Completely restyled for 1961 the full-size Chevrolet cars were now well and truly in the sixties and tailfins had pretty much disappeared. The A-pillars were re-angled removing the dogleg that had been put in place to allow the panoramic wraparound windshield of previous years. However, it had received complaints as some people found it got in the way during entry and exit of the vehicle.
The body sides were now much simpler and cleaner with a feature side line that ran from the headlamps sloping downwards towards the rear of the car, with an uptick taking it up to the top line of the rear fender. The Bel Air and Impala had bright metal molding to emphasize the line with the Impala’s being wider, fin shaped and used a contrasting color in the inserts.
The top-of-the-line Impala was now in its third generation and the Sport Coupes got the “bubble top” treatment and triple taillights were once again a signature mark reserved just for the Impala.
While retaining their 119″ wheelbase, the 1961 full-size Chevrolet cars had trimmed down a little and were an inch and a half shorter and nearly 2 and a half inches narrower. The trim new size was how Chevrolet marketed these new cars. Better to handle and park was highlighted in the sales literature of the time.
Under the hood original Impala buyers could pay an additional $107 for a 283 cubic inch Turbo-Fire V8 Engine producing 230 horsepower rather than have the standard 6-cylinder 145 cubic inch engine. Both came with a 3-speed manual transmission.
Another $199 got you a Powerglide automatic transmission and, if you wanted, air conditioning it would have cost an extra $364 – not a cheap purchase at the time!
The original owner of this Impala actually opted for the more powerful 348 cubic inch V8 – the Turbo Thrust. The solid lifter version put out 340 horsepower and cost $451 extra paired with a 3-speed manual transmission. However, this car also has a 4-speed transmission which was a further $188.
Chevrolet sold 177,969 Impala Sport Coupes during the 1961 model year. Prices started at $2,597 for one with the six cylinder engine with a 3-speed manual transmission.
This ’61 Impala Sport Coupe is currently for sale on eBay. (follow the link for even more photos)