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.
Six Interesting Facts about Chevy Impala
In 1965, the Beatles' 65 album was at its peak as a top-seller. It was also the year when the fourth-generation Chevrolet Impala sold more than one million units in the United States alone. It competed against the then-famous Ford Galaxie 500 and Plymouth Fury, along with other full-sized models. The said model sports a full-width perimeter frame, a redesigned body with curved, frameless side glass, and many more. Incredibly, this world record of the best-selling automobile in the US still stands today.
Known as the most expensive passenger model by Chevrolet during the 60s, the Impala was named after a medium-sized southern African antelope. Nestled in savannas and woodlands, there are about two million existing species of impalas in Africa. This is twice the number of the Chevrolet Impala units sold in United States alone in 1965.
Want to know what made the Chevy Impala stand out from other models? The first generation Impalas had three taillights on each side, whereas other models only had two, although it was this year when dual headlamps were popular. This six-taillight design was a first for Chevy, and it became one of the early Impala's trademarks. However, the year after, the second generation Impala sported a huge, teardrop-shaped taillight on each side.
The 1963 Chevy Impala became a collectors' favorite because of its body style. It jived with the long and low-styled vehicles that were popular during that time. Its chrome details and aluminum rear taillight panel made it look stunning and classy at the same time. Not only that, it was powered by a potent V8 engine-what more can you ask for?
The 1964 Chevy Impala was featured by American hip-hop artist Dr. Dre in his song \"Let Me Ride.\" In the song, he narrated his adventures while driving his Impala. The song was the third and final single from his debut album entitled \"The Chronic.\" It reached no. 34 on the Hot 100 and even won in the Grammy Awards under the category \"Best Rap Solo Performance\" in 1994.
Right-hand drive Chevy Impalas were manufactured in Canada and were sold to other countries outside the United States. These vehicles utilized the features of the 1961 Pontiac dashboard.
Chevy Impala Problems
As the reigning title-holder of the most number of units sold in United States back in 1965, there are, of course, numerous expectations for the Chevy Impala. This full-sized sedan is widely used as police cars in several countries due to its compact size and powerful engine. However, the Chevy Impala, just like any other vehicle, also has flaws and issues that cannot all be avoided, especially during the production process. Here are some of the common problems you might experience with this best-selling car:
Lower front control arms
Numerous complaints pertaining to a fracture in the lower front control arms of Chevy Impala police cars led General Motor to recall over 38,000 units in United States and Canada. This recall only includes the Chevy Impala police cars manufactured from 2008 to 2012. The lower front control arms are responsible in supporting the wheels. When one of these control arms gets fractured, it could result in loss of control, which could inevitably lead to a crash. A good indicator of this problem is a loud squealing sound from the tires whenever the car is driven in low speed.
Another problem with the police car-version of the Chevy Impala is related to its steering. A rack and pinion failure was pin-pointed by drivers as a common problem with their Impalas. Some of the complaints involved the locking of the steering whenever the vehicle is driven in high speed. Since police cars are often driven with urgency, their steering assembly components are more prone to wear and tear than those that are used only as ordinary cars. General Motors, however, didn't issue a recall to fix this problem.
Seat belt assembly
A recall was issued in 2010 for the Chevy Impalas with the model year 2009 to 2010. This is due to the defective front safety belt webbing that could put the lives of the passengers at risk. The defect is said to violate the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standard no. 210, or the \"seat belt assembly anchorages.\" Over 300,000 Chevy Impalas were potentially affected with this seat belt assembly issue.