At the top of the line were two versions of the 409 engine. The single 4-barrel version was rated at 400 horsepower, up 20 from the year before. And the 2x4-barrel version of the engine was up to an astounding 425 horsepower, which represented a 16 horsepower increase from the year before.
The aforementioned 427 CID V8 was actually the top performer, and though it was officially rated at 430 horsepower, most critics agree its output was actually at least 500 horsepower. However, the engine was only put in cars made for factory approved customers, and only around 55 Impalas actually included the engine. It would be another few years before customers had the 427 engine available to them again.
On the lower end of performance options, there were quite a few additional engine choices. These began with the 230 CID six-cylinder known as the Turbo-Thrift that produced that produced 140 horsepower, which was up 10 from the year before. Up next, the standard V8 engine was a 283 CID V8 which was rated at 195 horsepower – and that number also represented an increase from the year before. Lastly, there were two versions of a 327 CID V8, and it produced 250 or 340 horsepower.
Once again, the Super Sport package was available with any Impala engine option, including the six-cylinder, and added a sporty trim to the car. The package included a heavy duty suspension, a special “leather-like” soft vinyl interior with aluminum trim and special instrumentation. All SS models also included a floor shifter and a locking console.
As it had in year’s past, the Impala was available as a sports coupe, sports sedan and wagon, and it continued to sell extremely well. All models featured what Chevy called “Jet Smooth” styling.
Total production the previous year was an impressive 704,900, but 1963 production topped even that at 832,600. Of those cars, 153,271 included the SS package. The most basic Impala had a base price of $2,661, though the convertible Sports Coupe model started at $3,024. The SS package added an additional $161 to the base price of the car.
There’s a very good reason the Impala is called the first muscle car. To be more specific, that title went to the 1961 model of the car, but Chevy saw the popularity of the powerful versions of the Impala and was continually making more powerful options every year. In fact, by 1963, every car company was attempting to manufacture desirable performance machines.
This trend would be continually illustrated throughout the rest of the 1960s and into the 70s with the introduction of more and more muscle and pony cars. The extremely popular Mustang was only a year away in 1963, and American roads would be littered with muscle cars by the end of the decade. While the Impala would continue to be bigger than all these models, it can be seen as the model that spawned them all.
|V8||283ci||1x2bbl||195 hp @ 4800 rpm||285 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm|
|V8||327ci||1x4bbl||300 hp @ 4800 rpm||360 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm|
|V8||327ci||1x4bbl||250 hp @ 4400 rpm||350 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm|
|V8||409ci||1x4bbl||400 hp @ 5800 rpm||425 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|V8 Z-11||427ci||2x4bbl||430 hp|
|0 to 60 mph||Quarter Mile||Engine||Source|
|6.3 sec||14.9 sec @ 98.0 mph||409ci/425hp||Motor Trend 7/63|
|6.6 sec||15.2 sec @ 90.0 mph||409ci/400hp||Car Life|