Chevrolet Impala Overview
Following the Federal Highway Act of 1956, the need for capable cars increased dramatically. In order to make a vehicle faster, bigger, and more powerful than the Bel Air, the Chevrolet Impala was born. Over the history of the Chevrolet Impala, the car has evolved dramatically. The Impala wasn’t always successful, either. This car was eliminated and re-introduced multiple times. Today, the Chevy Impala is a successful full-size sedan in Chevrolet’s impressive lineup. It’s been 58 years since the first Impala, so let’s take a look back at the history of the Chevrolet Impala Through the Years.
Chevrolet Impala Through the Years
1st Generation (1958)
- Released in 1957 as a 1958 model, the Impala was the most luxurious Chevy of its time, with a base price just over $2500.
- The first generation was available as a coupe and convertible.
- The ’58 Impala featured Harley-Earl design cues.
- Other design features included triple tail lamps and dual headlamps.
- A 4.6L V8 was the standard engine on the 1958 Impala.
2nd Generation (1959 – 1960)
- After only 1 year, the Impala took on a major redesign with low, lean, and wide styling.
- Rather than tailfins, the rear end of the Impala had a bat-wing tail.
- Four-door sedans and hardtops were added to the lineup.
- The ’59 Impala utilized a new X-frame chassis.
3rd Generation (1961 – 1964)
- The 1961 featured a clean, more straight-forward exterior design.
- The Super Sport (SS) badge was introduced, featuring a 6.7L V8 engine.
- A wagon body style was introduced.
4th Generation (1965 – 1970)
- The Impala was redesigned again, featuring a sharper angled windshield, reshaped vent windows, frameless side glass, and more.
- By this generation, Chevy sold over 1 million Impalas in the US in 1 year!
- Nine, that’s right, 9 V8 engines were available ranging from 4.6L to 7.4L.
- A 4.1L 6-cylinder engine was also available.
- GM ditched the X Frame and transitioned to a full-width perimeter frame.
5th Generation (1971 – 1976)
- At the time, the ’71 Impala was the biggest Chevy ever.
- Performance suffered in this generation, as engines had lower compression rates to utilize both leaded and unleaded fuel.
- The convertible was discontinued in 1972, and has never been re-introduced.
- To comply with federal safety standards, energy-absorbing bumpers were added in 1973.
6th Generation (1977 – 1985)
- In response to the energy crisis, 6th gen Impalas were shorter, narrower, and taller.
- Base price was $4,876 in 1977.
- In 1982, the Impala sport coupe was eliminated due to low sales.
- In 1984, the ability to increase and decrease cruise control by 1 mph was added.
- By 1985, the Impala nameplate was retired as more practical Chevys took over.
7th Generation (1994 – 1996)
- After many years of hibernation, GM shocked the auto world with a Chevy Impala SS concept at the ’92 LA Auto Show.
- The 1994 Impala was reintroduced with a 5.7L V8 engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission.
- The base price was $22,495.
- This 4-door only Impala had a rounded exterior design.
- As SUV popularity rose, the Impala SS was eliminated again.
8th Generation (2000 – 2005)
- Replacing the Chevy Lumina, the 2000 Impala was reintroduced.
- For the first time, the Impala was FWD and lacked a single V8 engine option.
- This Impala was only available as a sedan, utilizing GM’s W-body platform.
- The SS trim was available by 2004, offering a supercharged 3.8L V6 that made 240 hp.
9th Generation (2006 – 2013)
- In 2006, Chevy redesigned the Impala with a more simple, rounded, big-car approach.
- The Impala SS was now powered by a 5.3L V8 engine that produced 303 hp.
- Chevy powered the non-SS Impalas with a variety of V6 engines, but concluded with a 3.6L V6 engine in 2013.
- By the end of this generation, Impala owners enjoyed MP3 capability, satellite radio, and Bluetooth as standard features.
10th Generation (2014 – )
- In 2014, the Chevy Impala received a long-overdue redesign, adding complex exterior sculpting, modern tech, and a more refined interior.
- Current engine options include a 2.5L 4-cylinder that produces 196 hp, and a 3.6L V6 that produces 260 hp.
- Optional features include ventilated seats, Apple Carplay, Chevy MyLink, blind spot monitors, forward collision warnings, keyless ignition, rearview camera, parking sensors, Bose audio, navigation, and much more.
Chevy Impala Fast Facts
- In 1969, Chevy offered “liquid tire chain,” a feature that sprayed an ice-melting liquid onto the tires at the push of a button.
- Kobe Bryant owned a modified 1963 Impala. This car was listed on eBay for $125,000, but didn’t sell.
- The Chevy Impala was the last car to offer a bench seat, a feature discontinued after 2013.