Car: Chevrolet Impala Super-Sport Sports Coupe
What makes it special: In 1961, the Impala SS, or Super Sport was introduced to the market. The SS badge was to become Chevrolet’s signature of performance on many models, though it often has been an appearance package only. The Impala’s factory SS package in 1961 was truly a performance package when so equipped from the factory with both the trim and “mandatory” suspension and engine upgrades, beginning with the 348 cu in V8 engines available with 305 hp, 340 hp, and 350 hp or the new 409 cu in V8, which was available with up to 425 hp. Unlike all other years, the 1961 Super Sport package was available on any Impala, including sedans and station wagons. In addition to the factory-installed SS package, Chevrolet dealers could add SS trim to any standard Impala without the “mandatory” performance upgrades.
What made it famous: The Super Sport was known as Regular Production Option (RPO) Z03, from 1962 to 1963, and again in 1968. Starting for the 1962 model year, the Impala SS was an appearance package limited to hardtop coupe and convertible coupe models, available with all engines in the Impala series starting with the base 235 cu in, 135 hp inline-6, though the big-block engines and heavy-duty parts could still be ordered. The small-block 283 was offered with a 2-barrel carburetor. The 283 was also enlarged to 327-cubic-inch, offered in two versions, one with 250 bhp and one with 300 bhp, which added more engine choices for small-block fans. Due to reliability problems, the optional Turboglide automatic transmission was discontinued, leaving Powerglide the only automatic transmission available until 1965. Super Sports from 1962 to 1964 came with engine-turned aluminum trim, which was replaced by a “blackout” trim strip in 1965 which ran under the taillights.
Why I would want one: Of the Impala years, the pre-65’s were my favorite.
Fun fact: The Beach Boys produced a hit single, “409“, referring to the Chevrolet, which became an iconic song for these cars.
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