The early 1960s were a wild and crazy time to be a professional drag racer, as America fell head-over-heels for fast and furious straight-line performance. Automakers were only too happy to help encourage this emphasis on speed, selling a low-number of high-performance cars with more power, lower weight, and all the go-fast goodies you could want.
Alas, many of these rare-but-desirable vehicles were discarded after their useful lives were up, and few of these lightweight racers remain today. But one of them, a 1962 Impala SS Lightweight once owned by John Zintmaster, is being offered for sale by Auctions America, with an expected sales price of between $140,000 and $160,000.
Why? Because this is an amazingly unique piece of racing history, from a time when GM pulled out all the stops to gain a performance edge over Chrysler and Ford. This 1962 Impala SS drag car packed a performance-tuned 409 V8 backed by a Borg-Warner four-speed transmission and steep 4:56 gears good for one thing; drag racing.
With just 5,500 miles on it, this little piece of history still wears its original red interior and whitewall tires, but the real draw of this Impala is what it doesn’t have. The radio, air conditioner, heater, and sound deadening were all removed to trim weight, along with replacing parts like the front fenders and hood with aluminum bits. Total weight savings on the 3,500 pound car amounted to more than 120 pounds in all the right places, and this big Chevy could scoot down the quarter-mile in just 12 seconds.
Most importantly of all though, this car comes with a ton of documentation, and is commonly regarded as the best-kept, best-preserved ’62 Impala SS Lightweight in existence. Most were parted out or simply left to rot, but not this one. No wonder collectors are willing to pay big bucks for this old Chevy.