Perfection Is What Happens When a 1960 Chevrolet Impala Is Saved From Neglect

1960 Chevrolet Impala 16 photos
Photo: Mecum
1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala1960 Chevrolet Impala
Few of the many car nameplates made over the past 100 years have such a grip on the American car lovers’ conscience as the Chevrolet Impala. Right from the get-go, it established itself as one of the sales leaders in the bowtie carmaker’s lineup, but also in the greater American car industry.
The Chevrolet Impala was born many decades ago, in 1957, as a full-size passenger car. It was wearing a name recycled from a show car Chevy showed a year earlier and, just like the African antelope it was named after, it had all the beauty cues needed to make people instantly fall in love with it. As it turned out, it also had the power to keep them infatuated for years to come.

In the decades that have passed since the first of this breed rolled off the assembly lines, there have been no less than ten Impala generations. The thing was in continuous production for a long time at first, from 1958 to 1985, when it was discontinued. It was then brought back in 1994, only to be pushed on the sidelines once again just two years later, for reasons that no longer matter. Believing the third time’s a charm, Chevrolet tried the recipe once more in 2000, and kept at it with minor hiccups until 2020, never able to recapture the appeal of the first few generations.

During all its time on the market, millions of Impalas hit the roads, bringing joy to their owners and delight in the eyes of passers-by. Because of human nature, as these cars aged, they also started to enter a state of neglect, even at the hands of the owners who once cherished them so much.

In many cases, these vehicles were left to rot in fields, barns, and anywhere you can imagine. Luckily, the love for the Impala is not dead even today, in a time when most of the people who were around back when these models were first made are just as gone. For some of these Impalas, this love translates into another shot at life, and in some cases, even stardom, in either restored or customized form.

1960 Chevrolet Impala
Photo: Mecum
And what better example of a beautiful outcome, a happy ending, if you will, for such a beautiful car than the 1960 example we have here? It’s one of the cars going under the Mecum hammer in the first month of spring in Glendale, Arizona. It’s listed as one of the stars of the event, and it’ll probably go with a reserve (details on that are not public).

Sadly, we don’t know the exact story of this particular Impala, but it's safe to say it didn't always use to look like this. We do know it was made in 1960, and that makes it an example of the bloodline’s second generation, which ran from 1959 to 1960. This particular lineage came in five body variants and had a choice of three engines under the hood. Customers got the 235ci Blue Flame inline-six, the 283ci Turbo Fire V8, or the 348ci Turbo Thrust V8.

We don’t know what engine this one originally had in there, but it definitely was not the one that powers it now. That would be a Chevrolet LS3 small-block one usually gets in the fifth-generation Camaro or the sixth-generation Corvette, but also as an aftermarket engine in many of the custom builds now doing the rounds on the open market.

In this application, the 376ci is tied to a factory-matched 4L60E automatic transmission and develops 430 horsepower, which is the exact number this engine comes with right out of the Chevrolet crate. The thing shows just 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of use since being fitted in there, which basically makes it brand new.

1960 Chevrolet Impala
Photo: Mecum
Visually, the Impala is nothing short of perfect. Dressed in white all over, wearing all the proper chrome jewelry (on the fenders, wheels, and various other trim elements), and with tinted glass wrapping around the cabin, it feels like a visual time machine, properly equipped to send the onlooker back to what may have been simpler times. Add to that all those pointy, elongated bits of bodywork, especially at the rear, and you have yourself an instant throwback to the space age.

The car’s interior is equally appealing, with teal generously used on everything, from the seats to the dashboard and carpeting. Don’t let the vintage look fool you, there are plenty of modern amenities in there, starting with the Dakota Digital dashboard and ending with the AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth. Oh, and it has air conditioning, too.

Sitting low to the ground thanks to some suspension changes, the Impala looks simply stunning and, more importantly, the Swinging Sixties vibes are all there, and just right. It kind of makes you wish all Impalas end up like this, and not eaten away by rust and the passage of time.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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