Saturday 28 February 2015
The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile (upper mid-size from 2000 to 2007) which was built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for model years 1958 to 1985, 1994 to 1996 and 2000 to date. Deriving its name from the South 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, in turn, 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 Hi-Mid sedan. As of February 2014, the 2014 Impala ranked number one among Affordable Large Cars in U.S. News & World Report's rankings. As of 2014, the Impala Limited is sold in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Impala is sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East.
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."
Significantly 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 equalled. All new full-size Chevrolets 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 Chevrolet "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 Chevrolet 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 1965s 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 which featured Corvette-inspired front and rear fender bulges. The curves were the most pronounced with the 1967–1968 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. A black 1967 Sport Sedan 4-door hardtop was used in the television series Supernatural, and as such, this model has seen a substantial increase in value to collectors.
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 styling had become passé for full-size Chevrolets. 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-inch 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. Chevrolet 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 the 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 to 1968. During the 1969 model year Impala production topped Caprice production by 611,000 units. Impala station wagons were renamed Kingswood, a name which would continue through 1972. 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 countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, etc., until 1969. They used a version of the 1965 Impala dash panel — without provision for a radio and installed in a dashboard moulding made of fibreglass, not metal — until 1969. Radios (centrally mounted) and heaters were locally sourced and wipers parked in the center of the windscreen. Australian models were assembled in Australia from kits, as this lessened tax on the cars. The Australian cars had locally-sourced amber flashing rear indicators replacing the clear reversing lenses, as red flashers were banned there. For New Zealand assembly, the bodies were supplied from Canada already welded, painted and trimmed.
- engine: V8
- capacity: 5700 cc
- horsepower: 305 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 195 km/h