Whether you’re into hot rod, classic, or muscle car restoration, chances are you’re probably a fan of the Impala. And rightly so. How could any self proclaimed ‘car junkie’ not be excited about the car that many experts labeled “the original muscle car”?!
1961 was the fourth production year for the Impala. By this time it was already a staple for Chevy. However, what made this version a standout was the introduction of the SS (Super Sport) optional upgrade package. This really set the tone for the future of performance minded manufacturing that lead to the entire ‘muscle car’ craze. It was so revolutionary, in fact, that the Beach Boys were inspired to write a song about it called ‘409’!
For a measly $53 you could up the ante on your ’61 Impala and get the SS upgrade. This came with, among other things, ‘super sport’ trim on the in and outside, a stronger chassis, a padded instrument panel, and the slick ‘narrow band’ white walled tires that Chevy was famous for.
There were also some beefy engine upgrades offered, the best of which was the legendary 409. It was unparalleled at the time, kicking out 360 horsepower and 409 pounds of torque in chassis dyno testing!
Unfortunately for auto restoration buffs, there were only 142 of these iconic 409 SS Impalas produced, which makes finding one at your local junkyard a pretty big long shot.
in ’61 the asking price for the SS model was around $3,000. Today, we’ve seen fully restored 409’s asking all the way up to $200,000 online! Talk about a good return on investment!