This 4×4 Impala is the classic family truck/car we didn’t know we needed
Sometimes you only know what you have when it’s gone. This 1961 Impala 4×4 was bid to $8500 on eBay before the auction ended without the reserve being met. We’re not saying anyone on the Hagerty staff was making room for the car/truck hybrid in our garage, but now that we know it’s no longer for sale, we’re all just a little let down.
The 1977 Chevrolet K10 chassis used for this frame swap came from the factory with a 117.5-inch wheelbase, just 1.5 inches shorter than the Chevrolet B-body chassis that underpinned the 1961 Impala. Close enough, we suppose. The car certainly looks like it fits on the truck frame, and the creation absolutely looks like it belongs out in the snow. The leaf springs that it now rides on in lieu of its factory coil-spring suspension appear to be in good shape. The paint bubbling on the lip of the rear wheel opening is cause for concern.
We’re not sure what this Impala was up to in its former life when it had its original chassis, although it seems to have avoided a lot of harsh winters and salty roads by the looks of the fully intact rocker panels and shots of the interior that show lower door sills that look to be in fantastic shape. According to the seller, the 4×4 conversion was done in 1996, meaning that it’s spent just less than half of its existence as a 4×4.
This truck/car hybrid (trar? cruck?) is powered by the 400 small-block and Turbo 400 transmission from the ’77 K10 and looks to be riding on 33- or perhaps 35-inch-tall BF Goodrich tires. Either way, that should give the Impala plenty of ground clearance to tackle fire roads and bumpy trails and, knowing the size of the trunk in those early 60s Impalas, haul a lot of gear while doing so. We’re not sure it’s exactly the “ultimate SUV” as noted in the eBay auction, it would certainly prove to be an interesting getaway vehicle for a weekend camping trip. If this were a wagon, maybe we’d reconsider that title.
If you have ever dreamed up a 4×4 frame swap with a vintage or modern car, what would you choose as the donor and recipient? We have a couple in mind, let’s see if we’re not alone.