The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 1958 model year. Deriving its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United States, competing against the Ford Galaxie 500 and the Plymouth Fury when full-size models dominated the market. The Impala was distinguished for many years by its symmetrical triple taillights. The Caprice was introduced as a top-line Impala Sport Sedan for the 1965 model year becoming a separate series positioned above the Impala in 1966, which itself remained above the Bel Air and Biscayne. The Impala continued as Chevrolet's most popular full-size model through the mid-1980s. Between 1994 and 1996, Impala was revived as a muscular 5.7-liter V8–powered version of the Caprice Classic sedan. In 2000, the Impala was re-introduced again as a mainstream front-wheel drive full-size sedan.
Ed Cole, Chevrolet's chief engineer in the late 1950s, defined the Impala as a "prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen."
History, origin and sales
The Impala name was first used for the full-sized 1956 General Motors Motorama show car that bore Corvette-esque design cues, especially the grille. Painted emerald green metallic, with a white interior, the Impala featured hardtop styling. It is not known to have survived. Clare MacKichan's design team, along with designers from Pontiac, started to establish basic packaging and dimensions for their shared 1958 General Motors A body in June; the first styling sketch that would directly influence the finished Chevrolet product caught the eye of General Motors Styling vice president Harley Earl in October. Seven months later, the basic design was worked.
First generation (1958)
The Impala was introduced in 1958 and positioned as top of the line Bel Air coupes and convertibles. From the windshield pillar rearward, the 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala differed structurally from typical Chevrolets. Hardtops had a slightly shorter greenhouse and longer rear deck, giving the impression of an extended body.
It was a change from the 1955–1957 shape that was itself a substantial move away from the conservative Chevrolets of past years, longer, lower, and wider than its predecessors. The sharp tailfins of the 1957 gave way to deeply sculptured rear fenders. Three taillights each side would become an Impala hallmark whereas lesser models had two and wagons just one. Special crossed-flag insignias sat above the side moldings plus bright rocker moldings and dummy rear-fender scoops. 1958 was the first year of dual headlamps.
Underneath this new body was a new chassis. The standard perimeter-type frame was abandoned, replaced by a unit with rails laid out in the form of an elongated "X." Chevrolet claimed that the new frame offered increased torsional rigidity and allowed for a lower, yet still roomy passenger compartment. In this design, a transitional step between traditional construction and the later fully unitized body/chassis, the body structure was beefed up in a number of areas (most notably the rocker panels and firewall) to create a solid package. However, this frame was not as effective in protecting the interior structure in a side impact crash, as a traditional perimeter frame.
With a six-cylinder engine, a Chevrolet Bel Air Impala started at $2,586, while $2,693 bought a V8. In all, 55,989 convertibles and 125,480 Sport Coupes were built, 15 percent of production. Interiors held a two-spoke steering wheel and color-keyed door panels with brushed aluminum trim. No other series included a convertible. Impala signaled Chevrolet's entry into the mid-price field, even if the design was less radical than planned. In addition to style and vigorous performance, ads marketed its "quick, eager-to-please handling that lets you know you're the boss."
New-for-1957 Ramjet fuel injection continued to be available as an option for the Turbo-Fire 283 V8. 1958 Impalas equipped with this option are rare and highly desirable as collector cars.
Longer, lower, and wider—a recurrent theme-all Chevrolets had full-coil suspension, displacing the old rear leaf springs. A new "Safety Girder" X-type frame reduced height without headroom loss. A 283 cu in (4,640 cc) engine was now the standard V8, with ratings that ranged from 185 to 290 horsepower. A big-block 348 cu in (5,700 cc) Turbo-Thrust V8 was a new engine option, descended from a truck engine putting out 250 hp (190 kW), 280 hp (210 kW), or 315 hp (235 kW). The 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala helped Chevrolet regain the number one production spot in this recession year.
Second generation (1959–1960)
The 1959 Chevrolet Impala was radically reworked sharing bodyshells with lower-end Buicks and Oldsmobiles as well as with Pontiac, part of a GM economy move, Chevrolets rode a wheelbase 11/2 inches longer than before. Atop a new X-frame chassis, roofs sat three inches lower, and bodies measured more than two inches wider overall. The growing size contributed to increased curb weight, one more trend of the times. Its tailfins protruded outward rather than upward. Auto tester Tom McCahill, of Mechanix Illustrated, declared that a Chevy's decklid had "enough room to land a Piper Cub." Chevrolet eschewed the triple-taillight rear style this year with a very large, single controversial "teardrop" taillight at each side.
Impala was now a separate series, including a four-door hardtop and four-door sedan, as well as the two-door Sport Coupe and convertible. Sport Coupes featured a shortened roofline and wrap-over back window, promising a "virtually unlimited rear view" to complement the car's new compound-curve windshield. The hardtop Sport Sedan had a huge, pillar-free back window and "flying wing" roofline. Base V8 was the carryover 283 cu in (4,640 cc), at 185 hp (138 kW) horsepower. Performance fans could select 280 cu in outputs to 290 hp (220 kW) – or turn to the big-block 348 cu in (5,700 cc) V8 up to 315 hp (235 kW). With a V8, the Impala convertible listed at $2,967, but a six-cylinder version saved the customer $118. Impala interiors flaunted their top-of-the-line status, offering front and rear armrests, an electric clock, dual sliding sun visors, and crank-operated front ventipanes. A contoured instrument panel held deep-set gauges residing below hoods to prevent glare. A Flexomatic six-way power seat was a new option, as was "Speedminder" (a device which allowed the driver to set a needle at a specific speed; a buzzer would sound if he exceeded this pre-set speed).
The 1960 models created a more conservative look than was seen on the 1959 models and were simply toned down a bit. Stylists and marketers realized that the fin-and-chrome fashion had about run its course decided to shift direction, creating a more conservative face-lift. The effect was helped by reinstating three modestly sized round taillights on each side of the top-of-the-line Impala. Up front the nostril air intakes above the headlights were deleted completely. More abundantly chromed than Bel Airs or Biscaynes, Impalas found buyers more easily, with better than 490,000 built. Impalas displayed nonfunctional air-intake scoops, plus a white band running along the rear fender. Four body styles vied for customers: Hardtop Sport Sedan, Sport Coupe, Convertible Coupe, and Four-Door Sedan. The Impala Convertible Coupe at $2,847 led the line.
Drivetrain choices were slightly reduced to seven V8s in 283- or 348-cu in size. Top choice was the 348 cu in Super Turbo-Thrust Special, breathing through triple two-barrel carburetors and using 11.25:1 compression and dual exhausts to put out 335 hp (250 kW). More modest versions of the 348 yielded 250 to 320 hp (190 to 240 kW). The carbureted Turbo-Fire 283 cu in V8 could have either 170 hp (130 kW) or 230 hp (170 kW). Fuel injection was no longer an option on full-size Chevrolets. New to the options list was speed and cruise control, the first time such a device was offered on a low-price automobile.
Right-hand drive cars were made in Oshawa, Canada, for New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and assembled locally from CKD or SKD kits. The RHD dashboard was a mirror image of the 1959 Chevrolet panel and shared with equivalent RHD Pontiac models. Australian models were assembled by hand on the GMH Holden assembly lines.
Third generation (1961–1964)
The Impala was restyled on the existing GM B platform for 1961. The new body styling was more trim and boxy than the 1958–60 models. Sport Coupe models featured a "bubbleback" roof line style for '61, and a unique model, the 2-door pillared sedan, was available for 1961 only. It was rarely ordered and a scarce collectible today. The rare Super Sport (SS) option debuted for 1961. This was also the last year the top station wagon model would bear the Nomad name. Power brakes were $43.
The 1962 model featured new "C" pillar styling for all models except the 4-door hardtop. Sport Coupe models now featured the "convertible roof" styling, shared with other GM "B" full-size hardtop coupes. This style proved extremely popular, and contributed to the desirability of the '62–'64 Impalas as collectibles. The "overhang" roof style of the sedans was replaced with a more attractive, wider "C" pillar with wraparound rear window. Engine choices for '62 settled down, the 348-cubic-inch (5.7 L) V8 discontinued and replaced by the 340 brake horsepower (250 kW) 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L), which could be ordered with any transmission. The small-block 283 was enlarged to 327 cubic inches (5.4 L), which added more engine choices for small-block fans. The Beach Boys produced a hit single, "409," referring to the Chevy, which became an iconic song for these cars. Impalas again featured premium interior appointments, plusher seats, and more chrome trim outside, including a full-width aluminum-and-chrome panel to house the triple-unit taillight assembly. Super Sport (SS) models featured that panel in a special engine-turned aluminum, which was also used to fill the side moldings, making the SS more distinctive in appearance. Impala also gains the top station wagon after the Chevrolet Nomad is gone. Due to reliability problems, the optional Turboglide automatic transmission was discontinued, leaving Powerglide the only automatic transmission available until 1965. A new radio was optional.
Among collectors, the 1963 Impala is the most popular for its body style, though it was almost mechanically identical to the 1962 model. The 1963 Impala's distinctive body style has crisp lines with pointed front and rear fenders which emphasize the long, low style of car design popular in the early 1960s. The rear taillight panel was aluminum, and was surrounded by a chrome border with the engine-turned surface on SS models. Engine choice was similar to '62, with the small-block 283-cubic-inch (4.6 L) and 327-cubic-inch (5.4 L) V8s the most popular choices. The Sport Sedan featured a new, creased roof line that proved popular. A new "coved" instrument panel was good-looking, but replaced the temperature gauge with "idiot lights" for hot and cold engine conditions. An optional factory tachometer was built into the dash, just above the steering wheel. It was rarely ordered, but gave the Super Sport models an extra feel of sportiness.
For 1964, the Impala was slightly restyled, reverting to a more rounded, softer look. The signature taillight assembly had an "upside-down U" shaped aluminum trim strip above the taillights, but the lights themselves were surrounded by a body-colored panel. The 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L) returned as the big-block option, as well as the 2X4 carburetor setup for the 425 horsepower motors. SS models continued to feature the engine-turned aluminum trim. Rooflines were carried over from '63 unchanged. Back-up lights were standard.
Right hand drive cars were made at GM's Oshawa plant in Canada and often shipped overseas in kit form for assembly in South Africa and New Zealand. The RHD cars – Chevy or equivalent Pontiac (built on Chevrolet frames and using Chevy engines in Canada)– all used a RHD version of the LHD 1961 Pontiac dashboard.
Fourth generation (1965–1970)
Totally redesigned in 1965, the Impala set an all-time industry annual sales record of more than 1 million units in the U.S., which has never been bettered. All new full-size Chevys eschewed the "X" frame for a full-width perimeter frame, a new body which featured curved, frameless side glass (for pillarless models), sharper angled windshield with newly reshaped vent windows, and redesigned full-coil suspension.
In 1965 Chevrolet introduced the Impala Caprice, exclusively as a four-door hardtop. Caprices received unique tufted upholstery, wood grained accents on the dashboard and specialty pulls on the insides of the doors. This "halo" model also featured the "spinner" wheel covers from the Impala SS, with the "SS" logo centers replaced by a Chevy "bowtie" emblem. The Super Sport's blackout rear trim strip below the triple taillights was also used, with the "Impala SS" emblem deleted of course. The Caprice Custom was reintroduced as the Chevrolet Caprice in 1966, taking the top position in the full-size Chevrolet lineup. Engine choices included the inline six-cylinder as well as the famous Chevy small-block and big-block V8s. Automatic buyers were given the option of the newly introduced three-range Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission for the newly introduced Mark IV big-block engine, displacing 396 cubic inches. The old 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L) "W" engine was discontinued early in the 1965 model year, so early-production '65s got the 409, as well as 1/10 of 1% had the 396 CID big-block. Moreover, other later-built cars had the 396-cubic-inch (6.5 L) as the big-block option with significant horsepower drawback. Two-range Powerglide, as well as Synchro-Mesh 3- and 4-speed manual transmissions were available. As with previous years, Impalas featured more chrome trim inside and out, with pleated tufted upholstery and door panels. The Impala would be the #2-selling convertible in the U.S. in 1966, with 38,000 sold; it was beaten by the Mustang by almost 2:1.
The 1967 model was redesigned with enhanced Coke bottle styling. The curves were the most pronounced with the 1967–68 models. In keeping with federal regulations, safety features were built into Impalas during the 1967 and 1968 model years, including a fully collapsible energy-absorbing steering column, side marker lights, and shoulder belts for closed models.
The 1968 model was facelifted with a new front end, The new rear bumper housed triple "horseshoe" shaped taillights. 1968 also saw a new Impala model, the Custom Coupe. This two-door hardtop featured the same formal roofline as the Caprice Coupe. It was a huge commercial success and would be continued right through 1976.
By 1969, the muscular "Coke Bottle" look had become passe for full-size Chevys. The 1969 Impala and other full-sized Chevrolets got new slab-sided bodies with a small "upsweep" at the rear quarter window, giving them a more formal appearance. The emphasis was clearly on making the Impala look bigger, even though it retained the 119" wheelbase from previous models. New front bumpers that wrapped around the grille and horizontal taillights in the rear bumper made it look wider. Ventless front windows were used on all models. Chevy had a rudimentary "power vent" system featuring vents in the instrument panel, but it wasn't the pressurized system that became standard on all 1971 big GM cars. The vent windows had provided excellent ventilation at highway speeds, but at the expense of wind noise. Eliminating them saved money on each car produced, kept the interiors quieter at highway speeds, and no doubt encouraged more check marks on the order sheets for the high-profit air conditioning systems that were becoming increasingly popular. The ignition switch was moved from the instrument panel to the steering column, and when they key was removed, the steering wheel and shift lever were locked. All 1969 GM cars except the Corvair got this change, one year ahead of Federal regulations. The hardtop Sport Coupe got a new, crisply styled notchback roofline, replacing the "fastback" C-pillar from 1967–68. During the 1969 model year Impala production topped Caprice production by 611,000 units. The similar 1970 Impala got a minor facelift featuring a more conventional under the grille bumper replacing the wrap-around unit used in 1969 along with new triple vertical taillights in the rear bumper. Canadian buyers got the choice of a lower priced companion to the Impala Sport Coupe, the Bel Air Sport Coupe, which used the same body but featured Bel Air trim.
Right Hand Drive cars were manufactured in Canada for export to some countries such as Australia, UK, etc., until 1969. They used a version of the 1965 Impala dash panel until 1969. Australian models were assembled in Australia from kits as this lessened tax on the cars. A similar arrangement applied in New Zealand although the bodies were supplied from Canada already welded, painted and trimmed.
Impala SS (1961–1969)
In 1961, the Impala SS (Super Sport) was introduced to the market. The SS badge was to become Chevrolet's signature of performance on many models, though it often has been an appearance package only. The Impala's SS package in 1961 was truly a performance package, beginning with the 348-cubic-inch (5.7 L) V8 engines available with 305 horsepower (227 kW), 340 horsepower (250 kW), and 350 horsepower (260 kW) or the new 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L) V8, which was available with up to 425 horsepower (317 kW). The package also included upgraded tires on station wagon wheels, springs, shocks and special sintered metallic brake linings. Starting for the 1962 model year, the Impala SS was an appearance package limited to hardtop coupe and convertible coupe models, available with all engines in the Impala series to the base 235-cubic-inch (3.9 L), 135 horsepower (101 kW) inline-6 through 1967, though the big-block engines and heavy-duty parts could still be ordered. In 1968–69, an additional model, the SS427, was available.
The Super Sport was known as Regular Production Option (RPO) Z03, from 1962–63, and again in 1968. 1962–64 Super Sports came with engine-turned aluminum trim, which was replaced by a "blackout" trim strip in '65 which ran under the taillights. 1965 Super Sport exteriors differed only slightly from regular Impalas. Rocker panel trim was deleted. "Super Sport" scripts replaced the "Impala SS" badges. The new center console housed a rally-type electric clock, and full instrumentation now included a vacuum gauge. A total of 243,114 Impala SS coupes and convertibles were built for 1965.
The 1966 Impala SS was face-lifted with a revised grille and new triple rectangular taillights that replaced the triple round units. A chrome beltline strip shared with regular Impalas was added in response to complaints about door dings on the clean-lined 1965s. Inside were new Strato bucket seats with thinner and higher seatbacks, and a center console with an optional gauge package available. Sales of the 1966 Impala SS dropped by more than 50% to around 117,000 units; this was mainly due to the sport/performance car market switching from full-sized models to intermediates (including Chevy's own Chevelle SS396 and Pontiac GTO), along with the emerging market for the even smaller pony car market created by the Ford Mustang in 1964 that Chevrolet would respond to with the Camaro for 1967.
The 1967 Impala SS was less decorated than other Impalas; Super Sports had black grille accents and black-accented body-side and rear fender moldings. Lesser models leaned more toward brightwork inside and out. Buyers could choose either vinyl bucket seats with a center console, or a Strato-Bench seat with a fold-down center armrest. Of the 76,055 Impala SS models built, just 2,124 were ordered with RPO Z24, a special performance package that included RPO F41 heavy-duty suspension and other performance goodies, RPO L36 (385 brake horsepower (287 kW) Turbo-Jet 427-cubic-inch (7.0 L) V8, as well as a special trim package that replaced the "Impala SS" badges with large "SS427" emblems on the front grille and rear trim. The Z24 package also included a special hood with chrome-plated intake. Only about 400 Super Sports had a six-cylinder engine. in 1967–1968, 390 brake horsepower (290 kW) in 1969) or L72 (425 brake horsepower (317 kW)) in 1968–1969. Special SS427 badging, inside and out, was the rule, but few were sold since muscle car enthusiasts were looking toward big-block intermediates such as the Chevelle SS396 and Plymouth Road Runner.
In 1968 as Caprice sales escalated, those of the Impala Super Sport suffered a decline. Much of this drop in sales was no doubt due to the availability of big-block engines in the mid-sized (and lighter) Chevelle, and even Novas could be special-ordered with the 396-engine with the new-for-'68 body. No longer a separate series, the Super Sport was a mere $179 option package for the two Impala coupes and the convertible. Only 38,210 Impalas were so-equipped, including 1,778 with the Z24 package, which was carried over from 1967. In 1968 only, SS427s could be ordered without the Z03 SS package, which meant SS427 equipment but no bucket seats or center console. The Impala SS could be identified by "Impala Super Sport" badges on the front grille, rear fenders and trunk lid. Z24-optioned cars included "SS427" emblems to replace the "Impala Super Sport" badges, a special layered "pancake" hood, and three "gills" mounted on the front fender aft of the wheel well.
Because of their rarity, Z24 cars command a much higher price on the collector-car market today. Although many owners tried to "clone" regular Impalas into SS427s, the unavailability of the special hoods and other trim items (on the '67 and '68 cars) makes this a difficult (and expensive) process to successfully execute.
In 1969, the Impala SS was available only as the Z24 (SS427), coming exclusively with a 427-cubic-inch (7.0 L) V8 of 335 brake horsepower (250 kW), 390 brake horsepower (290 kW), or 425 brake horsepower (317 kW). This was the final year for the Impala SS until 1994. The 1969 Impala SS was often considered a "sleeper" in that there was no distinctive SS badging inside the car except for an "SS" logo the steering wheel (again, there was no Z03 offered that year), and a true 1969 Z24-optioned car is the rarest and most collectible of any year with this package available. Like the '68s, the Z24 could be ordered on the Impala convertible, Sport Coupe, or Custom Coupe. 1969 was the last year that the Impala SS was offered with the Z24 package, but the only year in which front disc brakes and 15-inch (380 mm) wheels were standard; that made the 1969 SS427 mechanically better than the previous versions in standard form. Therefore, the potential buyer of an advertised 1969 SS427 that has 14-inch wheels and/or drum brakes in front, would be aware that such a car may not be an authentic Z24 original. Although sales of 1969 Z24-optioned Impalas increased to approximately 2,455 units from the 1,778 Z03-optioned units of 1968, and high-powered big-block V8 engines continued to be available, there would be no Impala SS for 1970. The 427 was also replaced on the engine offerings list by a new Turbo-Jet 454 producing 390 hp for 1970.
The 1965–70 GM B platform is the fourth best selling automobile platform in history after the Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Model T and the Lada Riva.
Fifth generation (1971–1976)
The Impala remained Chevrolet's top-selling model with the fifth generation. A high-performance big block V8 was still available in the form of the Turbo-Jet 454, which produced 365 hp in 1971, but power decreased as the years went along. The 1971 redesigned B-body would be the largest car ever offered by Chevrolet. The hardtop Sport Coupe continued to be offered; it was a smoothly sloped semi-fastback reminiscent of the 1961 "bubbletop" styling. A three-speed manual transmission remained standard at the beginning of the year, but in the spring of 1971 all V8-equipped full-size GM cars got Turbo Hydra-Matic as standard equipment. Interestingly, Powerglide remained optionally available for six-cylinder cars until the 1973 models.
The 1972 model introduced a grille which extended below the bumper. Powertrains consisted of mostly V8 engines. The 250 inline six was standard; the 350 2bbl V8 became the standard engine from 1973–1976, with 350 cubic inches (5.7 L), 400 cubic inches (6.6 L), 402 cubic inches (6.6 L) (through 72) or 454 cubic inches (7.4 L). However, the long-familiar OHV six-cylinder Turbo Thrift engine continued to be standard on Sport Coupe and four-door pillared sedan models through the end of the 1972 model year. The best-selling body style was the Custom Coupe. Beginning in 1972, all engines were designed to run on unleaded gasoline. 1972 saw the last Impala convertible; it sold 6,456 copies, placing fourth with just under 9 percent of the market, right behind the Corvette 6,508, ahead of the Mustang's 6,401.
1973 Chevrolets featured a larger, shock-absorbing front bumper due to new federal mandates which required 5-mile-per-hour (8.0 km/h) impact protection. New taillights were mounted in the (still) conventional rear bumper. This was the first year of the Caprice Classic convertible. Tweaks to the suspension and frame gave better roadability, according to Chevrolet general manager John Z. DeLorean. Steering wheels and instrument panels were color-keyed to interior colors, as opposed to the matte black used in 1971–72.
In 1974, the rear bumper was redesigned with shock absorbers to meet the upgraded standards and new tail lights were featured. The front end was also freshened as in previous years, with a new grille and headlight bezels, a new header panel, and a bumper with a drop down center section. The marker lights moved back up beside the headlamps once again. This was the only year of the 1971–1976 models the Impala had a different front end design than the Caprice Classic, as other years used either a grille insert or previous year Caprice front to distinguish the two. The rooflines of the Impala coupes were also revised. For 1974 the Custom Coupe was no longer a hardtop, with large fixed rear quarter glass and a thick B-pillar. The Sport Coupe, still a pillar-less hardtop, now used larger roll-down quarter glass like that of the 1971–73 Custom Coupe, and had a narrower, fastback style, flat back window. Sedans used carryover body shells from previous years.
A limited-edition Spirit of America package was offered in 1974 on Sport Coupe models; primarily an appearance package, it featured white or blue body paint, a white full vinyl top, white upholstery with red or blue trim, color-keyed seat belts and floormats, special wheel covers, optional white rally wheels, sports-styled dual remote outside rear view mirrors, a vinyl body side molding insert, and red pin-striping. Special fender and dashboard badges announced the package to passers-by and passengers. Chevy also offered Nova and Vega Spirit of America versions as well.
The 1975 Impala used a 1974 carried-over Caprice front end, with a grille insert and emblem change. The Caprice model was revised with a new front end with a swept back style header panel with recessed headlight buckets, a new hood, and new fenders. Also in 1975 upholstery, door panels and the dashboard were revised as were the radio and climate control graphics. Speedometers read up to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), and added kilometers per hour. 1975 officially debuted a High Energy or HEI Ignition system, however it was installed on some 1974 cars as a clandestine option. Catalytic converters were also introduced as were several new options, including an Econominder gauge package, intermittent wipers, and a divided 50–50 bench seat with passenger-side recliner (with a choice of sport cloth or vinyl trim). This was the final year of the full-size Chevrolet convertible.
A Landau model available for 1975–1976 models featured a landau vinyl roof (with a chrome band across the roof), a choice of special paint colors, sports-styled dual remote outside rearview mirrors, color-keyed wheel covers, a vinyl bodyside molding insert, and pin-striping. Inside were color-keyed seat belts and floormats. Fender and dashboard emblems rounded out the package. The 2-door hardtop model (dubbed the "Sport Coupe") was discontinued after 1975, leaving redesigned Custom Coupe, with its wide "B" pillar and fixed rear window, the only 2-door Impala available in 1976. This body style had been introduced for the 1974 model year, a precursor to Detroit's complete abandonment of pillarless body styles before the end of the Seventies. 1976 Impalas used a previous year Caprice nose, with a new "egg crate" grille insert. The Impala had round headlamps while the Caprice used the new quad rectangular ones.
- 235 cu in (3.9 L) Blue Flame, 1958–1962
- 230 cu in (3.8 L) 140 bhp (104 kW; 142 PS) Turbo Thrift, 1963–1965
- 250 cu in (4.1 L) 155 bhp (116 kW; 157 PS) Turbo Thrift, 1966–1969
- 283 cu in (4.6 L) 195 bhp (145 kW; 198 PS) to 220 bhp (164 kW; 223 PS) Turbo Fire, 1957–1967
- 307 cu in (5.0 L) 200 bhp (149 kW; 203 PS) Turbo Fire, 1968
- 327 cu in (5.4 L) 235 bhp (175 kW; 238 PS) to 375 bhp (280 kW; 380 PS) Turbo Fire, 1961–1969
- 350 cu in (5.7 L) 250 bhp (186 kW; 253 PS) to 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS) Turbo Fire, 1969–1980
- 400 cu in (6.6 L) 255 bhp (190 kW; 259 PS) to 265 bhp (198 kW; 269 PS) Turbo Fire, 1970–1976
- 348 cu in (5.7 L) 250 bhp (186 kW; 253 PS) to 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS) W-series Turbo Thrust, 1958–1961
- 409 cu in (6.7 L) 340 bhp (254 kW; 345 PS) to 425 bhp (317 kW; 431 PS) W-series Turbo Thrust, mid-1961 to early 1965 (This engine was featured in the Beach Boys song "409".)
- 396 cu in (6.5 L) 265 bhp (198 kW; 269 PS) to 425 bhp (317 kW; 431 PS) Turbo-Jet, mid-1965 to 1969
- 427 cu in (7.0 L) 335 bhp (250 kW; 340 PS) to 425 bhp (317 kW; 431 PS) Turbo-Jet, 1966–1969
- 454 cu in (7.4 L) 345 bhp (257 kW; 350 PS) to 390 bhp (291 kW; 395 PS) Turbo-Jet, 1970–1976
Sixth generation (1977–1985)
The changes in the automobile marketplace resulted in Chevrolet redesigning the Impala once again in 1977 to meet changing demands. The new downsized Impalas were shorter in length, taller and narrower than before. The new Impala's frame was a shortened version of the one introduced in 1971 and would be utilized until 1996 when the B-body production line was shut down. Even with its trimmer exterior dimensions, the new Impala featured increased headroom, rear-seat legroom and trunk space. Production of the downsized model increased substantially over 1976, and the Impala regained the number one US sales position. The redesigned 1977 Impala/Caprice was named Motor Trend's car of the year.
Pillarless hardtops were discontinued, the result of rumors of federal rollover standards looming in the near future. The 1977–1979 coupes sported a double bent tempered rear window similar to the 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Aerocoupe. In 1980, all new sheet-metal was used, although the body style remained similar.
Engine availability was reduced in 1977; the inline-6 was reintroduced with 110 horsepower (82 kW). Options included 267-cubic-inch (4.4 L) and 305-cubic-inch (5.0 L) V8 engines. The 350-cubic-inch (5.7 L) V8 engine was optional in some years. Oldsmobile's 350-cubic-inch (5.7 L) V8 diesel engine also was available.
The Impala and the upscale Caprice sold well into the early 1980s. The Impala was reduced to the base model full-size Chevrolet and was popular with fleet usage – including taxi and police pursuit vehicles but was discontinued in 1985, while the Caprice continued unchanged until 1990.
Evolution of the Impala
- Supernatural- A TV show featuring a 1967 black Chevy Impala.