Introduced for the 1958 model year, the Chevrolet Impala remained in continuous production through 1985. And then returned from 1994 to 1996 and again from 1999 to 2020. That’s an impressive run of more than 50 years and ten different generations. No wonder the Impala is such an iconic automobile.
The nameplate is also among the most desirable classics. The late 1950s and early 1960s versions are particularly sought-after, but late 1960s and early 1970s examples are nothing to sneeze at either. I’m a fan of the big-finned cars of the second generation (1959-1960), but I also enjoy the “bubble top” Impalas of 1961 and 1962.
On the other hand, no roof layout beats the convertible in my book. Sure, it’s not quite as practical as a hardtop, and it’s more difficult to maintain, but early Impalas look darn sexy with a soft top rolled behind the seats. Drop-tops are also much rarer than other body styles.
And that’s precisely why I get excited whenever I see an early 1960s Impala convertible getting rescued after years of neglect. Just like YouTube’s “Iron City Garage” recently did with a 1962 ragtop.
Found in a backyard somewhere in New Jersey, this Impala spent a few decades off the road. There’s no info on when it was parked there, but it sure looks like it sat for at least a couple of decades. On the other hand, it’s been with the same owner for 40 years, so we might be looking at a restoration project he never got to finish and drive.
And I’m saying “restoration project” because he also had quite a few parts to go with the car. Some were removed from the Impala a while back, while some were purchased as replacements. I’m talking about trim pieces, lights, interior components, and even a fender. Yup, it’s one of those rigs the owner never restored.
But is this Impala worthy of a complete makeover? Well, it’s not one of those super-rare 1962 versions worth a ton of cash in Concours condition, but it’s a solid project. It’s not so far gone to be dismantled for parts, but it’s not the kind of classic you can restore and flip for a profit. It’s more of a labor-of-love type of thing that needs an Impala convertible fanatic.
It’s not one of those desirable SS models either, but it comes with a few interesting features. For starters, it’s a V8 car. Second, it sports the red interior everyone is crazy about. And even though it left the factory with a front bench seat, it now packs a pair of buckets from a 1963 Impala. That’s a cool upgrade, a pleasant surprise, and perhaps a good start to turn this drop-top into an SS clone.
So, how rare is this Impala? Well, it’s not exactly scarce since Chevrolet sold 75,719 convertibles in 1962. On the other hand, the drop-tops are notably rarer than other body styles. The company built 704,900 Impala that year, so cabriolet output was less than 11%.
Hopefully, this Impala is off to a new home and will find its way back on public roads soon.