Has the Chevrolet Impala ever been a real muscle car? -MotorBiscuit



Many American cars from the 60s and 70s are considered muscle cars. The point is, they weren’t all, and most weren’t. The Chevrolet Impala is all about low driving and cruising, but could it ever be considered a purebred scorched earth muscle car? It was rear-wheel drive, had two doors, and had massive engines, so it should look perfect on paper. The classic Impala may have stepped down as a cruising low-rider, but at one point it may have been a muscle car.

The first generation Chevrolet Impala was a work of art

1958 Chevrolet Impala on display at Tacoma | George Rose / Getty Images

Chevrolet released the Impala in 1956 as a coupe with miles of engine bay protruding from an upwardly curved vertical windshield. It exuded elegance with accented trim notes along the doors, and most importantly, it looked fast. Unfortunately, this was only the prototype. What actually sold was completely different.

The first generation rolled off the assembly line in 1958, to the rhythm of four horizontal headlights, a more aggressive front end with right angles and loaded trims spread throughout. It was still a beautiful car, with a more conventional look than other vehicles from the 1950s. Barely a year ago, the design has changed dramatically. It was wider and lower, with a rear in the shape of a soaring bird. Sitting inside the car was like looking through the floor to ceiling windows of an airport. It was so huge. The first two generations were decidedly classics, not muscle cars.

Third-generation Chevrolet Impala hits gym

1963 Chevrolet Impala track at Daytona

1963 Chevrolet Impala at the edge of the track | ISC Archives / CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

The third generation Chevrolet Impala got boxier and simpler. No more fancy accents and scandalous rears in favor of a sober style. It would be the first time the Impala has come close to being a muscle car. Minimal changes have occurred to the Impala over the years, but its boxy styling was retained until its fifth generation in the early 1970s. From there it succumbed to personal luxury in the company of the Ford Thunderbird. It was no longer a muscle car until 1996.

Why the 1963 and 1996 Impalas were muscle cars

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS parked outside

Chevrolet Impala SS 1996 | Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Impalas most closely resembled muscle cars in 1963. Not only was the styling noticeable, but Chevrolet gave the 1963 Impala Sport Coupe a 425 horsepower 409, with the help of two carburettors on an aluminum intake. , according to Hemmings. Mated only to a manual transmission, the 409-equipped Impala could hit 60 mph in about 6.3 seconds.

The second and last time an Impala achieved muscle car status was in 1996 with the Impala SS. Chevrolet gave it an LT1 V8, heavy-duty suspension, big brakes, a limited-slip differential, and dual exhaust. The engine was only mated to an automatic transmission and developed 260 horsepower, which propelled the car to 60 mph in around 7 seconds.

The Chevrolet Impala was absolutely a muscle car

There is no doubt that the Impala has become a muscle car twice. It was rear-wheel drive and a large engine was inserted in the engine compartment. Sadly after 1996 the Impala took a dark turn, became front-wheel drive, and offered only a V6, but let’s not forget, the Dodge Dart suffered a similar demise.

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