Q: Hi, Greg, first of all I would like to say that I look forward to reading your accurate and interesting articles in all of the newspapers and websites I see it in. However, there are two inaccuracies that I would like to point out in your recent article on the Impala SS history.
In 1965, I purchased a brand new Super Sport hardtop from Z Frank Chevrolet in Chicago. It had the 283 engine that you say was dropped for that year.

Secondly, you mentioned that 1996 was the first year that the SS model was offered as a four door. The 1961 model was the first year that the SS option was offered and you could have ordered that car as a four door. Attached is a very rare sales brochure for the 1961 Super Sport. Thank you, Mike Harper, email from Chicago area.

A: Mike, there’s hope that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks to your kind words and interesting letter as I now realize that my dad could have purchased a 1961 Impala SS in four-door motif, much to my surprise, when he was new car shopping in 1961.

Specifically, even though I was only 11 years old, I sure do remember when my dad purchased his first ever brand new car from Yank Chevrolet in Vineland, New Jersey. I was really involved in that decision, as my father took me to all the places he was looking for a new car, including a dealership in Millville, New Jersey. His decision came down between two Chevys, a dealer demo all black ’61 Impala four-door that was not an SS or a brand new ’61 Belair two-door.

Although I liked the Impala because it had a 283 V8 engine, my dad settled for the brand new “Seafoam Green” 1961 Chevy Belair two door with a straight six engine and powerglide transmission. I liked the looks of the ’61 Belair two door, as it was similar to the Biscayne that my drag racing hero, Dave Strickler, was racing back then with the new 409 engine.

The Belair and Biscayne two-doors featured a lip on the back window (see photo of 1961 Old Reliable), unlike the “bubble top,” no B-pillar Impala two door models. So, 1961 was a big year in my young life as my dad was a proud brand-new car owner. (In 1962, the “bubble top” was only available in the Belair line for some reason.)

Until I received your letter, I never knew that you could order a 1961 SS Impala four-door, and even more interesting is that in all my life, I’ve never seen one in person. Also, the 283 engine availability in the SS line in ’65 was a miscue on my part, as I felt all SS models in 1965 came with the 327.

Additionally, my first car was a 1963 Chevy Impala two-door with a 283 that my brother and I “souped up.” We put a Borg Warner T-10 four-speed in it instead of the “three on the tree,” installed a Chevy Duntov “three quarter” cam, Holley four barrel and had the cylinder heads gone over by a mechanic named Tony Ruberti, who was a master of race engines back then out of his shop in Vineland.

It was one of the fastest 283s in a full size car in our area as we beat many a 327 and 348 powered Chevy back then. We once raced a new 1966 SS 396 Chevelle, and stayed with it until about 300 feet from the quarter mile finish. The best we ever ran was a 15.58 at just shy of 90 mph in the quarter with that big old Impala.

Thanks much, Mike, for your interesting graphic attachment and info on the SS Impala and 283 engines. Now we all know that you could buy a four door Impala SS way before they reintroduced the Impala SS line in 1994 to 1996.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now, BestRide.com and other Gatehouse Media publications. He welcomes questions and comments from readers on collector cars, auto nostalgia and old-time motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or at greg@gregzyla.com.