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Any early 60's Impala guys out there ?


30DodgePanel
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Thinking of purchasing a 61 Impala Bubble Top I found recently but need help decoding it first and to see if anyone could tell me if the engine that is currently in it is correct for this time period. I realize to verify I will need engine numbers and more info but I just wanted to see if it's "time period correct" first. It doesn't look right to me but I wouldn't know because I've never studied these Impalas before. Any help is appreciated

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Looks like a 348/409 to me, which should be correct. Matching numbers isn't possible to know on these cars, and without a build sheet, there's no way to know what engine came in there, but at least that one appears to be what it might have had in 1961. I wouldn't worry about it too much, as these cars' values aren't typically predicated on "matching numbers." As long as it is the correct type of engine that it could have had, values are pretty consistent.

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If I recall correctly, the "1837" body would indicate a V-8 2-dr. If it were "1737" it would have been a 6 cylinder. That being said, it is more likely to be the more common 348 version. To help verify the originality, the engine build date would need to be a month or so before the car build date.

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Where do I find the build sheet on these in the glove box, behind seat springs ???? No emblem or badges on the front quarter but the rear has Impala with 2 checkered flags and I don't recall seeing any numbers by the flags.

No more teases... this is what we are talking about.

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How about the paint code, is that light blue color on the car original I wonder ?

Here are some interior shots as well. Looks mostly complete but obviously will need gutted and done right. Build sheet should tell me if white was original. My Chevy trucks I've owned over the years all had the build sheet on the glove box door inside. A 66 SWB had one behind the seat but I have no idea about Impala's and I didn't think to look yesterday as it was the end of the day and I was fried to a crisp from being in the sun to long or I would have remembered to check. Just wasn't thinking..

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EDIT:

Guys, feel free to critique parts missing or incorrect and throw $ values at me. I have a starting offer and top dollar in mind but would like to get ideas. Not for debate but just opinions respectfully.

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Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)
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The build sheet was for the line guy to know what options the car is getting. Technically they were supposed to be thrown away, but often just crammed in the car somewhere. Under seat springs are common area's, or jammed in trunk area, or even on the gas tank. A build sheet on that car indicating a 409 would be quite a find. Super nice car, though. Folks here in Ohio go nuts over "desert find" patina!

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In addition to what Jetstar says (which is correct), believe the V emblem means V8, and at least in 1960, the crossed-flag emblems meant a 348 (the 283 would only get the V emblem, no flags). For '61, you had the 409 added to the mix, so I don't know if that shorthand was still valid and obviously badges are pretty easy to change. I'm inclined to think it's a 348, which would be a correct engine for this car.

You probably won't find a build sheet, which I believe was on top of the gas tank, but it never hurts to look. There were no other indicators on the car as to what engine it had beyond a V8. In my professional opinion, unless it's a real-deal 409 car with a build sheet, what specific V8 engine came in it doesn't make much difference in value, now or when it's restored. Don't sweat it, it's got a correct engine but there's probably no way to verify what it was originally.

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There are some visible differences in the 348-409. I think it has to do with the dipstick location. I am not a GM guy but I think someone explained that to me once. You need to get to a Chevrolet expert, should be easy for those guys.

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There are some visible differences in the 348-409. I think it has to do with the dipstick location. I am not a GM guy but I think someone explained that to me once. You need to get to a Chevrolet expert, should be easy for those guys.

Or that, lol! If that is the dipstick tube I see on the driver side, 348.

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Thanks for that link Hartley.

If I'm reading it right it looks like the original colors would have been a two tone scheme 8259 Ermine White with DDL 12396 Twilight Turquoise according to this http://www.xframechevy.com/1961/1961-chevrolet-paint-chips/attachment/1961-paint-chips/

EDIT: So the top and interior would have been white and the body a light blue with red strip in the molding. Nice combo, I can dig it !

Great start guys, thanks for all the input !

I'll be sure and get Vin info off of the door strike on my next trip. Better take some thick plywood, jack stands and a couple of floor jacks too..... if I do find a build car on the gas tank I'll be very surprised.

Here's a photo of the drivers rear quarter that shows the flags much better.

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Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)
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Or that, lol! If that is the dipstick tube I see on the driver side, 348.
Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought the dipstick goes though the side of the pan on both the 348 and 409. The 348 on the drivers side, and the 409 on the passenger, and that both pans are interchangeable.
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Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought the dipstick goes though the side of the pan on both the 348 and 409. The 348 on the drivers side, and the 409 on the passenger, and that both pans are interchangeable.

You are absolutely correct, but I honestly have no idea what, or why, as for the reason. I'm sure more than one person has probably bought one based on the dipstick location, only to find out later they were "had". In this case I wouldn't think it would make much sense to try to deceive someone into thinking it was a 348.

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30Dodge........those cars are REAL hot right now....... :eek:

A friend, who I visited just yesterday for some better arm rests for my '59 Chev, has been going through a bunch of '50's-60's Chevs.

If you wind up needing any parts I suggest you call him......good guy.......VERY organized and he won't rob you....... :)

>>> http://www.trclassicsllc.com

His ebay store >>> http://stores.ebay.com/TR-Classics-LLC?_rdc=1

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Been watching this one. Need all stamped numbers on engine block pad. Need casting numbers on back of block on raised area where bell housing bolts on. The number needed favors drivers side of block and can be gotten with a mirror and good light. This will be tough due to the power brake booster but can be done. Also would like a few other photos. Exhaust manifolds as bolted to block. Check if iron cased power glide or is turbo glide. Photos of drivers fender well above A frame. Photo of firewall in area of tunnel but including top lip. Photo of heater box area and heater hoses. Photo of body tag attached drivers door. Interesting a one piece front bumper that might be straight.

i believe the current engine is a 348 250 hp. Would love a photo of head casting number but must remove valve cover. I am assuming the intake is cast iron?

Robert

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Another item needed is detailed photo of passenger A frame and adjacent area

Robert

10-4 on all of the above.

I totally understand, there are a lot of questions and angles that can only be seen as you've described.

My 68 C20 was advertised as 327 original engine but once I got back in there and did what you said I found it's actually a Vette engine. Oh well, it is what it is and I can't complain for $800.

I really thought I knew something about the Chevy brand but the learning curve is expanding....

I just don't know how he's gonna feel about me removing one of the valve covers LOL. This could get interesting...

Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)
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30Dodge........those cars are REAL hot right now....... :eek:

LOL ,, yes I know... he's already balking at selling it to me as we are dealing today. This may be a real venture just coaxing him.

As you can see, they have many "projects" but that is where I hope to close the deal. That Impala has probably been sinking in that sand for 20 plus years now (in that "dry river bed"), so hopefully I can talk him into giving up the ghost.;)

Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)
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I doubt the car has a 409 - it was built in the last week of October 1960, before the 409 was introduced. The "10D" on the firewall data plate indicates the build week. The data plate also indicates the car was built with the light and medium blue interior (841) and was painted ermine white over jewel blue (959C). The hood and trunk emblems indicated the engine type on the 1961 cars, the car pictured has the small block emblems. All Impalas that year had the crossed flags on the quarter panel emblems. Crossed flags on the hood and trunk emblems indicate a big block cars. This car was assembled in Van Nuys, California. The EZI in the Acc. section indicates that the car came with the tinted windshield. From the pictures you posted, it looks like it has a powerglide. Engine numbers on V8s are stamped on a pad on the front right hand side of the cylinder block. Powerglide serial numbers are located on the rear flange of the governor cover. Turboglide serial numbers are on the bottom boss of the lower right rear of the transmission. Please PM me if you need more information, I own two 1961 Chevrolets and have an extensive factory literature collection. Also, you may want to join our new Space Age Chevrolet non-geographic region, which covers 1955 and up AACA eligible Chevrolets. We have some very knowledgeable members. Good luck with the car.

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I doubt the car has a 409 - it was built in the last week of October 1960, before the 409 was introduced. The "10D" on the firewall data plate indicates the build week. The data plate also indicates the car was built with the light and medium blue interior (841) and was painted ermine white over jewel blue (959C). The hood and trunk emblems indicated the engine type on the 1961 cars, the car pictured has the small block emblems. All Impalas that year had the crossed flags on the quarter panel emblems. Crossed flags on the hood and trunk emblems indicate a big block cars. This car was assembled in Van Nuys, California. The EZI in the Acc. section indicates that the car came with the tinted windshield. From the pictures you posted, it looks like it has a powerglide. Engine numbers on V8s are stamped on a pad on the front right hand side of the cylinder block. Powerglide serial numbers are located on the rear flange of the governor cover. Turboglide serial numbers are on the bottom boss of the lower right rear of the transmission. Please PM me if you need more information, I own two 1961 Chevrolets and have an extensive factory literature collection. Also, you may want to join our new Space Age Chevrolet non-geographic region, which covers 1955 and up AACA eligible Chevrolets. We have some very knowledgeable members. Good luck with the car.

Hey thanks for the invitation and information. As you might guess this is just in the preliminary stages of negotiation right now but I will definitely keep this on file. Kind of a bummer as it's leading to the 348 but as Matt and others suggested earlier it's still a solid car and find. Can't wait to dig deeper after reading all of this...

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There are some visible differences in the 348-409. I think it has to do with the dipstick location. I am not a GM guy but I think someone explained that to me once. You need to get to a Chevrolet expert, should be easy for those guys.

I know it may sound silly to some but I wanted to bring it here first in hopes of getting some "hidden" answers. If I go to the "Chevy Experts" then all hell will break loose and I can just imagine the offers that will come out of the woodwork trying to undercut me. Thanks Jack, but no thanks if you know what I mean and I think you do....

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I know it may sound silly to some but I wanted to bring it here first in hopes of getting some "hidden" answers. If I go to the "Chevy Experts" then all hell will break loose and I can just imagine the offers that will come out of the woodwork trying to undercut me. Thanks Jack, but no thanks if you know what I mean and I think you do....

I understand, maybe Just don't tell them to much about it and you should be OK.

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Guest marlin65

The red painted area on the side spear is throwing me,I rather doubt it was factory. you should also think about joining Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Ed in Florida

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The data plate also indicates the car was built with the light and medium blue interior (841) and was painted ermine white over jewel blue (959C). The hood and trunk emblems indicated the engine type on the 1961 cars, the car pictured has the small block emblems. All Impalas that year had the crossed flags on the quarter panel emblems. Crossed flags on the hood and trunk emblems indicate a big block cars. This car was assembled in Van Nuys, California..

I like that color combo better than the Turquoise, thanks for correcting me on that.

So you're saying possibly a 283 or 327 car that someone drop a 348 into ? That changes things dramatically... 327 is still a great engine and can be found pretty easily still. If it's a 283 I may just pass on it regardless.

Good to know that it was assembled out west and hopefully spent most of it's life out here. Some rust is evident but it's not near as bad as back east vehicles.

Guys start throwing me figures at me, I just want to get an idea if I'm anywhere close. I haven't studied these at all and I want to see how realistic my thinking is before we get serious. The small block dropped it about 5 G's in my book. Am I correct in that assumption ?

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Guest Skyking

So you're saying possibly a 283 or 327 car that someone drop a 348 into ? That changes things dramatically... 327 is still a great engine and can be found pretty easily still. If it's a 283 I may just pass on it regardless.

Chevy didn't offer a 327 in 1961, only 283, 348 and rare 409's, and of course 6 cylinders. 327's came a year later.

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Guys start throwing me figures at me, I just want to get an idea if I'm anywhere close. I haven't studied these at all and I want to see how realistic my thinking is before we get serious. The small block dropped it about 5 G's in my book. Am I correct in that assumption ?

Just for fun, I'll take an amateur stab at this. I would guess about 2k to dip/strip/media blast. About 15k for a 409 engine/trans with all the right carbs and such, 5k on the chassis rebuild, maybe 5k on the interior and inside trim, 1k on the wiring, 25k for metal/body/paint (if comes back clean and nice from stripping), about 7k on the chrome and stainless (decent quality?), maybe 5k for misc.(glass, weather-strip, decals, unforeseen stuff), and...hmnn..what else? Oh yeah, 4k for the car. That would put my guess at about 60k to 70k to put the car where I think you want it. The lack of documentation and trim tag hurt a little bit, but I think you would have a solid 40k car. That being said, I think it would be safe to say there wouldn't be a much more than a 30k net loss.

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Just for fun, I'll take an amateur stab at this. I would guess about 2k to dip/strip/media blast. About 15k for a 409 engine/trans with all the right carbs and such, 5k on the chassis rebuild, maybe 5k on the interior and inside trim, 1k on the wiring, 25k for metal/body/paint (if comes back clean and nice from stripping), about 7k on the chrome and stainless (decent quality?), maybe 5k for misc.(glass, weather-strip, decals, unforeseen stuff), and...hmnn..what else? Oh yeah, 4k for the car. That would put my guess at about 60k to 70k to put the car where I think you want it. The lack of documentation and trim tag hurt a little bit, but I think you would have a solid 40k car. That being said, I think it would be safe to say there wouldn't be a much more than a 30k net loss.

He still hasn't came back at me with a figure but I doubt $4k will buy the car. Your targets are very realistic in my opinion... but I really think the net loss damage could be worse (if converting to the 409 package) as he's starting to seem very attached to it and I have a feeling he's coming back at me with $10k soon enough. Pretty good "amateur" stab ;) - price to purchase the car was really all I was after, thanks for the input.

As for my plans ? :

I don't even know where the ground floor is yet so I have no idea what my plans on it would be. Previously I've flipped cars that I was not attached to or to risky but never a bubble top.

I may just have to be a middle man once again if the risk/reward is that far off. I love bubble tops but I'm not married to them...

If it was an authentic 409 I was ready to dig in but obviously that's not the case here. In my opinion this car would be better suited in the Chevy Clubs with guys who can really appreciate it more for what it truly is. Personally I'd like to see it go back to all "time period correct" parts throughout regardless so lets hope we can find a price incase someone is looking for one of these. I sure hope it doesn't just rot out in the desert for another 20 years, I'd like to see it in the hands of a proud owner one day soon.

My plans are clear now that I've received these answers I'm strictly a middle man at this point in hopes of finding a new home. Still want to take more photos on my next trip and try to see if the build card is in place. Then if someone is interested and needs leg work I will be the eyes on the ground but that's as far as I'm gonna go with it.

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Guest Skyking

I think the trunk and grille badge give it away as far as being a 283. I don't think many people would have swapped out the flag emblems................

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I have been away for a few days 'and just noticed this thread. These cars are up my alley. As Tommy pointed out no A/C on the 409 cars in 61 or the special high perf 348's. The intake is cast iron with a Rochester 4GC so it is a 250 HP 348 (could be a 305HP but I doubt it) which was the popular/common combination of all the 348's Also looking at the fuel line routing it is hard to tell from the photos but on a all factory 348 or 283 w/dual exhaust the fuel line went under the upper control arm on the passenger side. I really can't see it. The only thing numbers from the engine ID pad will tell you is what transmission and if it had A/C or not. In 62 in passenger cars the last 6 of the VIN were on the 409's and 300HP 327's. Will coast a few dimes to get it back to life, I hate to say it but it might be easier and way cheaper to buy one done. Some of the parts for a 61 are hard to find if you can even find them at all, big $$$$$

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He still hasn't came back at me with a figure but I doubt $4k will buy the car. Your targets are very realistic in my opinion... but I really think the net loss damage could be worse (if converting to the 409 package) as he's starting to seem very attached to it and I have a feeling he's coming back at me with $10k soon enough.

While I had always liked those cars, and had a 62 a time or two, I'm sure not seeing 10k there, or even close to it. I'd be interested to know how it works out, I may be a little more out of touch than I thought, lol!

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While I had always liked those cars, and had a 62 a time or two, I'm sure not seeing 10k there, or even close to it. I'd be interested to know how it works out, I may be a little more out of touch than I thought, lol!

Agreed, $10K is absolutely nuts. I'll sell you my fully restored 1960 Impala hardtop with a 348 Tri-Power engine for $30K, so perhaps that'll put this one in perspective. I might be able to see a reach to $5000 for this particular car if it's clean and complete, but more than that is just a dream.

And again, don't get too hung up on what engine it had originally versus what's in it today. They're all worth about the same without documentation.

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That engine doesn't look to have enough pulleys for AC. The trunk emblem is 283. Six cylinder and 283 too barrel use a 5/16 fuel line. 348,409 and 283 four barrel use 3/8 inch line. This includes the tank sender unit. 348and 283 four barrel would have factory dual exhaust. A number of truck engines have been installed in cars. Who knows without the numbers?

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Got to love them AZ finds. That's where the old Merc of mine is from. Right in Tucson.

Dave I found a build sheet under my front seat and a prestine one behind the passenger door panel. :cool:

Thanks LC,

Yep, you gotta love em... especially if they are sealed up or undercover. We do still get enough rain to do some damage (as you know) but if the windows are left up and the hoods & doors are left closed then they are usually solid enough to work with.

Here's another good example of that in an ole Rambler. Not my cup of tea but it's pretty dry for the most part. Minimal body work that's for sure...

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Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)
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