In 1958, General Motors made the decision to reintroduce Chevrolet to the automobile world by revealing a brand that had surprised the industry the previous year. In 1956, the American automaker unveiled the Impala concept. Nevertheless, the business expedited the development of the production model in response to the early criticism, and the car was introduced to the public in 1958.
Chevrolet wanted to make sure that the launch of its future star went as smoothly as possible, so the top-of-the-line Bel Air version of the Impala made its debut. The car’s sudden popularity was tangible evidence that General Motors needed to move fast to establish this new brand as a money-making machine.
Impala became a stand-alone series a year later. Still, despite embracing a separate path from the Bel Air, eventually turning it into a second-class citizen of Chevy’s lineup, the two continued to share most engines and parts. Every new year brought further additions and refinements to the Impala lineup, and the 1962 release made no exception.
Chevrolet redesigned the grille but kept the quad-headlight design. The most notable change this year was the introduction of the convertible-style roof, which made the Impala look like it always had a convertible top (despite having it only on convertible models).
The Impala is a great way to admire the 1962 Impala in all its glory. Unfortunately, its shape pushes the car closer to a rust bucket condition rather than a restorable model, almost turning it into a relic you won’t see around for too long.
The rough body usually means the automobile has been parked for many years. The body rust supports this theory because abandoned Impalas are not uncommon, but it’s definitely reasonable to assume that the automobile has been sleeping under a clear sky due to its tough body. Because some of the rust has already penetrated, considerable bodywork would be required to restore this Impala. I doubt this Impala can survive without substantial metal works, and even though I usually love a wonderful patina on a historic car, the paint is probably original.
The undersides aren’t exposed in these photos, but they’re probably wrecked. The rust usually invades the floors and the trunk, and, considering it has already drilled holes in the body, I can’t expect any good news on this front. The sellers claim the “body and floors are pretty rusty,” but on the other hand, they couldn’t open the trunk, likely as it’s locked. The keys are missing.
While the body and the interior are wrecked, let’s see what happens under the hood.
The 1962 Impala launched with major changes versus its predecessor. The base unit was the same as in 1961, so you could still order the car with a 235 six-cylinder and a 283 two-barrel developing 170 horsepower. Chevrolet dropped the four-barrel 283 and introduced an all-new 327, which later became a common choice on the Impala.
The 327 was available with 250 and 300 horsepower – both used four-barrel carburetors, but the more powerful version sported a Carter unit with larger valves and redesigned exhaust manifolds.
The GM brand also dropped the famous 348 that’s been around for so many years. The big-block unit offered on the 1962 Impala was the 409, this time with two power options. The single four-barrel carburetor configuration produced 380 horsepower, while the upgraded dual four-barrel unit was rated at 409 horsepower.
This abandoned Impala features a V8, but behind the hood, there’s nothing but bad news. The sellers claim that because the car has been sitting for too long, the engine has already seized. It may be possible to save the engine, but before making a purchase, a competent technician should examine it to assess the likelihood of getting this V8 working.
As an Impala enthusiast, I’m really sorry to see another 1962 model go out of production, however this Impala clarifies the vehicle should be used as a donor. These types of cars are more difficult to locate, particularly with the original engine and gearbox, but this hardtop was completely destroyed by rust and mechanical problems.
Based on the photos, it’s hard to tell how much of this Impala can be used on another project, but the taillights are all there, the dashboard looks good, and the tags are still in place. You’re not getting the seats, the door panels, and everything else missing in the photos.