Featured is a 1961 Chevy Impala Convertible. The Chevrolet Impala is one of Chevrolet’s most successful model. It was America’s best selling full size car for about ten years.

61 chevy impala convertible
1961 Chevy Impala Convertible

The Impala model was introduced for the 1958 model year. The Impala was created as a new high level, sporty trim package for the very popular Chevy Bel Air. The Impala became a model of it’s own in 1959 in two and four door versions. The car was distinguished by it’s triple horizontal tail lights.

The 1961 Chevy Impala

The full size Impala was Chevy Division’s most pricey passenger vehicle during the early 1960’s. It was also the best selling full size passenger car in America. In 1965 Chevrolet sold some 1 million Impalas which achieved a new record.

The 1961 Impala started the third generation of the model and received a restyling. Not far removed from the tail fin craze of the latter 1950’s, the biggest design difference is that the 1961 Impala’s had no tail fins. This was Impala’s first time in several years that not a tail fin was to be found. The 61 model still remained on the GM B-Body and had the same 119.0 inch wheelbase. The 1961 Chevy Impala was shorter than the 60 model (1 1/2 inches) but still had the three horizontal taillight design which Impala was well noted for. The three taillight design actually rose to become an Impala trademark.

chevy impala convertible specsThe most significant news for the 1961 Chevy Impalas was that at mid year a Super Sport model was introduced along with a Turbo Fire 409 cubic inch V-8. Most of the Super Sport 409’s were seen on sport coupes and convertibles. The Super Sport 409 is a great example of Chevrolet bringing a true muscle car to the market in the early 1960’s. Those were early days in what would eventually become the muscle car wars of the late 1960’s.

1961 Chevy Impala Convertible Specifications

There were five different engines available for the 1961 Chevy Impala including both six and eight cylinders. The six was called a High Thrift 6 which was 233 cubic inches putting out 135 horsepower. Among the eight cylinder engines were two versions of the Turbo Fire Eight 283 cubic inch models, one delivering 170 horsepower and the other 230 horsepower. The others were two versions of the Turbo-Thrust 343 cubic inch V-8, one delivering 250 horsepower and the other 280 horses.

As mentioned above, the Turbo-Fire 409 cubic inch V-8 came out during mid year that put out 360 horses. The Chevy Impala 409 was built through the 1965 model year. With the SS models, only the larger V-8’s were offered.

Five transmissions were available in 1961 which included a Turboglide, Powerglide and Overdrive automatic along with a three and four speed manual Synchromesh.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions for the 1961 Chevy Impala included a wheelbase of 119.0 inches, an overall length of 209.3 inches, a width of 78.4 inches.

Total Chevrolet 1961 Chevy Impala production was about 410,000 vehicles.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

1963 Chevy Impala SS Convertible

1960 Ford Galaxie Sunliner

Reference material for this article includes..Reference material for this article included…Chevrolet: The Complete History by the editors of Consumer Guide…100 Years of Chevrolet by Ralph Kramer and Jerry Burton…The Complete History of the Chevrolet Impala by Tony Markovich.

1961 Chevy Impala Convertible Collector Car Popularity

The 1961 Chevrolet Impala Convertible still retains a very high degree of collector car popularity. A lot of this is coming from younger people. The introduction of the 409 engine that year also added to the popularity and it didn’t hurt that the singing group the Beach Boys recorded a song about the 409.

61 chevy impala 409Perhaps the 1961 Impala’s direct competitor was the Ford Galaxie. Both full size cars, the Impala appears to be the more popular with collectors, especially younger collectors.

The two door 1961 Chevy Impala Convertible in very good to excellent condition currently has a selling price range from about $45,000 to $90,000. Among the usual determiners of value, originality, degree and age of restoration, the drive train option and SS option will also come into play.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)