Chevy Impala History Broken Down in Less Than 13 Minutes

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From big muscle car to front-wheel drive family hauler, here’s a nice rundown of the Chevy Impala.

The Chevy Impala has led quite the life, especially when compared to virtually any other car model. The full-size passenger car was originally conceived in the late ’50s, yet has (mostly) survived since then despite undergoing numerous radical changes. And by radical, we mean transforming from muscular family hauler to underpowered boat, back to a muscle car, and eventually into a sensible front-wheel drive family hauler. That, and everything in between, is covered in this humorous video from Donut Media.

The Impala name originally surfaced in 1958 as a mere trim level for the Bel Air. But just a year later, it was successful enough to become its very own model. The “2nd gen” Chevy Impala was an instant hit, selling nearly half a million units. It also carried a much improved 348 V8 that produced 320 hp, 70 more than the ’58. But what happened next was even better.

Chevy Impala

Our host uses some fighting words when he says the Impala SS was “the first muscle car ever.” And he openly welcomes GTO fans to fight him, albeit in the comments section. Whether or not you agree with that, we can’t deny the impact the SS had on cars of its era. Heck, how many songs have been written specifically about engines, as the Beach Boys crooned over the 409?

Chevy Impala

Things only got better from there, until they didn’t. The dark days of the fuel crisis and resulting fallout relegated the Chevy Impala to boring status until 1994, when the SS badge finally made its way back to the big sedan. Things obviously haven’t been quite as glamorous since. But we can just remember the Chevy Impala for what it once was, right?

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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