This ’61 Impala Is Just Different Enough To Make It A Stand Out

If we all liked the same model of car, how interesting would the hobby be? Thankfully, we all have different likes and dislikes, and that is one of the many things that makes this hobby so great. Take for instance Steve Yaymayan. He is definitely a fan of the early Impalas. To be honest, it’s easy to see why. They are a great looking car.

When we asked him why he chose to build an Impala over anything else, he had this to say, “I have always loved ’60 through ’63 Chevy Impalas, particularly because of the long-wheelbase design. One of the things that I love the most about the Impalas is the six, round taillights and the side stainless-trim moldings.”

'61 Impala

If you’re going to paint your car black, it better be straight. Steve’s looks flawless.

When Steve decided it was time to locate an Impala, he could call his own, he was hoping to find a nice cruiser that he could enjoy. Lucky for him, he didn’t have to look very far – or at all – to find this gem. “I was in the market for a 1960 to 1963 Impala that I could use as a weekend cruiser – at least that was the plan,” Steve quipped. “I was contacted by a guy that was looking to purchase a 1963 Impala, and he was in need of some quick cash. He wanted to sell his ’61 and contacted me through a mutual friend.”

61 Impala

LS Swaps have taken the world by storm. They are reliable, plentiful, and able to make a lot of power easily. What’s not to like?

Not knowing what the gentleman had to offer, Steve asked for a few photos and liked it enough to take the time to go see it in person. “As soon as I saw it, I decided to make a deal with the guy,” Steve said. The car was in a decent condition, but not quite what Steve would consider to be a complete car. “It had all the stock suspension components and drum brakes,” Steve affirmed. “Under the hood was a basic 350 engine backed with a two-speed Powerglide transmission. The interior was missing along with some of the trim.”

Although the car needed a little attention to suit Steve, and the work could have been easily completed in a few months, he dove-in headfirst and ended up doing a complete rebuild. “It needed some bodywork, a paintjob, interior, electrical, and some mechanical work,” he said.

Steve reached out to Kevin McMillan of McMillan’s Speed and Fab to handle the engine-building chore. “We decided to do an LS swap. We found an LS3 and added a Magnuson supercharger and a bigger camshaft,” stated Steve. Behind the boosted LS is a 4L65E four-speed automatic transmission and a 9-inch rear with 3.70 gears and an Eaton Truetrac differential.

61 Impala

Inside is a gorgeous interior created by Jose Villacorta from J.B.’s Custom Upholstery in Camarillo, California. Steve wanted the vehicle to have front and rear bucket seats with a full-length center console. The front seats were “borrowed” from a Lexus and the original rear bench seat was molded and shaped to give it the look of bucket seats. “The interior is wrapped in English hide and Alcantara, like what is used in Bentley and Rolls Royce vehicles,” added Steve. The idea was to create a modern look, and we definitely think he nailed it.

Steve finished by stating, “I decided to go with the 1961 body because of the bubble top. It’s such a key feature that accentuates the rest of the body design. I also love the fact it looks very simple but has a lot of detailed body lines and curves.”

While there a lot of guys who like Impalas, Steve has definitely set his apart from the crowd. There is no doubt Steve has taken something classic and given it a modern flair that is as timeless as the car itself.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
Read My Articles

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