50+ years later and The 1961-64 Impala (and the Full Sized Chevrolet cars in general) loom large in the collector car field. There’s a number of factors at hand that make them so omnipresent so many years later.They’re also a staple of low rider customization. Plentiful examples, plentiful parts and the aspirational nature of the top-tier Standard Chevrolet made it a badge of honor for many consumers of all backgrounds.
Nothing says “I’ve made it” more than having 3 Tail-lamps, right? The SS (Super Sport) package was birthed in 1961 for the full Impala line. You could technically order the heavy duty package on 4 door Sedans, Hard Tops and Wagons (although doubtfully few actually did). The sales brochure for 1961 shows a 4 Door Hardtop Sedan outfitted with such trim options. Underneath the skin, the first year limited the scope to the 348 and above V8 engines and mandatory Suspension upgrades. 1962 bought limiting of body styles, but the ability to secure the package with the 235 Cube Inline Six. Nothing says fire breathing performance like a 135 horsepower “Blue Flame” Six. If you wanted something a bit more fire-breathing, there was a host of Small Block and Big Block V8s for Chevrolet customers to choose from. Gone for good was the Turboglide Automatic. If you wanted something more than the 1-2 punch of a Powerglide, you’d have to wait until 1965. Even then you still had to pony up enough cash to get a 396 V8 as well.
1962 represented toddler years for the Impala SS. For 1964 the SS package would become its own distinct model, a status it would enjoy through 1967. However 1964 represented the year that there was a profound shift away from Full Sized Bucket Seat Bombs being the focus of American brands performance images.
The big engines in smaller intermediate cars lead the charge of the Muscle Car era. Within 3 seasons the mighty Super Sport would return to being a mere option package before disappearing into the ether that was the 1970s. For many, nothing was more special than the Super Sport. To this day, many hold dear what once was the most superlative Chevrolet.