Concept Classic: The 1961 Chevy Impala Coupe That Wasn’t

I hadn’t seen this ’61 Chevy Impala clay before, and it’s quite intriguing. The front end is just like how it ended up, but from the middle back, it’s a whole different animal. The roof previews the Colonnade coupes somewhat, with that big B pillar. Of course the rear window is a wrap around. And those hips; they had to wait until 1965. Of course the ’63 Sting Ray had them, thanks to Bill Mitchell’s 1959 Stingray Racer. I suspect he wanted to save them for the ’63 Corvette. Looks like the definitive version is off to the left.

And this clay reminds me a lot of another clay, but at a very different studio:

This is one side of the proposed 1962 Plymouth Super Sport coupe, at Virgil Exner’s studios across town. The obvious similarities of the roof and B pillar are remarkable, and even some details, like the front fender character line ending mid way in the front door. And the Chevy’s vertical hips are now horizontal hips. Hmm. For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure the Chevy is the older of the two, but maybe not by much. And it was even called Super Sport, a name that the Impala would make famous starting in 1961.

There’s also a lot of influence from the very advanced 1957 Corvette Q, which Was Zora Arkus Duntov’s very ambitious proposal for a radically new Corvette.