Big Al's Featured Car's
1961 Impala
Owned by Bob Evans
Pictures by Big Al

I love Impalas. My first car when I was 16 in 1963 was a white 1959 Impala with a tri-power 348, three on the tree (which I converted to a Hurst floor shift), and posi-traction. It had a solid lifter cam, dual points, 11.25 to 1 compression and 335 horsepower. What a beast.

All through the 60’s I owned a number of big Chevy’s. A ’56 Bel Air, a ’58 Biscayne, and a white 1960 Impala. I had always loved the W motors and I especially loved the styling of the ’61 Impala. My ’61 Impala is exactly like a car I would have owned back then. It’s white with red interior, it has the 348, 4 speed on the floor, and a 3:36 posi-traction.

I bought the car in 1989. It had a 327 in it. I installed a 250 HP 348 and a T-10 4 speed and got the car in good running condition. It’s an original 348, 4 speed, posi-traction car from Phoenix AZ. After driving it a couple of summers I stored the car until I was able to restore it. The restoration began in 1999 and continued until 2005. Work was suspended from 2005 to 2009 (I built my new home) and it was finally finished by summers end 2009. I installed the interior in spring of 2010 and have been cruising all summer long. I logged almost a thousand miles in the summer of 2010, including cruises to Solon, Sheffield, Mentor, Eastlake and Middleburg Heights.

I really like the stock look so I have made very few modifications. The six red taillight treatment is like what I did to my ’60 Impala back in the day. I adapted the ’60 station wagon backup lights to the ’61 valence panels. The nostalgia stickers are reminiscent of the quarter window on my ’59 and I added the Sun tach (A Super Sport accessory).  I like the look of the full wheel covers, the correct whitewalls and the black accent stripe.

The motor was rebuilt .030 over by Fred Martin with parts from two motors. I found one in Virginia and one in Cleveland both through newspaper ads. This was before ebay so it was a real challenge to find 348 stuff in the late ‘80’s. Fred retired years ago but he had a little machine shop behind a parts store in Painesville. We took the best parts from each motor and Fred did a great job putting it together.

I have all the titles going back to 1974 when the car came to Ohio. It was owned by a variety of people in Lake and Geauga Counties including a used car dealer here in Painesville Ohio. The earliest title I have is from Phoenix Arizona. I tried by telephone to get the earlier titles through the Arizona DMV but with no luck.

This past winter I rebuilt the 4 speed, had the exhaust manifolds sand blasted and painted and put a 4 row radiator in it. It’s not a show car. I built it as a driver and look forward to many miles of cruising in my Impala.