The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by DDDenny, Jan 15, 2016.
Friend of mine in newport In. Has a 1958 Nomad wagon. not many around. Don
My sentiments exactly! Not an SS but slightly "cut up"
Like most on here I have never heard of(or seen)a 1961 Impala SS 4 door hardtop. It would seem like in that era if you were going to go big bucks on a new car you would NOT be ordering a 4 door.
Growing up in Massachusetts there were TWO 1961 Impala Super Sports convertibles in the town I lived in.One was a Roman Red 350hp 348 with a 4:11 posi and 4 speed. Paul bought it brand new in April of 1961 and as I recall paid $4400 for it.
There was also a silver convertible that was a 360 hp 409 that was owned by a local contractor named Roy Bacon. Surprisingly(or maybe not)the 348 was considerably faster;beating the 409 regularly.
The next town over(Revere) had a 1961 SS 2 door hardtop(also Roman Red) owned by a gentleman named Mike Madees(sp?)(Sorry Mike)that I believe started out as a 348 with a 3 speed(not positive)and was converted to a 409 early on.A very fast car and one that gave Paul(with the red convertible)fits. They raced many times and the outcome as I recall was about 50/50.
I remember Paul used to take the car over to Prospect Auto Electric in Cambridge to have it tuned on their Clayton chassis dynamometer..I think they charged $38 just to put the car on the dyno and the tuneup was additional.
I like a lot of other guys in that time period read about the 61 SS 409 that Dan Gurney took to England and ran on a road course. One of the car rags of the day had an article detailing his taking it over there. Here's a link to the story http://www.streetlegaltv.com/news/was-the-1961-impala-ss-the-first-musclecar-ever/ To this day I don't think I have ever seen an actual 61 SS in person. When the 61 first came out one of the "older" guys in town traded his black 55 tudor post in for a black 61 tudor hardtop with a 4 speed but it was a bench seat car. First SS Impala I ever saw was an Anniversary gold 62 that a local "older" lady bought here in town and tooled around town with her hair colored to match. I put groceries in it a few times when I was working at the Grocery store and that was one great looking car at the time.
One misunderstanding about a '61 SS is bucket seats. They did not have them. 1962 was the first year for bucket seats in an Impala SS and you could have a 6 cylinder in it if you wished but not in '61.
Wish I would have kept the pictures when my folks died. I was 16 in 61 and went car shopping with my dad and ended up at Misle Chevrolet in Lincoln NE. They had a 61 Impala SS 4 door hdtp demonstrator with a 348/PG, white with the red interior. I talked my dad into buying it thinking I would get to drive it. Imagine my dad trading off a 53 Bel Air 4 door for this car. He was in hog heaven as he never had anything but a 6 cylinder before. He loved the power and speed. Me, the following spring I bought a 53 Bel Air 2 door hdtp with an anemic 6 cylinder. He never really let me loose with the SS.
I have no reason to doubt your word, or anyone elses', I just hope that before this thread runs it's course, eventually someone will produce some actual photos of a 61 Impala SS four door hardtop. Always lots of memories and someones uncles half brother owning something or another. I honestly hesitated posting that photo of the dealer brochure due to how clever people have become with the various photo editing programs available.
I would love for this to have been an actual production car, because, as I said in my original post my first car was a 61 four door hardtop. That and the fact that I have been a life long Chevy guy that prides himself in (thinking) he knew his Chevy history.
At the time it was really nothing special, it was a car that was cheaper because it was a demonstrator. I'm going to have to dig into some of the old photo books and see if any pictures of the car survived.
I was @ the summer nationals in San Antonio in 1961 ( I was 15). I saw a red 409 SS. Really really fast and one of the most beautiful cars I had ever seen. It had the 360 HP 409, chicken bar, bench seat and aluminum rocker covers. It was a 4 speed car with a 456 and Atlas Bucron tires.
Note: I have owned several 348's and two 409's. I promise you that my 62 380 HP 409 would mash any 348 on the planet (at that time). Ran 13.70's @ 105 in street trim. It was in my 60 impala. I did the motor swap and paid 200.00 for the motor.
Just couldn't resist posting this pic of a '64 Nova SS, factory 6 cylinder.
Not your '61 4 dr HT Impala, I know. But an example of an SS that's a little unusual.
My buddy has a 64 Nova SS that was originaly a 6 powerglide on the floor. It's an ls with some kind of overdrive auto.
I don't see why Chevy wouldn't , Ford offered xl500 option on 4 doors. I have seen a couple of 64's
Man i wish i could supply some photos of a 4 door SS, unfortunately after searching for well over an hour ive come up nothing too...
Only thing i found was what some of the fella's mentioned.
SS could be had on any Impala model.
Personally, i wouldnt doubt they wouldnt have built it if the box was checked on the order form.
I've seen a couple really strange 62's that i would have never thought were original, but were.
An Impala 4 door, dual quad 4 speed car, all original with documentation, and a belair wagon with a dual quad 4 speed that was found in the woods and rescued.
Those, to me, were a lot more strange than the SS trim package on a 4 door and were, from what i understood, to be real.
I gotta see if i can dig up the pics of them i have.
Gotta admit id like to see a real SS 4 door too. Haha
Production numbers are hard to pin down, but it has been a long standing misconception that most Nova SS's were V8's, not so. The 195 hp 283 did not go into production in Nova's until mid to late 1964. I would venture a guess that the 6 cyl engine was the more common engine in any of the 64 Nova's/Chevy11's.
I ve seen a 64 SS Chevelle with a 6 and a powerdglide, as well
as several six banger SS Novas. Anything is possible, kinda goes along with the four door Oldsmobile 442 advertised in 1964.
I've known about how the SS package was available on all Impala body styles for years. Of course, I'm an Impala guy!
But I'm skeptical that anything other than 2-door hardtop or convertible SS was produced. I've never heard of or seen pictures of one, and believe me, I would have taken notice (remember, i'm an Impala guy!). Until I see a real-deal 4-door 1961 Impala SS, this is where I stand.
That's where I stand too. The only Impala SS 4-doors I have seen are the '94-'96 year models. They were not offered by Chevrolet any year after 1961 until '94. But we all know there where strange cars built by the factory for the right person.
I would like to see an actual picture of one myself. I imagine things work their ways into the brochures but never make production.
a couple of examples
My 70 Monte Carlo has a section in the manual about caring for the convertable top.
There is also a promo on YouTube for the "new" 53 Chevrolet that shows vent windows on the rear of a 4-door.
neither were on the production models
http://www.newstalgiamotors.com/carsdb/1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 2-Door Sedan#
Curious as to how this ad is worded as "dealer installed". The car looks correct and has all the bells and whistles it's supposed to but how would you verify it was ordered that way??
Anytime 'dealer installed' plays into the equation, the door is always left slightly ajar IMO. Epsecially when the ultra-rare comes into play. Sure there are cases, some common, some not, but without the docs, it's just an uh-huh moment to me. Seein' ain't necessarily believin' all the time.
I'm like most, until a truly documented '61 4dr SS Impala surfaces, I ain't drinkin' the Kool-Aid....
I'm with you guys also, by the way I own a 96 Impala SS, and as I said in my OP, my first car was a 61 four door hardtop, and the possibilty of a factory 61 SS four door had never really (consciously) entered my mind.
I'm sure you are aware that the 94-96 car was concieved by Jon Moss at GM's "skunk works" around 92 and hit the streets in late 93. A friend of mine had one of the first 94's in Portland and he let me drive it, needless to say; I was hooked.
When I finally talked my wife into getting one, they had stopped making them, so had to buy a used 96 with only 5k miles on it.
Must be the reason why every time I drive it, I hear Dionne Warwick's song Deja Vu playing.
Man, I'm sorry to hear that!
Your '96 Impala SS was built on, in my opinion, the best platform GM has built. It was only built from '91-'96 and also included the '91-'92 Olds Custom Cruiser wagon; the '91-'96 Buick Roadmaster and the '93-'96 Cadillac Fleetwood. For 12 years I drove a '95 Caprice Estate wagon that had 336,000 when I sold it and the engine/trans had not been rebuilt. I have seen a few with over 500,000 on the odometer. I have never seen a more durable car built by any manufacturer. It's a shame they quit building them.
Wouldn't you think there's an Impala more-door HT sitting out there just waiting to have some emblems and dash trim replaced? I'd love to see a "real deal" one or even a clone, but how do you tell - special code for body or the trim package? I had a '63 Galaxie 500/XL 4-door hardtop 20 years ago and would have loved to have kept it, just for the novelty of the thing. A '61 Impaler SS 4drHT does sound appealing, especially since my F-I-L had a '61 4dr HT new that my wife came home from the hospital in.
The only way a "dealer installed" option can be considered factory built is if the manufacturer required that option to be installed after it left the assembly plant.
A good example is the 1961 Ford 390 cubic inch 401 horsepower engine option which consisted of 3 two-barrel carbs. When you ordered that option it was delivered with a four barrel carb rated at 375 hp and the tri-power setup placed in the trunk that was changed out at the dealership.
It is true there were some '61 Impalas updated to SS at the dealer before they were sold new but they can't be considered one of the 453 that left the factory as an SS.
In 1961, the S.S. package was available on any Impala model.
The brochure in my first post pretty much spelled that out, but the documented proof as to whether any actual four door SS' s being built still remains.
Anyone that finds the first (documented) proof of at least one being built, has my full permission to start a new thread focussing on these holy grail of Impalas.
Not that you need any permission. Happy hunting.
Norm Beechey is your proof. He has it;
I understand that it's possible that no 4 door S.S Impalas were ordered or perhaps, a few were built and maybe just one or two survived. Who knows, maybe there's a 61 Impala S.S. wagon, tucked away in someone's barn, waiting for Frank and Mike to find it.
Oh the dfference a year makes, Norms race car was a 62, you knew that, I'm sure.
Dan Gurney did race a 61, but it was not a four door.
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