The Allure of the 1963 Chevrolet Impala Series

The 1963 Chevrolet Impala Series holds a special place in automotive history. Back in its time, it stood as Chevrolet’s most luxurious passenger model and was a consistent chart-topper in North America. Its reign as one of the best-selling mid-sized vehicles in the United States lasted well into the 1980s. Let’s dive into what made this iconic car series so unforgettable.

1963 Chevrolet Impala Coupe

Redefining Style and Elegance

In 1963, Chevrolet embarked on a significant redesign of their full-size Chevrolets, including the Impala. This third-generation Impala sported a fresh look, with two sharp horizontal body-side character lines replacing the previous diagonal accents found on the 1962 models. The design, crafted on the GM B platform, brought a boxier style and an abundance of trim that resembled the contemporary Cadillacs.

The credit for the Cadillac-esque touches goes to Dave Holls, who stepped in for Chevrolet Chief Designer Clare MacKichan during his recovery from a road accident. These design changes highlighted the Impala’s extraordinary length, setting it apart from the competition.

Luxurious Comfort and Versatility

Impala models of 1963 were equipped with a host of luxurious features. The interior boasted vinyl upholstered, extra-thick foam seat cushions for a comfortable ride. Paddle-type armrests with lift-up door releases added a touch of convenience. Chevrolet paid attention to insulation, ensuring a quieter cabin, and included a sport-style steering wheel for added flair.

The Impala Series offered a range of body styles, catering to various preferences. These included a sedan, Hardtop Sports Sedan, Hardtop Sport Coupe, convertible, and 6- and 9-passenger station wagons. Even the base model was impressive, with a six-cylinder, overhead-valve engine that displaced 230 cubic inches and delivered 140 horsepower. For those craving more power, options included the 327, 409, and 427 V8 engines, offering power outputs ranging from 250 to a whopping 430 horsepower.

The Powerhouse: The 409 Engine

At the pinnacle of performance options was the legendary 409 engine, available in two distinct tunes. Enthusiasts could opt for the 4-barrel 340 horsepower version or the dual-quad 409 horsepower variant, which famously inspired the Beach Boys’ chart-topping hit.

Super Sport Elegance

For those seeking a sportier experience, the Super Sport option (RPO Z03) delivered. It included bucket seats, a center-shift console, and plush carpeting. The rear end featured twin sets of triple lights against a backdrop of bright textured aluminum. These SS models came with full wheel covers, SS emblems, cove inserts, and a choice of Powerglide or four-speed manual transmissions. Approximately 153,271 Chevrolet Impalas received the ‘SS’ treatment, with roughly one in ten packing the mighty Turbo-Fire 409 engine. Other optional features included a tachometer, power steering, and power tops for the convertibles.

The Z11 Impala: Racing Heritage

In 1963, Chevrolet introduced the Z11 Impala, a lightweight model influenced by lessons learned from Super Stock and A/FX class racing. The Z11 Impala sported an austere finish, with an aluminum front end and bumpers. Under the hood lay the 427 CI ‘mystery engine,’ complete with an aluminum dual-quad intake, carburetors, and a distinctive air cleaner that drew inspiration from Chevrolet’s racing endeavors.


The 1963 Chevrolet Impala Series was more than just a car; it was an automotive legend. Its combination of style, comfort, and power captured the hearts of car enthusiasts and music lovers alike. Even today, the Impala continues to be celebrated as a symbol of a bygone era.


  1. What made the 1963 Chevrolet Impala Series so special? The 1963 Impala Series was known for its striking design, luxurious interior, and powerful engine options, making it a standout in its time.
  2. How many different body styles were available for the 1963 Impala? The 1963 Impala Series offered various body styles, including sedan, Hardtop Sports Sedan, Hardtop Sport Coupe, convertible, and 6- and 9-passenger station wagons.
  3. Tell me more about the Super Sport option for the Impala. The Super Sport option added sporty features like bucket seats, a center-shift console, and plush carpeting, along with performance enhancements, making it a popular choice among enthusiasts.
  4. What is the significance of the 409 engine in the 1963 Impala? The 409 engine was a powerhouse, available in two versions, and it inspired the Beach Boys’ hit song, solidifying its place in automotive history.
  5. Was the 1963 Chevrolet Impala Series involved in racing? Yes, Chevrolet introduced the Z11 Impala, a lightweight model influenced by racing, which featured a powerful 427 CI ‘mystery engine’ and was built for racing enthusiasts.