The first Chevrolet Impala was introduced to the public in 1956 in a motor show that was sponsored by General Motors, the Motorama. The Impala was originally a Corvette-based prototype car with a sporty four-passenger coupe and was originally created for Bel Air, an executive coupe and convertible also made by Chevrolet. By 1958, the consumer finally tasted its one-of-a-kind driving experience when the Impala came out in the market. With much room, performance, amenities and quality, the Impala was the answer to what Americans were looking for in a car.
The first Impala added special trim and deluxe interiors and was rated as the most expensive car among the entire Chevrolet lineup. Chevrolet produced 125,480 Bel Air Impala coupes and 55,989 convertibles in its debut year. Engine options for the model were a 235-cubic-inch six-cylinder, a 283 V-8, or three new 348 V-8s; a 250hp turbo-thrust, a 280hp with 3-2bbl, or a 315hp Super Turbo-Thrust model with high-compression heads and solid lifters. The Impala was known with its images of fun, youthfulness, spontaneity and pride.
A year later, Chevrolet made the Impala a model of its own. It was released with both two and four-door version. It was radically different, making the previews year model obsolete. It was upgraded with mechanical advancements, improved brakes, new suspension and easier handling point. The 1959 Impalas were longer, lower, wider, and curvier. Chevy's bold new face dropped the headlights seven inches from the previews year to the minimum height allowable. Interiors gained as much as five inches in width. They also had the wildest tailfins besides Cadillac. The rear end sported "bat wing" rear fenders, "cat's eye" tail lamps, and a huge decklid.
At the turn of the '60s, the Impala redefined itself. The tail fins were gone, chrome trim was subdued, and the outspoken designs of the '50s gave way to cleaner, crisper, faster-looking edges and streamlined, rocket-like shapes. A mid-year option on the 1961 Impala was the Super Sport which was available on all body styles. The SS model was also introduced in the '60s.
Several redesigns brought the Impala to greater popularity in the years that came. The latest Impala, for instance, received several body modifications and improvements totally different from the original. The 2005 model is available in three trims: the Sedan, LS, and the original SS. With these new models, Impala continues to hit the road with different definitions but still posses the original characteristics the made it popular in the hearts of Americans and the best selling model in the history of Chevrolet.