The Chevrolet impala is a sedan-based car
developed and engineered by the Chevrolet automotive division of General
Motors. Ed Cole, Chevrolet's chief engineer in the late Fifties,
outlined the impala as a "prestige car within the reach of the average
The Impala was originally a Corvette-based prototype car in the early to
mid-fifties. Many Chevrolet models originated as Corvette-based experiments;
examples include the Corvair and Nomad. The Impala originated as a sports coupe,
and was the least Corvette-like of the few because it wasn't introduced with the
Comment "Your photo of the 58 Chevvy. If it's reg number is CHEV 58, I had the privilege last weekend of seeing it when someone I know at work called Dave, brought it into my depot in Twickenham to show it........."
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The Impala was introduced in 1958 as a new up-level, sporty trim package
created for Bel Air coupes and convertibles. Unique to the model were its six
taillights, a classic styling cue that became its trademark. It was named for a
southern African antelope. The Impala became a separate model in 1959 in both
two and four-door versions and became the best selling car in the Chevrolet
product line. For 1960, it became the best-selling automobile in the United
States and held that position for the next decade. From 1958 until 1996, Impala
sales were in excess of 13 million units, more than any other full-size car in
the history of the automobile. In 1965, the Impala set an all-time industry
annual sales record of more than 1 million units, which has never been bettered.
The Impala is often credited with starting the muscle car era. In the 1960s,
gasoline was cheap and consumer demand for power exceeded the need for
efficiency. Buyers were clamouring for as much room, performance, amenities and
quality as they could get for their dollars. In 1961 the first true muscle car
was introduced with the Impala SS (Super Sport). The SS badge was to become
Chevrolet's signature of performance on many models. The SS package in 1961 was
truly a performance package. Nothing less than the high-performance 348 in³ (5.7
L) engines or the new 409 in³ (6.7 L) could be ordered. The 348 options were
305, 340 and 350 hp (230, 255 and 260 kW) engines. It consisted of upgraded
tires on station wagon wheels, springs, shocks and special sintered metallic
brake linings. The Impala SS could be identified by SS emblems on the rear
fenders and trunk lid. The Impala SS became its own series (separate model
rather than an option package) for 1964. A 1967 Chevy Impala was the focus of a
debunked Darwin Award in the JATO Rocket Car story.
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The 1970s showed a change in the American view of the automobile. The impact
of the 1973 oil embargo on the industry was dramatic. Gasoline prices doubled
between 1973 and 1979. Industry car sales plummeted 20 percent between 1973 and
1974, and for the first time in recent history, annual passenger car travel in
the U.S. actually went down. This change in the automobile market resulted in
Chevrolet redesigning the Impala once again in 1977 to meet changing demands.
The new Impalas were shorter in length, taller in stature and narrower. The
Impala embodied the new image of the full-size American car - smaller, lighter,
more efficient. For example, even with its trim dimensions, the new Impala
featured increased headroom, legroom and trunk space. Production of the
downsized model actually increased in 1977 versus a year prior.
In 1991, the GM B platform was extensively redesigned, though it retained the
same shortened frame design of the 1977 redesign.
The Impala SS badge was resurrected at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show as a
concept car designed by GM designer Jon Moss. The concept car was two inches
lower to the ground than the regular Caprice, and was powered by a 8.2-liter
(500 cu in) engine. Eventually, the concept car's engine was replaced with a
5.7-liter (350 cu in) engine derived from the Corvette in order to show the
public what would be offered if put into production (an off-road specification
510-cubic-inch (8.4 L) V8 was eventually put into the engine bay of the
prototype years later).
The 1994 Impala SS went into production 14 months later at GM's plant in
Arlington, Texas, and was almost identical cosmetically to the concept car, the
only noticeable change being the chromed bowtie logo on the grill (vs a red logo
on the concept). The car was, in essence, a high-performance version of the
Caprice. From a mechanical standpoint, it used the Caprice 9C1 police package as
its base and as such got most of the equipment formerly available only to law
enforcement and government agencies. This included a sport-tuned suspension with
reinforced shocks and struts, a high-capacity upgraded reverse flow cooling
system, larger and more powerful four-wheel disc brakes, transmission cooler,
dual exhaust, a higher-output electrical system, and other minor mechanical
alterations. Not all of the police equipment was carried over however, as the
Impala SS did not get the external oil-to-air engine oil cooler, nor were all
the body mounts secured (the standard Caprice and Impala SS were assembled at
the factory with the front 3 body mounts missing one of the rubber cushions,
while the 9C1 was assembled with all rubber cushions in place), although both
are popular aftermarket additions to the Impala SS by their owners.
The Impala SS was uniquely fitted with a standard 3.08 gear. The limited-slip
rear differential was standard (as opposed to the option G80 on caprices) and
suspension that was an inch lower. A retuned LT1 5.7-liter (350 cu in)
small-block V8 was standard on the Impala SS, making 260 horsepower (190 kW) and
330 pound-feet (450 N·m) of torque (retuned from the prototype's 300 horsepower
(220 kW) rating). The primary difference between the LT1 in the Impala and the
LT1 that was in the Corvette and Camaro was that the Impala engine was fitted
with cast-iron cylinder heads instead of aluminium ones, and a camshaft that was
designed more for low-end torque than high-end horsepower. Another difference
was that the Impala LT1 had 2 bolt main bearing caps while the Corvette LT1 had
4 bolt main bearing caps. The transmission used in the car was the 4L60E, which
was itself an upgraded and revised version of the previous 700R4. However, the
transmission was not beefed up for the power of the LT1, and transmission
failures after 100,000 miles (160,000 km) were commonplace.
Several other cars in the B-body line also shared a similar power train:
these were the Chevrolet Caprice, Buick Roadmaster, and the Cadillac Fleetwood
which all shared the LT1 engine and 4L60E automatic transmission.
Cosmetically, the Impala SS received body-colored trim, which helped reduce
the sometimes "bloated" look of the standard Caprice, a unique single-bar grille
with no hood ornament and, a rear deck spoiler. It was fitted with 17-inch
(430 mm) brushed aluminum wheels with 255/50ZR17 tires. Inside, the car came
with a central console with cup holders (1994 and 1995 models) and a storage
compartment, leather seats embroidered with the Impala SS logo, and a standard
leather-wrapped steering wheel.
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For the 1994 model year, it was available only in black with a grey interior.
Due to a shortage of the unique 5-spoke aluminum wheels (manufactured by ROH in
Australia), only 6,303 cars were sold. However, the wheel shortage was remedied
for the 1995 model year and 21,434 cars were sold. In 1995, Dark Cherry Metallic
and Dark Grey Green were added as exterior colour options, and the body
panelling on the rear quarter panel was altered to reflect the cosmetic effect
formerly achieved by a window insert. 1996 was the last year of production with
41,941 units sold. The 1996 Impala SS production went late into the model year;
some being produced as late as
December 17, 1996.
It saw minor interior alterations, with the digital speedometer being replaced
by an analogue one, along with a tachometer. The shifter was moved from the
column to the center console, and the engine was given an OBD-II computer
control system (the camshaft was reground to adjust for the new computer).
The entire B/D-body line, consisting of the Chevrolet Caprice, Impala SS,
Buick Roadmaster and Cadillac Fleetwood, was discontinued by General Motors, as
GM wanted more assembly lines to be able to produce more profitable SUVs.
Another fact was that the Caprice was the only B-body with a market share since
fleet sales to law enforcement outnumbered sales of all other B-bodies.
The Impala name was resurrected for the 2000 model year as a midsize 4-door
sedan to replace the Lumina. Unlike the earlier Impalas, this one was front
wheel drive and was only available with a V6. A new Impala SS with a
supercharged V6 was brought out for the 2004 model year. Unlike the Lumina, the
Impala was also used for most police cars.
2000-2004 3.8 L (231 in³) V6
2000 3.1 3.1 L (191 in³) V6
2000-2002 LA1 3.4 L (207 in³) V6
The 2006 Impala was introduced at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show. The base
engine is a 3.5 L V6 producing 210 hp. The most notable news about the model,
though, is the SS model's use of the Generation IV small-block V8 in a
front wheel drive car for the first time: The new 5.3 L V8 (with Displacement on
Demand) will produce 303 hp. The car is 200.4 in (509 mm) long, 58.7 in
(149.1 mm) high, and 72.9 in (185.2 mm) wide.
LZ9 V6, 240 hp (179 kW)/245 ft·lbf (332 N·m)
LZE V6, 210 hp (157 kW)/220 ft·lbf (298 N·m)
LS4 V8, 303 hp (226 kW)/323 ft·lbf (438 N·m) (SS)
Your photo of the 58 Chevvy. If it's reg
number is CHEV 58, I had the privilege last weekend of seeing it when someone I
know at work called Dave, brought it into my depot in Twickenham to show it. It
has to be the best in the world. He picked it up from somewhere in California
and drove it back across the states. It's better than 'mint'. Hope your readers
get to see it at this years shows. They won't be disappointed!
|I think chevy is one of the most classical car designers and it is doing a great
job especially with all SS types like;lumina ute ss v8, from camero SS, camino,
and the rest, Chevy is truly a precious design of the modern cars. My name is
Thato From South Africa and I'm a huge fan of the lumina editions. Cheers
yea man,,,your site is the man, i learned all about the 94-96
models to help me choose the best ss, (ill go with the 96 cuz its digital and i
dig the shifter moving to the center console ...kick ass
|Chevy should come out with a v-8 traditional engine, with a a 5 litre, full size
car either with 305 or 350. It would sure be popular because there is less
maintenance on full frame car and I'm sure the demand would be there.It would
certainly boost their image in that area which is missing sadly. Thanks, Sylvain
S. Casselman, Ont. Canada
|Nice read, I have a 67 Caprice 2 dr hard top with 350bhp from its 350. Great fun
great cars. Nigel.
In October 1994 I purchased a brand new 94 9C1 5.7 LT1 Caprice
Police package. Though I am a police officer, the car was my personal vehicle.
I loved the way it ran and handled up to about 65,000 miles. Then this car
became a maintenance nightmare. I must have rebuilt it from the ground up,
three times. With the exception of the engine, I believe I replaced every
component, including the rear end and tranny, three times within 100,000. I
recently sold it and gave the new owner a holy bible size folder of repair
receipts...I purchased a new Nissan Maxima to avoid this nightmare again.