(Image of a 1966 Chevrolet Impala)
The Chevrolet Impala may be considered one of the most important automobiles in American automobile history. It has set sales records that to this day still stand. The Impala started its life in 1958 as the top trim level of the Chevy Bel Air. It became its own model line in 1959. The trademark signature of the Impala was its triple taillights (six total), and was Chevrolet's top of the line model until the Caprice was released in 1966. The Impala became the best selling car in America for 1960.
True performance was introduced with the 1961 Impala SS with a 348 ci V8 engine, offering up to 350 horsepower, or the 409 ci V8 with up to 425 horsepower. The SS performance wouldn't last long. Starting in 1962, the SS was a trim level package, not a performance package, but all the available engines could still be ordered with the SS package. The exception to this was the "SS427 Impala", which was available between 1967 and 1969, and included a 427 ci V8 engine, better suspension, and other performance parts. They were not big sellers in the muscle car market since owners were looking for smaller cars with the big engines, not the larger car that the Impala was. For 1970 the SS option disappeared, but the 454 ci V8 was now available.
The Impala was redesigned in 1965, and sold over 1 million units, which is still an American model record that still stands today. The Impala Caprice became the top trim model in 1965, and for 1966 the Caprice became its own model, and became the new top of the line model for Chevrolet. The Impala became the mid level model, yet was still the best selling model for Chevrolet throughout the late 1970's. Sales would dip in the mid 1970's due to the oil crisis and new EPA standards, but the Impala was redesigned in 1977 and reduced in size, bringing it the top sales honors again for an American automobile line. The model would be discontinued in 1985.
The Impala was resurrected for 1994 through 1996, and was labeled as Impala SS. These models were modified Caprices, and had the Caprice 9C1 police package. The LT1 was the engine, and the only difference of Impala SS engine and the Corvette LT1 was the use of cast-iron heads verses the Corvette's use of aluminum heads. The model did not change much through the three years. For the 1994 model, the only available color was black, and the next year Dark Cherry Metallic and Dark Grey Green were new options, although black was the dominant choice. The shifter was moved to the floor for the last year in 1996. The 1994 through 1996 Impala SS's have their own "following", and there are many clubs only dedicated to this small series.