Auctions and Brokerage
The 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS is widely considered to be among the first true American muscle cars. Its newly available 409 cubic inch V-8 was a revelation and made Impalas popular with drag racers and performance enthusiasts.
In 1993, noted collector and restorer Don Walter purchased a Fawn Beige 1961 Impala SS Sport Coupe from John Helpenstell of Port Angeles, Washington. Bought as a complete car without an engine, the Impala was eventually deemed too corroded to be a practical candidate for the high-end restoration that Walter had planned. Another Impala coupe was sourced with a rust-free bodyshell, which, along with the specific SS cowl tag and trim, was used for the restoration. A 409 engine, showing the correct 1961 block casting code of 3795623, was sourced for the project and rebuilt. Walter had been collecting NOS parts for many years, and this car was the recipient of the treasure trove that he had accumulated. Walter considered this Impala his crowning achievement as a restorer and he sought to execute every detail as close to perfect as possible. Photographs and videos of the restoration are on file.
The Impala was sold to well-known collector Verne Howell of Portland, Oregon. Howell showed the Impala at the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance before selling it to his friend Wally Lewis in 2011. Later that year, the consignor purchased the Impala from Lewis’ estate and has kept it in his climate-controlled collection since. Despite its restoration being at least 13 years old, the Impala shows incredibly well, a clear testament to its careful storage. While the car currently runs and drives, it should be inspected and mechanically serviced before road use.
Available for the first time in 10 years, this Impala represents a quality example of a rare model. Its new owner will undoubtedly appreciate its beautiful specifications and loving presentation.