On The Road with Johnny B ..1964 Chevrolet Impala. A Million Strong
In 1964 GM and Chevrolet had the world as its kingdom. Long before OPEC and the early 1970′s Gas Crisis caused people to stop buying full size cars Chevy sold “One Million” Impala’s in 1964. Nobody made a better fullsize car for the price than Chevy.
The Impala came in five different body styles. A four door sedan and hardtop, station wagon, convertible and the top selling two door hardtop. You could opt for many options and upgrades. For those looking to add some spice to their Impala you could get the “SS”. Engines choices ranged from the 265 horsepower 283 “Small Block” v8 all the way up to the road burning 425 horsepower twin carbureted 409 V8.
Perhaps the most popular upgrade was the 300 horsepower 327 small block V8. Transmission choices were a 3 speed manual, 4 speed or the outdated two speed powerglide. Options were plenty. You could fill your Impala with nice touches like power steering and brakes for easy handling. To make yourself more comfy A/C, power windows, seats and trunk were available.
Starting at $2788.00 for a two door hardtop and weighing in at 3415 LBS your 1964 Impala was less than a dollar a pound. Chevy bragged that the Impala had “Jet Smooth” luxury. Riding on air was the Impala’s strong suit. maybe not the best thing for spirited handling but perfect for cruising while hold holding your favorite girl on the cushy bench seat.
The Impala was about more value for you buck. In a comparision test Motor Trend Magazine gave it top honors over offerings from AMC, Ford and Chrysler. “Alot of car for not alot of money” Motor Trend proclaimed in its 1963 road test. Chevy would do a total re-style in 1965 and Impala sales would remain strong for years.
When OPEC shut the pipe line down in 1973 large cars like the Impala became dinosours. GM would never recover and would lose market share to Japan and Europe year after year. The Impala was put to rest and re-born in a number of remakes.
Todays Impala while a decent car is not very “Impala-like”. Bland and front wheel drive it will never recapture the glory days of 1964 when a million people the Impala a car and a legend.