Anew version of a familiar face popped up last week as the What Is It? car. The Chevrolet Impala has been totally revamped for 2014 and is on its way to dealers’ showrooms now. For a better photo and information about the Impala, read this week’s road test.
Chosen randomly from the correct entries was that of Wayne Wilke, of Evans, who wrote: “In the mid-’60s I owned a 1958 Impala convertible, ’58 being the first year that Impalas were produced. You know what’s coming next – I sure wish I still had it.
“The Impala was black with a black convertible top. It had a 283 cubic-inch-displacement V-8 with a 2-barrel carburetor and a two-speed Powerglide transmission Unfortunately, it did not have power steering, which made it a bear to park.
“The interior was black vinyl with inlay of red, silver and turquoise wide stripes. I got it in the spring of ’64. The hydraulics for the power-operated top were shot, so I had disconnected the cylinders. Putting the top down was fairly easy. I developed a technique for single-handedly putting the heavy top up.
“I would stand in the middle of the back seat and with both hands lift the leading edge of the top support. When that piece got to its zenith, I would let go and fall backwards over the front seat before the falling top hit me on the head. If YouTube had been operating back then, the maneuver would certainly had merited a million hits.
“I sold the Impala in the spring of ’66 for $300. It had more than 100,000 miles on it, which is an estimate since the speedometer had stopped working at 90,000. Also the driver’s side floor was rusted out and a piece of plywood placed under the mat covered the 12-by-6 hole.
“I had always kept a good coat of ‘yellow can Simonize’ on it, and with the dazzling black finish and gleaming chrome it was a thing of beauty to behold.”
Also identifying the vehicle were:
AUGUSTA: Based on her reading of Automobile and Motor Trend magaines, Carolyn Ogles wrote: “The president of GM North America states that ‘This design leader will turn heads for years to come.’
“The term ‘refined elegance’ is also stated by a woman who is the director of design for Chevrolet car interiors.”
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “Impala… the name is as iconic as Camaro, Corvette, GTO, Mustang, Charger. When I was 15, I lusted to buy our neighbor’s 1964 Impala, which he had just put up for sale. I do not know for sure now which engine it had in it, but it was a factory four-speed car.
“I wanted that car. Of course, I had no job, no way to pay for it and I could not persuade my father to buy it and drive it until I did have a job and I could buy it from him. As a petulant 15-year-old, we seldom understand the pressures placed on our parents trying to maintain a family of six.
“My family favored Chevrolets in general and we had several Impalas over the years. My grandmother had a four-door 1960 Impala, which was eventually traded for a 1964 Impala SS. My parents had a 1965 and 1966 Impala. My mother cussed both of those cars as much as anything else before or since.
“One of my aunts lived with my grandmother, and she surreptitiously let us children practice our driving skills in that 1964 Impala SS, long before we were legal. I believe that my older sister and I took our driving tests at age 16 in the 1966 Impala.
“Aside from the revitalized Impala SS of 1994-96, the Impala name has had virtually no excitement around it in recent years. Chevrolet is attempting to change that with this iteration, which shares its basic underpinnings with the new Cadillac XTS. Offered in five trim levels – harkening back to the days of the Biscayne, Bel-Air, Impala, Caprice – and you can have this Impala as a basic and functional sedan or a fully optioned, leather-appointed boulevard cruiser, or nearly anything in between.
“Engine choices are limited to just two – a 2.5-liter four-cylinder putting out 195 horsepower or a 3.6-liter V-6 putting out 305 horsepower that powers that aforementioned Cadillac.
“One of these was not available at the recent Atlanta Auto Show to take for a spin around the block, so I plan to drop by one of my local Chevrolet dealers soon to try one of these on. We’ll see if any of those childhood memories come rushing back.”
EVANS: Bill Harding wrote: “The front-wheel-drive Impala starts with a 2.5-liter direct-injected in-line four and the only engine option is a 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6. By the way, the Impala SS is a totally different rear-wheel drive-vehicle, and it has a screaming 6.2-liter LS-3 V-8 engine. The SS is essentially an updated version of the dearly departed Pontiac G8, meaning that it’s based on a Holden (GM’s Australian subsidiary) converted to left-hand drive.”
Also: PJ Rodgers and Jerry Paul
MARTINEZ: Jim Muraski
SHAWANO, WIS.: Karen McKenna
PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson
WARRENVILLE: James Covar