Michael Jordan’s Pristine 1961 Impala SS 409 Up; Get Ready for a Jaw-Dropping Surprise

1961 marked a double home run for Chevrolet – the sales workhorse GM division launched two of its most emblematic names for that crucial year of its history. Celebrating half a century since the first Chevrolet automobile had seen the light of internal combustion, the brand put a new twist on its best-selling model, the Impala. Mid-model-year, the famous antelope received the two scarlet letters that would make a legend: the SS was born – the first Super Sport in a long line of hot Chevys.

The second remarkable event coincided with the dawn of the SS bloodline. It was, in fact, its very heart – the illustrious 409 V8. The 6.7-liter legend lived a short life – by 1965, it was already outdated and discontinued and replaced by what is arguably Chevrolet’s most iconic motor, the 396 V8.

The Impala Super Sport package was introduced without much ado late in the year, and production was dismal at 453 SS cars with the galloping antelope emblems. Most of them bore the 348 cubic-inch V8 (5.7 liters), and only 142 examples left the assembly line with the big muscle-bound 409. At 360 hp and 409 lb-ft (365 PS, 555 Nm), the Impala SS 409 was the first hint Chevrolet made at what was in store for the rest of the decade.

While the Pontiac Motor Division got the laurels for creating the muscle car fever, the idea wasn’t entirely strange within General Motors: Buick flirted with it when it released the Wildcat of 1962, and Chevrolet anticipated it with its Impala SS and the 409 eight-cylinder motor.

1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 Survivor

To put things into a slightly vaster perspective, note that Chevrolet assembled 491,000 Impalas for the 1961 production run. The SS fell upon less than one in every thousand examples, and the hot ones were three times less common than the others.

To say they’re rare would be like saying a circle has no corners, but to find an original one is a sad day for Satan, with hell freezing over and all that. So here it is, fellow enthusiasts – a survivor first-year Chevrolet Impala SS 409.

The black-over-red example comes with the mandatory four-speed manual (the 348s could be optioned with an automatic, but only the lesser 305-hp variant). The owner of this jewel acquired it In 1992 at a Barret-Jackson auction and has barely driven it since. The Borg-Warner T-10 sits behind the 409 V8, but the sale also offers a Muncie four-speed manual.

1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 Survivor

Yes, that’s the big news – this unmolested survivor is for sale in Litchfield Park, Arizona, for the not-so-outrageous price of $108,000. The seller states 4,232 miles on the clock (6,809 kilometers), and that’s almost too good to be true. However, the ad doesn’t offer any details about the car’s history other than that it’s a three-owner Impala SS. We know that the vehicle is driven only on rare occasions and averages less than 100 miles (160 km) per year.

The current caretaker of this gem is Michael Jordan, but not the NBA monument, but an Arizona-based professional photographer with a knack for go-fast machines. Apart from this highly desirable SS 409, he has another ’61 Chevy he uses to go from point S(tart) to point F(inish), one quarter-mile at a time. Unlike this black survivor, the other Impala is a 468-cubic-inch stroked V8 apocalypse (7.7-liter) that puts out 706 horses (716 PS) on 95-octane pump gas, with mufflers on.

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