When the 1961 Impala hit the streets, the '50s were officially over. Trim, sleek, and stylish, the “bubble top” Impalas were the antidote for chrome and tailfins, with a stunningly clean profile, restrained use of brightwork, and performance that lit the fires of the horsepower wars. This amazing '61 Impala coupe was purchased in 2005 from a gentleman who kept it locked away in a garage for more than twenty years. It underwent an 8-month frame-off rebuild that addressed virtually every nut and bolt on the car. From the show-quality black paint to the custom black leather interior to the high-winding small block under the hood, it's a magnificent automobile that defines the word cool.
I'll tell you right now before you study the photos of this car that there isn't one modified panel on the entire body. That's 100% factory sheetmetal, unchopped, unshaved, and completely unaltered. The fact that it looks like a custom is testament to both the designers' original vision and the quality of the restoration. Every panel was straightened and aligned, every surface was hand-sanded, and several gallons of PPG black urethane were applied to give this car the look it has today. The depth of the finish is simply astounding. While black often hides details, on this Impala it seems to enhance the shape and frames it the way black velvet makes a diamond seem larger and shinier than it truly is.
Perhaps it's the dazzling trim on this car, particularly that sweeping side trim, that makes the paint look so astounding. The tailfins were gone, but their memory is honored by a bead of stainless that kicks up from the sweep panel and outlines the trunk opening. Those six round tail lights were an Impala trademark and the crossed-flag emblems represented performance since the Corvette debuted nearly a decade earlier. This car is also fitted with all-new glass, fresh weather stripping, and Advanced Plating handled the show-quality chrome.
The horsepower factory under the hood is a 355 cubic inch Chevy that has been completely drenched in chrome, stainless, and polished aluminum. The heads are aluminum, and a street-friendly camshaft ensures that it's easy to drive and doesn't get cranky during the low-speed cruises. The firewall has been smoothed and the power brake booster recessed for an ultra-sanitary look, and those are vintage Moon Eyes finned valve covers and air cleaner. Billet aluminum pulleys spin the chrome alternator and power steering pump, and there's a big electric fan on the original radiator keeping everything cool. You'll find that the paint work inside the engine bay is just as spectacular as the bodywork, and even the radiator tanks are brilliant gloss black that looks good enough to live on the body of some lesser cars. Ceramic-coated headers tuck in tight to the block for plenty of clearance, and they'll look that good practically forever.
The transmission is a built TH350 with a high-stall torque converter, giving this car sharp reflexes and easy cruising manners. Out back, the original rear was fully rebuilt, including new bearings and seals, and hangs on a fully rebuilt suspension featuring coil springs, a panhard rod, and new shocks. The front suspension has been completely upgraded with tubular A-arms, coilover shocks that give it that nose-down attitude. A beautifully fabricated ceramic exhaust system hugs the contours of the frame, piping through a pair of Flowmaster Hushpower mufflers and dumping out just ahead of the rear wheel openings. The floors have been coated for durability on the road, and there's no sign of rust or damage anywhere on the undercarriage. The finishing touch is the staggered set of American Racing Hopster wheels wearing 245/40/18 front and 285/35/20 rear BFGoodrich G-Force performance radials.
That beautiful black leather interior was designed to seamlessly blend original and new equipment, and it is a smashing success. The twin buckets are sumptuous and comfortable, separated by a custom-made center console. The original gauges remain in the dash, visible through a small-diameter leather-wrapped steering wheel on a chrome tilt column. The original radio remains mounted high in the center of the dashboard, with a modern AM/FM/CD head unit added down low in a custom enclosure and driving speakers hidden throughout the car. Both the door panels and kick panels are beautifully crafted pieces that will leave onlookers scratching their heads about what's original and what isn't, and the new black carpets feature the original nap and weave. The positively massive trunk has been finished with matching black carpet and finished sides that mirror the door panels and hide things like the battery and other electronics.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you, and I assure you there are no special lights or trick photos attached to this car—it really is as amazing as it looks. The budget for this build was well into six-figures, and it shows in every single component being as close to perfect as it can possibly be. The cackling small block under the hood delivers impressive performance, and it cruises effortlessly at insanely high speeds. Bubble top Impalas have always been highly-sought cars, and this one makes it easy to understand why. Custom cars simply don't get much nicer than this. Call today!
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I have the unique experience of buying and also selling a car from RK Motors.
It is very difficult and risky to evaluate a car on-line. I have heard many stories about people buying on-line and the cars did not turn out as advertised. This is where RK Motors works very hard to represent their cars as accurately as possible. They also do a great job of marketing their cars.
Their pictures give you the ability to look at details on any part of the cars you feel necessary. They are also willing to answer any questions you have as accurately as possible. They removed the all the doubt for me to purchase one of their cars.
I visited their showroom which is filled with high-level cars. Their sales staff were very professional and answered as many questions as they could for me.
When I decided to sell my car, I called RK and ask them how we could do this. They were very helpful and lead me step by step through this process. The thing that impressed me most was even though I purchased the car from them, they would not take my word on the quality of the car. Only after they did their evaluation were we able to finalize our deal. They took all new pictures and did a great job of marketing my car. They were able to sell my car quickly and kept me well informed through the entire process. We answered any questions the new owner had hopefully he will enjoy his car as much as I did.
I would highly recommend RK Motors to anyone buying or selling their cars.