The 1961–64 Chevy Impala still has youth appeal
The Chevrolet Impala changed up its style each year from 1961–64, and while it may have “gone out of style” in some circles, it’s nevertheless gaining interest among young collectors.
The “Bubbletop” Impala of 1961 offered an open greenhouse with thin C-pillars and a 409-cubic-inch engine that inspired the Beach Boys to revel in its dual-quad majesty. It would prove a tough act to follow, yet the 1962 model debuted with a crisp roofline that mimicked a taut convertible top and looked far more modern. Slight sheet metal tweaks and chrome trim variations came in ’63, creating a handsome package, but in 1964 everything came together. That model remains a highlight of early ’60s design and is still the archetypal canvas for lowriders.
Our latest Hagerty Vehicle Rating has the 1961–64 Impala lagging a bit behind the rest of the hottest collector cars on the market (with a score of 31), but things are still looking up for the model as younger collectors discover the long, low cruisers.
The Hagerty Vehicle Rating (0–100) takes into account the number of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results. Vehicles that are in line with the current market are in the middle and receive an HVR of 50. Those outperforming the market get a higher score, while those lagging behind get a score below 50.
Millennials are getting quotes on the more affordable 1961-64 Impalas, with the past 12 months of insurance quotes showing an average value of $28,760. Older customers tend to favor the rarer and more expensive variants, so we aren’t surprised that those quoted by pre-Baby-Boomers carry an average value of $35,600. The only new trend in quoting values is that Gen-Xers have recently pulled away from Baby-Boomers and have the second-highest quoting average at $33,618.
Comparing the interest in Impala to Ford’s Galaxie (a contemporary full-size classic), younger buyers are much more interested in the Bow Tie than the Blue Oval. Gen-Xers and Millennials make up 61.5 percent of Impala quotes but only 40.5 percent of Galaxie quotes. We suppose that’s considered youthful by car collector standards, although Millenials are old enough to have kids with a driver’s license. That sustained interest has kept prices moving, as Impala values have been on a consistent rise, increasing 11.5 percent over the last two years. Meanwhile, Galaxie values have increased only 2.25 percent.
The most expensive Impala is the 1963 Z11 lightweight with 427/430-hp engine, which has an average #2 (Excellent) value of $367,000. The 427-cu-in “W-series” engine doesn’t have much in common with the splayed-valve big-blocks we’d see beginning in 1965, other than its bore spacing. The Z11 didn’t even come to its famous 427 displacement by the same bore and stroke combination as the later big-block; instead it uses the 409’s massive 4.3125-inch bore and a 3.65-inch stroke.
If a more manageable Impala is your style, a 230-hp, 283-cu-in 1961 Impala is about 1/10th the price and still looks great from any angle.