The 3 Lives of the Impala

Written by Mike Brazeau






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The Impala previewed as a one of a kind show car at the 1956 Motorama. It looked more like a 4 passenger Corvette and was sometimes referred to as the Corvette Impala. For 1958, the Impala's first year of production, it was a special, top of the line Bel Air, available only as a coupe or convertible. It was not until 1959 that Impala would become a series on its own and be offered as a sport coupe, sport sedan, 4 door sedan, convertible or station wagon.

The Super Sport package was introduced in 1961, available on any model, although it appears all of the approximately 450 built were coupes or convertibles. This helped Impala sales top the one million mark by 1965. By 1966 the Caprice became the top dog in the full size car line, after being offered as an option package on the 1965 Impala 4 door hardtop. Just as the Impala had dethroned the Bel Air in 1958, the Caprice had done the same to the Impala.

With market demand switching to smaller cars by the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the Impala was downsized for the 1977 model year and by 1986 the Impala name had disappeared, only to be brought back in 1993 as an SS sedan concept and put in production from 1994-1996. Dropped again and down for a second time, but not out, the Impala returned again for the 2000 model year and continues today as one of Chevrolet and General Motors greatest success stories. The Impala has always been a lot of car for the money and has offered an almost endless choice of drivetrains and options and has always given the customer the feeling of owning a car that was custom built to their own specifications, which it was.

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