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As a teenager attending Broad Ripple High School in the late 1950s and early ’60s, Bill Weber and his friends often admired the new cars on the showroom floor at the Chevrolet dealer just a few blocks down from the school on Broad Ripple Avenue.
In the fall of 1960 the ’61 Impalas
Just a few weeks out of high school, Bill strolled into that dealership and bought a 1961 red Impala convertible with a 348 big block V-8, a four-barrel carburetor and three on the tree.
He and his friends just loved to cruise in that car. He also cruised around town with his future wife, Terry, while enjoying life. They were married in 1963.
In 1964, when Bill was working at Western Electric, he started college classes at Purdue Extension in Indianapolis. Since Terry was expecting their first child, Bill sold the convertible and bought a less expensive car to save money for his growing family.
In about 2009 he saw a car for sale on the Internet and contacted the seller in North Carolina. He didn’t buy the car but found out during the conversation that the man, his brother and son restored classic cars for a hobby. They took their time and did it right. Bill later saw an example of their work at the Ray Skillman-sponsored Mecum Auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. He thought their attention to detail was amazing and told them that he would like for them to find and restore a 1961 Impala convertible for him.
Within two or three months they contacted Bill and told him they had located a 1961 Impala SS convertible in a junk yard in North Carolina. It took the men two years of painstaking work to complete the car; the result was astounding.
The original 348 big block was still in the car and was rebuilt to the original specs. It is equipped with tri-power (three two-barrel carburetors), the original four-speed transmission and rare factory air conditioning. When the car was completed the men wanted more than Bill was willing to pay. A second buyer also passed on the rare cruiser due to the price. The men then consigned the car to a classic car dealer that also failed to get the asking price. They then contacted Bill again, and after a month of negotiations a price was agreed upon. The car was delivered to Bill and Terry in the spring of 2012, when the stunning convertible joined the Webers’ collection of classic cruisers.
Bill and Terry also own a 1955 two-door Chevy Bel Air hardtop, a ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible, a ’58 Impala Convertible, a ’61 Corvette convertible, a ’56 Ford Sunliner convertible and a rare ’57 Corvette with the ultra-rare 579 B 283 fuel-injected V-8.
The couple began driving and showing their 1961 Impala SS convertible immediately, collecting many awards along the way, including Best of Show at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Car Show. I sure hope that they bring it to our Car Nutz cruise-ins next summer.
Until next week, keep on cruising!
Car Nutz Contributor
Big Dan Pfeiffer