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1961 Impala 2 Door Sedan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

My name is Mike and I've been the caretaker for a 1961 Impala 2 door sedan for 6 or 7 years now. My grandfather bought it from the original owner (sold in SC), sold it to a buddy who was begging him for the car, bought it back right before I got it with the intention the my dad would buy it from him. Turned out I loved driving it so I bought it from my dad shortly after we got it home.

Known:

  1. It was originally a 283, column shift automatic.
  2. 2 door sedans are very rare and this is a one year body style for the Impala trim.
  3. The original color was Corona Cream.
  4. The previous owner put a 267 馃ぎ in it with a 3 speed column shift manual.
Work I have done so far:

  1. Rebuild the rear drums
  2. Front disc conversion
  3. All new stainless steel hard lines and flex lines for the brakes
  4. Booster with dual reservoir master cylinder and rear pressure adjuster.
  5. Painted the engine bay using POR 15
  6. All new parking brake cables and lubricated the parking brake assembly
  7. Replaced the steering column upper bearing and everything related to the turn signal assembly
  8. Replaced the 267 with an older built mild 283.
  9. Replaced the stock wheels with hubcaps with aftermarket chrome rallies to clear the calipers.
  10. Replaced the fuel filler neck along with any rubber parts.

What I want to do:

  1. Replace all suspension and body rubber parts. I have some already.
  2. Replace/rebuild the steering system. It all works and isn't overly sloppy but just tighten everything up.
  3. A/C
  4. LED lighting
  5. Install a 348. I already have the engine but have to tear it down and rebuild it.
  6. Install a 4 speed Super T10 floor shift.
  7. Have the few minor rust spots fixed and the paint blended in. I actually like the color it is now, it's unique at car shows.
  8. Recondition/replace all of the chromed items.
  9. Air suspension to maintain the great ride and stock ride height and let it sit lower while parked.

I'm sure I'm missing some information. Below are the couple pics I have handy and a link to a youtube video of the car. I'm a father of 3 young children so the "want to do" items are mostly pretty far down the road, the priorities right now are keeping it safe and drivable, no major projects that will keep it off the road for years.

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29932




 

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Really cool car you got there. Glad to see you're putting so much love into fixin' it up and making it a road warrior again!
 

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Way cool car. I'm fairly familiar with them --> my nephew has a 1961 Bel Air 2 door sedan that I helped resto-mod. And yes, this body style in Impala trim is unusual. I have seen a few of them.
 
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Last year for the Impala in a 2-Dr Sedan.

Actually the only year in a 2-Dr Sedan !!

Interesting cars indeed.
 
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To add a little extra, they made an Impala 2-Dr Sedan as mentioned and you could also get a Bel-Air in a 2-Dr Hardtop in '61.
 

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This is simply a 'process' suggestion:

Prioritize your 'to do' list. Not 1,2,3,...; but in categories. Something like:

Cat 1: can't drive without fixing
Cat 2: drivable but very irratating; reduced confidence in drivability
Cat 3: drivable but can wait
Cat 4: routine maintenance
Cat 5: nice to have
Cat 6: thinking about

Or those of your own choosing/definition. Keep the list a 'living' document that you add/subtract items as required.

Spend money/time on the higher priority items first. BUT, be economical, if your are 'fixing' a Cat 1 item in the suspension, and there is a lower priority suspension item;'fix' them at the same time (while the suspension is apart).

Mostly just common sense.

Another opinion:

Looks like your are not restoring for total originality. If so, nix the 348. A small block 350, or better yet a '383', is likely less expensive, more reliable, and a much better performer than a 348. I would avoid the risk of finding a suitable 348 block for rebuilding.

Just food for thought.

Pete
 

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1961 Impala 2 Door Sedan
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Really cool car you got there. Glad to see you're putting so much love into fixin' it up and making it a road warrior again!
Thanks!

Way cool car. I'm fairly familiar with them --> my nephew has a 1961 Bel Air 2 door sedan that I helped resto-mod. And yes, this body style in Impala trim is unusual. I have seen a few of them.
Thanks! I won't say it's the best looking Impala but it's definitely distinctive!

Last year for the Impala in a 2-Dr Sedan.

Actually the only year in a 2-Dr Sedan !!

Interesting cars indeed.
That's what I have come to understand, the only year.

To add a little extra, they made an Impala 2-Dr Sedan as mentioned and you could also get a Bel-Air in a 2-Dr Hardtop in '61.
Neat, I did not know that about the Bel Air. Chevy was doing all sorts of body style shuffling that year!

This is simply a 'process' suggestion:

Prioritize your 'to do' list. Not 1,2,3,...; but in categories. Something like:

Cat 1: can't drive without fixing
Cat 2: drivable but very irratating; reduced confidence in drivability
Cat 3: drivable but can wait
Cat 4: routine maintenance
Cat 5: nice to have
Cat 6: thinking about

Or those of your own choosing/definition. Keep the list a 'living' document that you add/subtract items as required.

Spend money/time on the higher priority items first. BUT, be economical, if your are 'fixing' a Cat 1 item in the suspension, and there is a lower priority suspension item;'fix' them at the same time (while the suspension is apart).

Mostly just common sense.

Another opinion:

Looks like your are not restoring for total originality. If so, nix the 348. A small block 350, or better yet a '383', is likely less expensive, more reliable, and a much better performer than a 348. I would avoid the risk of finding a suitable 348 block for rebuilding.

Just food for thought.

Pete
Appreciate the feedback! Some of what you said I've already been implementing, others I can add to the process.

Regarding the 348, I have one already sitting in my parents' barn. I plan on stripping it down and sending it to a machine shop to see if it's worth building. I think the look of the W motors is really cool and I like that it's a period correct engine, and that when I go to a car show I'll likely be one of one or a handful of people with a W motor. I like having something different, kind of like the one year only 2 door sedan and the color, it makes the car more popular and after seeing a sea of Camaros and Mustangs people tend to take in my car a little bit longer.

But yes, if I run into any problems I'll be doing a mild 350 or 383 build, I'm looking for reliability, drivability and sound more than outright performance. I might consider an LS 5.3 or something similar as well, I've done tuning on modern vehicle and am not afraid of the wiring or tuning aspects.
 
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