by Lloyd Frazier
This is one of best designs the Chevrolet flagship sedan has donned since the 1994 –1996 Impala SS model years. Then, it disappeared from the lineup until the 2000 model year. The eight generation Impala was OK, just not great. The exterior of the current production ninth generation Impala, in my opinion, lacks appeal and blends in well with many of the other bland looking rental car sedans on the road.
When the Impala first hit the scene in 1958, smack dab in the middle of the rocket and fin design themes, it was a bulky, chrome ladened beast that competed with its other GM siblings similar offerings at Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.
The 1958 design was short lived. Next came the second generation ‘59 Impala that was quite a polarizing design. You either loved it or hated it. One thing was for sure, it was instantly recognizable with those huge wings, massive back deck and tear drop taillights.
Thankfully, the triple taillight design returned in 1961 for the third generation Impala. This generation, from 1961 - 1964, is the most popular designs for classic car collectors. My all time favorite is the 1961 bubbletop 2-door sedan. This was the year the Super Sport (SS) option debuted and would live on until 1969. The SS designation would not return until 1994. The Nomad designation saw its last iteration in the same year.
The totally redesigned fourth generation Impala, in its first year of production in 1965, set an all-time sales record for Chevrolet selling more than 1 million units in the US. The Impala never saw sales numbers like that since. My second favorite Impala is the 1965 SS with the 396 CID V-8.
The following fifth and sixth generation Impalas fell into design obscurity. It was not the iconic, stand out car that it once was. Impala was dropped from the Chevrolet line for three model years, 1991-1993.
In 1994, the Impala, only offered in SS dress, hit the scene as a less bloated, high-performance version of the Caprice. The 1996 model saw improvements and is already becoming a collector for muscle car enthusiasts.
Now comes an all new design for Impala. The tenth generation Impala is larger and more upscale than the outgoing model. The plans for the new Impala to be based on the Holden VE Commodore (think Pontiac G8) with a V8 engine and rear-wheel drive were dropped due to new federal regulations. Instead, it will share the Epsilon II platform that the current Cadillac XTS is built on. There goes the promise of a rear-wheel drive, V8 muscle car…well, not exactly. The SS debuts this year as well!
Check out the GM promo vid below.