Bubble-top 1961 Chevy Impala

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The '61 Impala is a handsomely styled hardtop
The '61 Impala is a handsomely styled hardtop

Chevrolet kicked-off the ’60s with one of its most-evocative body designs of the era, ditching the horizontal tailfins of the two previous years in favor of a gracefully fresh look, which especially came alive in the Impala coupe and its distinctive “bubble-top” roofline.

This came at a time when designers, customizers and cartoonists were giving their wildest car creations clear-bubble roofs, like some kind of futuristic spaceships. Big Daddy Roth’s renowned Beatnik Bandit show car made it into pure art. The Jetsons put them on their flying cars.

The Chevy has sculptured styling that bridges the '50s and the '60s
The Chevy has sculptured styling that bridges the ’50s and the ’60s

The Pick of the Day, a 1961 Chevrolet Impala, has the closest thing to a full bubble-top roof ever put on a production car. It’s not a total bubble since there is a metal roof section at the top, but its huge windshield and rear glass give it that aspect.

This is an elegant-looking hardtop design – first seen on the ’59 models and continuing through ’62 – with its slim and shapely front and rear pillars accentuating the broad glass areas. In back, where the glass meets the body, the designers added a rising, louvered lip to the trunk area to meet the rear window in a continuously flowing shape. It’s a very handsome car in every respect.

The Impala advertised on ClassicCars.com by a Troy, Michigan, dealer looks to be in fine condition all around, with a 1995 repaint in its original Ermine White that seems to be holding up well. It’s a three-owner car, the ad says, with just over 36,000 miles showing on the odometer, although it’s unknown whether that’s the Impala’s total mileage.

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The interior looks to be in great condition
The interior looks to be in great condition

“Most will see the overall condition as the perfect combination of an excellent driver and ready for the weekend shows,” the dealer says. “It’s simply one of those cars that makes people smile when they see it, and you’ll be proud to own it.”

Powered by its correct 283cid V8, the Chevy has power steering and power brakes, and it’s been upgraded with a newer Turbo Hydromatic transmission, new air conditioning (a must in the summer with all that glass) and disc brakes, according to the ad.

The asking price is $49,750 for this eye-catching hardtop.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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