Thursday, August 18, 2011
As the ISSCA meets up this weekend at the Woodward Dream Cruise, we look at the history of the 1994-1996 Impala SS
Chevrolet is a major sponsor of the cruise this year, with all kinds of displays and events happening as part of their 100th Anniversary celebration. Included in all the action, the Impala SS Club of America is holding their annual ISSCA Nationals event in conjunction with the Dream Cruise.
NASCAR fans, you may notice that the Chevy guys are driving V8, rear-wheel-drive Impalas. And even though this racing affiliation is supposed to help sell the street version of the popular family sedan, there hasn't been a rear-wheel-drive Impala in dealer showrooms since 1996.
The Impala started as an upscale trim option in 1958, but the “SS” option in 1961 is where our story begins. When equipped with the famous 409-c.i. V8, a ’61 SS was capable of quarter miles in the 15’s. Performance and popularity of the Impala SS grew throughout the 60’s, but the SS disappeared after the ’69 model year. As the 70’s wore on, governmental regulations and gas shortages transformed the Impala to more of an affordable family car, while the up-level Caprice added a little luxury to the mix. The days of indulgent performance were gone. By the '80s, the Caprice was the consumer’s choice, while the Impala, which had been relegated mostly to fleet applications, finally faded away.
’96 was the last year for the rear-wheel-drive Impala SS, because the Arlington, TX plant that built the GM B- and D-Body lines was converted to truck and SUV production.
Dad put about 9,000 miles on this car in 1996, then parked it in his garage. When I purchased it from him a few years ago, it only had 13,000 miles on it.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a car picture-takin’ fool. That even gets worse when it’s my own car that I’m taking the pictures of. See them in the slideshow below.