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History 1961 Chevrolet Impala Concept

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Ryan, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,257

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ryan submitted a new blog post:

    1961 Chevrolet Impala Concept

    [​IMG]

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
     
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  2. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 19,258

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    I have kind of a soft spot for 61 chevies, have had mine for 36 years... the clay concept has some interesting features, the b pillar is 63 corvette looking, I really like the back end tail light area without the V that the car ended up getting in production. IMHO the rear window looks way too big, the poor rear seat occupants would get a killer sunburn... are those jacks you can see in the pictures? I bet a clay mock-up is heavy... great thread....


    C401E912-D831-4CCC-943A-454A4272A616.jpeg AA69DD37-4E90-4F3A-B64A-13F4F9B49928.jpeg E7DE3CBD-9704-4367-AB50-CE6278A4548A.jpeg
     
  3. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,257

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    This is my favorite '61 ever...

    And oddly, I LOVE the little 'V' in the back...
     
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  4. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 19,258

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    thanks man, there is a little story that goes along with how I got the car , If you don't mind me messin up your thread... It was 1984 I was playing mega bingo at the Indian casino. It was a coverall game played on closed circuit tv all over the country, cover the board in 50 numbers or less for a half a million bucks. On the 47th number I only needed one more..... They called my number on the 51st number. Missed it by 1! The consolation prize was 5 grand. I used that money to buy the 61, 3800 bucks rustfree california car with 60,000 actual miles. I never went back to the bingo hall and still have the car, in my book that makes me a winner!!!
     
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  5. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,257

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ha. I had no idea...

    Another story attached to that car. I was at a show with Dennis McPhail about 20 years ago... I think we were in Arkansas? In any case, he walked me over to that '61 Impala and said, "Ryan, this is Mark Moriarity... Long time friend of mine and figured y'all should meet."
     
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  6. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,108

    The Shift Wizard
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That B-pillar works on a Corvette due to the single row seating. But it's totally claustrophobic for rear-seat passengers on the Impala.
    But as a design exercise, it is interesting and has that special type of beauty that comes at the expense of practicality. Those days were the Golden Age of automotive design with lots of excitement and pushing the envelopes, to be sure.
     
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  7. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,175

    jimmy six
    Member

    I’ve always has a tender spot for “only tops” since HS. If I could just find a 283 4 barrel, factory 4-speed, Honduras Maroon, 3.31 posi, AC. And yes it could been ordered.
     
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  8. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,784

    chevy57dude
    Member

    Concept cars are so fun to check out. Love the quarter bulges.
     
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  9. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,534

    belair
    Member

    Really cool. 61 Impalas are my favorite. Still one of the best looking rear ends. I see some early 60s Mopar in the shape of the rear quarter. B pillar is pretty cool, rear window would probably cook the back seaters, and could flow better from the roof, but I'm no Bill Mitchell.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  10. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,583

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Ass end really makes me think of a 63ish corvair. I see a ton of neat things on clay models of the late 50’s that never really made it into production on full size cars but I notice in the odd ball corvairs.

    great post :)
     
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  11. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,732

    redo32
    Member

    1965 Impala's had the rear fender humps.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,133

    sololobo
    Member

    those 61's are so awesome, I had a 61 Pontiac coupe and loved it as well.
     
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  13. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,867

    Gotgas
    Member
    from DFW USA

    If you like this ass-end,
    02-1.jpg

    ..then allow me to introduce you to the 1962 Plymouth. :D

    188764_Rear_3-4_Web.png


    Mopar panicked and downsized all the 1962 Dodge and Plymouth cars, because that's what they believed GM was doing based on the styling exercise you showed (and others). They found out too late that GM was keeping their cars the same size for '62, so they were somewhat stuck with the dimensions and styling from their hurried redesign. Unfortunately the '62 Mopars were notoriously ugly, but they did bring in the real high performance offerings from that era. (the car above is a 413 Max Wedge)

    Here is a '62 Mopar design proposal from 1959 that is an obvious response to the Impala in your post.

    Plymouth-1962-SS-rq.jpg
     
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  14. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,536

    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Moriarity 61 will be one of my all time favorite Impalas. I think that in the late 50s and early 60s the GM design center must have set the competion under pressure quite a bit. They sure had some beautiful concepts.
     
  15. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,534

    belair
    Member

    Looks like the winning roof design is in the first picture Gotgas posted.
     
  16. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,867

    Gotgas
    Member
    from DFW USA

    For those interested in this era of automotive design, a Chrysler designer was able to 'liberate' some of his own work, as well as work of other designers at Chrysler and GM at that time, and has made some of it available here: https://www.midcenturycarart.com/

    These are GM concepts that I don't believe are on the website, but I found on his FB.

    115982571_2549372055326864_9098002644997952108_n.jpg

    119020688_3770262466336546_3571346178713335735_n.jpg
     
  17. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,066

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    I used to own a white, 409 powered, (not original) 61 Impala. A lot of fun.
    The car below, I would not buy. Just scratch my head...as I walked buy.


    [​IMG]

    Mike
     
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  18. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,334

    Pinstriper40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The concept is interesting but the car that actually went into production is much better. Mark is right, the rear glass on the prototype is too big, and in my opinion it looks like 3 cars put together. A '58 Impala/63 corvette in the B pillar and back glass, '62 corvette/corvair quarters, and 61 Impala front end.
    Perhaps it's because these designs separately are so well known that together they just don't work.
     
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  19. As a design concept it shows their thinking and language. I like seeing the progression of an idea. Most of them get better by production. One that comes to minds as getting worse was the AMC Pacer. The design drawing were actually pretty cool and by production it became a fishbowl!
     
  20. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,808

    DDDenny
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    from oregon

  21. Jungle Jalopy
    Joined: Mar 31, 2010
    Posts: 237

    Jungle Jalopy
    Member

    Great post, Ryan.
     
  22. ruffie tuffshitski
    Joined: Aug 25, 2011
    Posts: 28

    ruffie tuffshitski
    Member

    I really like 63-67 stingrays / 63-65 Riviera -quite a few body lines and shapes are very similar on both
     
  23. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,901

    jnaki








    Hello,

    We all know that designers have to come up with stuff that is way out there. With the successes from the previous years, the push was to get ideas for a new design. Some of those designs were probably on someone’s desk and the person drawing it decided to use the styling parts for the 1961 model.

    After seeing what actually came out in 1960 for the 61 model year, like (@Moriarity) we have all been impressed at the final solution. But, those designers had to have a start smoothing off the 1960 front end, the side panels and the smoothing out the final version of the “old fin style.” There is even a little 1958 Impala styling cues in there, too.

    Jnaki

    Stock or custom, the 1961 Impala Hardtop was in a class by itself.
    upload_2020-10-20_4-13-7.png
    The 1961 Impala final version was one of the most difficult models to get unless you had 6+ months leeway for the top 409/4 speed model. We are all glad the designers and the final edition was not the full-size model exercise in the design studios. Some people in the studios has/had a great eye for a smooth final design. It was a one-of-a-kind final model for sure.
     
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  24. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
    Posts: 5,084

    corncobcoupe
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Moriarity's is actually a 61 Plymouth Fury..... he just doesn't know it.....HAHA 61 Fury.jpg

    Plymouth definitely F'd up the front end ( lights -grille ) though compared to the Impala.
     
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  25. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,205

    slowmotion
    Member

    What Cob said! ^^^
    I've mentioned my affinity to Mark's 61 numerous times here. Oddly, I prefer the side-trim on the Belairs over the Impala's of '61. Probably because there was a maroon one in my 'burg when I was still pedaling my Roadmaster around, and a '62 was my first car @ 15...:D
    [​IMG]
     
  26. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,062

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Those design studies get you thinking. Easy to see which concept ended where on that one. But in the left corner of the full side pic we see what we actually got. I was a 62 "bubble top" fan for so long, then I began to really study the 61. That continuous razor edge is a hit. How it shadows "cans" for the headlight on each fender. Ever see one stripped to bare metal? Took a lot of brazing to assemble that back lamp area on the 1/4. Then capped in trim to accent the feature, brilliant. I'm all about the V too. A Bel Air with the 3 lights ala Impala, mix of features from both inside, happy happy. Weight of life and reality made me sell mine but man I had a grand plan for it. Won't count one out for the future.
     
  27. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,066

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    Bubble top..?

    A "bubble top" is a full custom car with a blown plexiglass / lexan full bubble canopy with no other means of support.

    Big window, maybe, why is a silly classification needed ?

    Mike
     
  28. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,812

    stuart in mn
    Member

    As you can tell by the picture of my car in my avatar, I'm a big fan of GM designs from 1961 (although my tastes run more to Pontiac). :)

    I haven't picked up a copy for some time, but Collectible Automobile magazine often had articles in the past about a particular make or model car where they included photos of the clay models. It was always interesting to see what ideas were tried by the designers, which ones were kept, which ones were tossed out, and which ones were saved for later models.

    The nickname has been used for GM hardtops of that era for probably more than 50 years, no use in trying to change it to meet personal opinion now.
     
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  29. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,175

    jimmy six
    Member

    Maybe true but there is only one for me and that’s a 62 Bel-Air..... the rest will always be “only” tops. If guys are going back to 1959, they better start in 56 with a Ford and a Merc.
     
  30. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,447

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    That was exactly what I thought about when I saw that rear end, looked like a Mopar. Top looks sorta like a 58 Impala on steroids.
     
    Torchie likes this.

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