1961 Chevrolet Bel Air Emerges From a Junkyard, Impala Alternative Wannabe

1961 Chevy Bel Air 15 photos
Photo: Craigslist
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We all know how the Bel Air gave birth to the Impala and eventually became only the backup plan for full-size Chevy buyers, but nobody can deny that it continued to be a very intriguing presence in the American car space.
The Bel Air was still a potent choice in the full-size world, sharing many parts, engines, and styling with the Impala.

However, the difference between the Bel Air and the Impala increased significantly in the early '60s when the latter's sales skyrocketed. In 1960, the Impala became the best-selling car in the United States, while in 1961, Chevrolet launched the Super Sport, turning its full-size superstar into the right model for everybody. The car now had a wide range of engines, starting with six-cylinder mills and ending with more powerful V8s that fit the SS like a glove.

A 1961 Bel Air landed on Craigslist not long ago with an ambitious goal but a condition that could make many buyers walk away. The car looks like it's been sitting in a junkyard, and God knows how long it's been sleeping under the clear sky, albeit the photos suggest you should expect a very rough restoration project in all departments.

The metal looks rough, and I can easily spot several holes in the floors. It's safe to assume the undercarriage needs everything, aligning with the metal's overall shape.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to determine that the car is no longer complete, and the owner explains on Craigslist that what you see is what you get, with no extras available. The Bel Air has likely served as a donor for another project, so it lost the engine and the transmission, one door, and much of the interior.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this Bel Air selling as a parts car, especially as the restoration work isn't aimed at the faint of heart. The Bel Air is a challenging project in all regards, albeit the lack of an engine and transmission isn't necessarily a reason to walk away. Some buyers might attempt to build an Impala clone, so installing the top V8 on the 1961 model year could be a good starting point.

The rough shape doesn't allow the Bel Air to sell for big bucks, so the owner expects to get only $1,400 for the car. It means this Bel Air could be yours for the price of a new iPhone, though you'll spend much more money on getting the car ready for the road. An all-original Bel Air could sell for about $50,000 in a decent shape, but you might be able to build a decent daily driver for about $10K.

You can find this Bel Air close to Springfield, and you'll need a trailer to take it home.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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