Not many of us can remember most of what occurred in 1960, but just to feed you some information, Domino’s Pizza was founded, Muhammad Ali won a gold medal at the summer Olympics, and Chevrolet once again made some design changes to the Impala. Although the 1960 Impala does resemble the ’59 model, the two cars share few body panels. Up front, the 1959’s “eyebrows” were eliminated from the front edge of the hood, and the quad headlights were incorporated into the grille. The tail fins were reshaped, and six round taillights replaced the previous year’s “cat’s eyes.”
This year, the Impala became the best-selling automobile in the U.S., a position it would continue to hold for the next decade. Total production for 1960 Impala’s was 511,925 cars built.
The 1960 Chevrolet Impala was luxury leader of the low price automotive market for 1960 standards. When you ordered an Impala, you could choose from four new sub-models of the car: sport sedan, sport coupe, four-door sedan and convertible.
The standard engine under the hood was an inline six cylinder. At 235 cubic-inches, and delivering a measly 135 horsepower, the fuel-sipping engine had barely enough power to move the car. Next up was the base V8 engine, which was a carryover from previous years. The two-barrel-fed 283 cubic-inch V8 delivered an almost adequate 170 horsepower. The biggest small-block offering this year was the four-barrel-equipped 283 cubic-inch engine with 230 horsepower. Unlike the 1959 model, the Ramjet fuel-injected small-block was not available in the 1960 Impala.
Impala buyers did have their choice of one of five versions of Chevrolet’s 348 cubic-inch engine. First was the 250 horsepower engine with a single four-barrel carburetor. This engine delivered a compression ratio of 9.5:1. There were also single four-barrel versions with both 11.0:1 and 11.25:1 compression ratios that delivered 305 and 320 horsepower respectively. If you wanted something with a little more power, Chevrolet offered two 348 cubic-inch engines with three two-barrel carburetors. One had a 9.5:1 compression ratio and developed 280 horsepower, and the hottest 348 cubic-inch engine in the lineup developed an 11.25:1 compression ratio and 335 horsepower.
The three and four-speed manual transmissions were available behind any engine except the 305 horsepower 348 cubic-inch engine. Many Impala’s were equipped with a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and the 305 horsepower 348 was offered with a special heavy duty Powerglide. The two-speed Turboglide was also available, except when ordering the six-cylinder engine or the 305, 320 and 335 horsepower 348 cubic-inch engines. Chevrolet also offered an overdrive for the three-speed manual transmission that was available with six-cylinder engines and 283 cubic-inch V8s. The overdrive reduced engine RPM by 19 percent.