so Florida sun did damage, but I was able to save the paint. By the time I got rid of it, the orig. 283 was really sucking oil. It was time to go. Didn’t have money for valve job and rings.

    Like 3
  11. local_sheriff

    Del; all 63 SS Impalas equipped with PG or 4spd came with a console installed shifter. Not sure for ’63, but in ’64 you got the console even when your SS Impala was equipped with a three-on-the-tree!

    Gloin; the crossed flags were exclusively installed on 327 and 409 cars – this Impala’s V’n’tri-color badge is correct for a 283 vehicle. As a footnote; for ’63 there was actually also a 6shield for I-6 equipped Impalas

    Like 6
    • r s

      My brother had a 63 Biscayne 2 dr sedan, 6 cyl and 3 speed on the column, and he installed a floor shift. Of course he thought it was as quick as most of the 283 2bbls on the street (it wasn’t). He replaced those ‘6 shield’ emblems with V8 emblems though, nonetheless.

      I still remember how he could never get the rocker cover to stop leaking oil!

  12. jerry z

    I like owner’s claim “survivor” but has a new Interior, new gas tank, etc. SMH.

    Like 2
  13. Bob C.

    Never bash the Powerglide, it was a good, solid, indestructible transmission. Not very good on fuel economy, and while others were already on 3 speeds, it served Chevrolet very well. The Turbo 350 was a good upgrade, but less durable in the long run. In time all worked out in its favor.

    Like 2
    • Sean

      Loved the Powerglide in my ’68 Camaro with the 327.

  14. NovaTom

    Hope none of those TV car show customizers see this – last thing an original car like this needs is some of their “attitude”

    Like 6
  15. Bear

    Screw “patina”.
    It needs to be painted.

    Like 7
  16. TimM

    Rebuild the motor, put disc brakes on it, repaint it to the original color with nice rims and tires and away you go!! Really nice!!!

    Like 5
  17. petemcgee

    Cool car, but for near 20 g’s he could have replaced the dash pad IMHO.

  18. Miguel

    That was the last time California ever used an “I” on a license plate as the first letter.

    Like 2
  19. RB

    Nice survivor, but I would make everything shiny…… my opinion, “patina ” is just a different word for rust,….call it whatever you want to make it sound good to you………..but it’s still just rust

    Like 3

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