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Come and discover the history of the Chevrolet Impala at Denis Breton Chevrolet in St-Eustache.

Chevrolet Impala: a car full of history

It’s not uncommon to come across a Chevrolet Impala on the streets, even today. This car has been introduced on the American market in 1958 to become a high-end vehicle within the reach of the middle class. In Quebec, the Impala is a symbol of authority, respect and order because it has been used (and still is) for a long time by our police forces.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of this pillar of the American automotive history.

Impala’s origins and first models

Just like many models built by GM in the middle of the last century, the Chevrolet Impala (named after an African antelope) draws its inspiration from the legendary Corvette. Despite its lack of resemblance with the aforementioned vehicle, the Impala takes from this famous predecessor its sport side. The first generation of Impala (produced between 1958 and 1972) has been introduced as a convertible coupe. It was a high-end version of the very successful – at the time - Chevrolet Bel Air. The six rear lights (never seen on a car yet) and the classical vibe of this vehicle made it become – in a very short time - the best-selling Chevrolet first and then the best-selling car in the United States (between 1960 and 1970). A sedan version quickly succeeded to the first model in 1959. An improved variation of the 1959 model – the Impala Caprice – followed in 1965. That one added a more refined design that included a wooded dashboard and special door handles. This model (optional at first) was then (the very next year) brought to the basic package of the high-end offering of the company under the name Chevrolet Caprice. However, the traditional Impala remained the most prominent Chevrolet vehicle until the end of the 70s, especially because of the introduction of a bigger model in 1971. The Impala might be considered as being the first muscle car and an inspiration for those that followed in the United States. The SS (Super Sport) constitutes the best example of it. The 1961 version stands above the rest thanks to its 5.7-liter engine delivering a minimum of 305 HP (the 340 and 350 HP engines were optional). All this power came with special rims and a high-performance suspension. In the following years, the entry-level SS model was only distinguishable by its design while the sport features were added as options.

chevrolet impala 1973-1985 denis breton


The oil crisis – 1973-1985

The oil crisis and the impacts it had on the American consumers’ wallets forced GM to downgrade the size and the power of its vehicles. The Impala has been redesigned in 1977 to take into account this new reality. The model introduced this year was smaller, but a bit taller, than its predecessors. These new proportions helped the Impala to steal the spotlight on the budget cars’ segment - for the time - of the American market.

chevrolet impala 1994-2005 denis breton


The 90s – 1994-1996

The Impala SS model made a strong comeback in the mid-90s. It has been further redesigned in an effort to adjust to the post-oil crisis constraints. The version introduced in 1994 (inspired from a 1992’s prototype) immediately conquered the American market and remains to this day one of the best vehicles ever produced by GM, according to some.

The early 2000s

Apparently prone to strong comebacks, the Impala made another reappearance in 2000 as a middle-range sedan. This new version was initially intended as a replacement for the Chevrolet Lumina. Fun fact, the 2000 model was built in Ontario, Canada. The 6-cylinder engine was the only option available, unlike its predecessors, and the SS made a comeback of its own in 2005. It’s around this time that our law enforcement services started to equip their fleets with Impalas, and some of them are still on the road today.

From 2006 to the present

The model introduced in 2006 brought a major innovation to Chevrolet that equipped its SS model with a 5.3-liter, 8-cylinder engine (a first on a front-wheel drive car) delivering slightly more than 300 HP. The best feature of this engine was to allow for the use of only 4 cylinders (thus reducing the fuel consumption) in case the full power of the car was not required. Some say that the Impala 2006 was the first American muscle car of our generation. Nothing major happened to the Impala until the introduction of a new production platform in 2013.

The future is on our doorstep, says Denis Breton Chevrolet Buick at Saint-Eustache, near Laval and the North Shore

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Denis Breton Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltee
364 Dubois, St-Eustache
QC, J7P 4W9
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