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1961: Where It All Began

The Original Classics...

1961 was the first year for the Impala SS. In fact it was the first production Chevrolet "Super Sport" of any kind! In '61 Chevrolet released factory built Impala SS's with a new 409" engine, special reinforced frame, heavy duty suspension, brakes, cooling, a grab handle on the dash for the frightened ( & rightfully so) passenger, Unique "SS" and "Super Sport" emblems & sport wheel covers were also included. The Super Sport option was destined to become popular & was also available with out the 409. A few savvy Chevy dealers were known to have installed SS hub Caps, 1/4 panel emblems, & the passenger side dash grab handle on non"SS" impala's to make up the buyer demand. The dealers drilled into the dash to mount the grab handle vs. the factory stamping & today this along with the reinforced frame help identify "the real thing". The "real" factory produced 409 models are highly sought after today & are very limited in quantity.

1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 !!!

Awesome 409 power !!!
The car pictured above seems quite innocent on display at the car show, but all that changes when the high compression big block roars to life. Combine these wicked 360HP 409's, with a 4 speed transmission, available 4.11 gears (3.36 standard) with positraction and a wide open road & you have the stuff great American Legends (and songs) were made of. In 1961 409 powered cars started tearing up race tracks of all kinds across the country & frequently finding thier way to the Winners Circle. The 409 eventually "evolved" into the famous racing "427 Mystery Motor" we'll cover in the 1963 chapter, before being replaced very early in the 1965 model year.

Above: 61 409 with a modified 3x2 set up from a 348

Below: Cool 1961 Drag Car. Just soak up the rear styling of these cars for a minute.

........................ This is the first installment of "1961 Impala SS : Where It All Began"