Launched as RPO 240, the upgrade could be had for just $53.80, and Chevrolet allowed customers to install it on pretty much any model, except for the Nomad wagon. The debut of the SS in February, however, wasn’t the only big novelty for this model year.
During 1961, Chevrolet decided to introduce what eventually became a big hit and turned the Impala SS into a rocket on wheels: the 409 (6.7-liter) big-block unit equipped with a single four-barrel carburetor and developing no less than 360 horsepower. Impalas powered by the 409, however, weren’t something very common for this model year, and according to some rough estimates, fewer than 150 units ended up seeing the daylight.
The majority of Impalas, however, were born in 1961 with either the six-cylinder unit rated at 135 horsepower or the 283 (4.7-liter) developing 170 or 230 horsepower. The more powerful option before the introduction of the almighty 409 was the famous 348 (5.7-liter) available in several configurations, including the top-of-the-range TriPower with 350 horsepower.The 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS that we have here is a rare beast in all regards.
First and foremost, it’s one of the few SS models that got to see daylight in 1961, and as you can easily tell with just a few clicks on the photos in the gallery, it looks just like a new car. This is obviously thanks to a proper restoration completed a few years ago, so you should expect nothing but a tip-top shape inside, outside, and under the hood.
Currently listed for sale by Ray Skillman Classic Cars, this Impala was originally purchased from Modern Chevrolet in Lubbock, Texas. And according to the garage, the car was ordered as a graduation present for a young man who actually wanted a Corvette. The lucky boy ended up getting this rare Impala SS.
There’s a very good chance you’re going to like what’s hiding under the hood.
There’s a reason why we mentioned the all-new 409 V8 that Chevrolet introduced during 1961 on the Impala. It’s because the same unit is now in charge of putting the wheels in motion on this Impala as well, and given the car has already been restored, it goes without saying everything is running just like on a new car.
However, the garage says the output of this factory engine is 409 horsepower, but as we said earlier, this unit was introduced with a 360-horsepower output. If this is correct, then maybe the engine has also been upgraded during the restoration project, but any potential buyer should just reach out to the sellers and ask for more information on this front.
The odometer indicates just a little over 900 miles (that’s close to 1,500 km for our European friends) since the restoration project was finished, pretty much because the car has obviously been parked in someone’s collection and only taken out on very rare occasions.
At the end of the day, this 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS is a model that’s not only rare but also a genuine piece of automotive culture. Given the low production numbers, finding another 1961 Impala SS with the factory 409 under the hood is pretty difficult, to say the least, and this makes the car quite a collectible.