‘Bubbletop’ 1961 Chevrolet Impala coupe

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Impala
The Impala 'bubbletop' is a classic early '60s design with the slimmest of rooflines

Ever since I met Deane Wilson, I’ve been thinking about the ’61 Chevy Impala “bubbletop” resto-mod in which he drove 40,000 miles nationwide this year to enter all 18 of the Goodguys hot rod and custom car shows.

I found several of the cars while scouting the listings of ClassicCars.com, including the Pick of the Day, this 1961 Chevrolet Impala, a white-and-red restored beauty advertised by a dealer in Concord, North Carolina. 

Impala

“Detroit was producing performance cars long before someone coined the phrase ‘muscle car’,” the dealer says in the ad. “They were larger and heavier than their mid-size counterparts, but had amazing powertrains.”

This Impala is powered by the correct though not original 348cid V8 equipped with a trio of 2-barrel Rochester carburetors, a setup that Chevy said at the time churned 280 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque. It’s backed up by a 4-speed manual transmission.

“Our beautiful Impala ‘bubbletop’ had a full restoration in 2003,” the seller says. “It is now badged as a Super Sport, but our owner states that it is not an original SS. That said, it has most of the Super Sport features including SS trim inside and out, power brakes, spinner hubcaps, 7,000 RPM tach (inop) and ‘Corvette’ passenger dash grab bar.

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Impala

“This 2-door hardtop has a beautiful 2-stage respray (2003) of original Ermine White, and all chrome/stainless are excellent.

“A fully restored, back-to-original interior features cloth/vinyl seats, new door panels and new carpeting, all complemented by a nicely detailed stock dash and Muncie shifter w/shift console. There is an additional SunPro gauge package and the window glass is tinted.”

The ’61 Chevy started out the decade with more-subdued styling, and it is considered to by one of the most-attractive cars of that era.

Impala

“By 1961, the Chevrolet Impala was maturing into one of these classic models, the dealer says in the ad. “On the exterior, the big fins from previous years had disappeared, but the cluster of three round Impala taillights remained. These changes made the bodylines look much smoother.”

The airy bubbletop coupe surrounded the occupants in glass with just the slimmest of metal roofs.  These are much prized today by customizers, collectors and cruisers.

This bubbletop is priced at $55,995.

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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Nice car, one of my favorites. The seller seems confused though. He admits it isn’t an SS then says "A fully restored, back-to-original interior…". Dude, it can’t be both ways, pick one and stick to it.

  2. Ironic how much these old cars are going for. Then some of people don’t want to pay the money for someone who has them, selfish aren’t they? I have a 67 Monterey Fastback, and only top $ can get it!

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