Chevrolet Impala Generation 4
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
Setting Industry Sales Records
Totally redesigned in 1965
, the Impala set an all-time industry annual sales record of more than 1 million units in the U.S., which has never been bettered. All new full-size Chevys eschewed the "X" frame for a full-width perimeter frame, a new body which featured curved, frameless side glass (for pillarless models), sharper angled windshield with newly reshaped vent windows, and redesigned full-coil suspension.
Chevrolet introduced the Impala Caprice, exclusively as a four-door hardtop. Caprices received unique tufted upholstery, wood grained accents on the dashboard and specialty pulls on the insides of the doors. This "halo" model also featured the "spinner" wheel covers from the Impala SS, with the "SS" logo centers replaced by a Chevy "bowtie" emblem. The Super Sport's blackout rear trim strip below the triple taillights was also used, with the "Impala SS" emblem deleted of course.
Impala Caprice Custom
The Caprice Custom was reintroduced as the Chevrolet Caprice in 1966
, taking the top position in the full-size Chevrolet lineup. Engine choices included the inline six-cylinder as well as the famous Chevy small-block and big-block V8s. Automatic buyers were given the option of the newly introduced three-range Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission for the newly introduced Mark IV big-block engine, displacing 396 cubic inches.
The old 409-cubic-inch (6.7 litre) "W" engine was discontinued early in the 1965
model year, so early-production '65s got the 409, as well as 1/10 of 1% had the 396 CID big-block. Moreover, other later-built cars had the 396-cubic-inch (6.5 litre) as the big-block option with significant horsepower drawback. Two-range Powerglide
, as well as Synchro-Mesh 3- and 4-speed manual transmissions were available. As with previous years, Impalas featured more chrome trim inside and out, with pleated tufted upholstery and door panels.
The Number #2 Selling Convertible
The Impala would be the #2-selling convertible in the U.S. in 1966
, with 38,000 sold; it was beaten by the Mustang by almost 2:1. The 1967
model was redesigned with enhanced Coke bottle styling. The curves were the most pronounced with the 1967
models. In keeping with federal regulations, safety features were built into Impalas during the 1967 and 1968
model years, including a fully collapsible energy-absorbing steering column, side marker lights, and shoulder belts for closed models.
model was facelifted with a new front end, The new rear bumper housed triple "horseshoe" shaped taillights. 1968 also saw a new Impala model, the Custom Coupe. This two-door hardtop featured the same formal roofline as the Caprice Coupe. It was a huge commercial success and would be continued right through 1976
. By 1969
, the muscular "Coke Bottle" look had become passe for full-size Chevys. The 1969
Impala and other full-sized Chevrolets got new slab-sided bodies with a small "upsweep" at the rear quarter window, giving them a more formal appearance. The emphasis was clearly on making the Impala look bigger, even though it retained the 119" wheelbase from previous models. New front bumpers that wrapped around the grille and horizontal taillights in the rear bumper made it look wider.
On the Inside
Ventless front windows were used on all models. Chevy had a rudimentary "power vent" system featuring vents in the instrument panel, but it wasn't the pressurized system that became standard on all 1971
big GM cars. The vent windows had provided excellent ventilation at highway speeds, but at the expense of wind noise. Eliminating them saved money on each car produced, kept the interiors quieter at highway speeds, and no doubt encouraged more check marks on the order sheets for the high-profit air-conditioning
systems that were becoming increasingly popular.
The ignition switch was moved from the instrument panel to the steering column, and when they key was removed, the steering wheel and shift lever were locked. All 1969
GM cars except the Corvair got this change, one year ahead of Federal regulations. The hardtop Sport Coupe got a new, crisply styled notchback roofline, replacing the "fastback" C-pillar from 1967–68. During the 1969
model year Impala production topped Caprice production by 611,000 units. The similar 1970
Impala got a minor facelift featuring a more conventional under the grille bumper replacing the wrap-around unit used in 1969 along with new triple vertical taillights in the rear bumper.
Canadian buyers got the choice of a lower priced companion to the Impala Sport Coupe, the Bel Air Sport Coupe, which used the same body but featured Bel Air trim. Right Hand Drive cars were manufactured in Canada for export to some countries such as Australia, UK, etc., until 1969
. They used a version of the 1965
Impala dash panel until 1969. Australian models were assembled in Australia from kits as this lessened tax on the cars. A similar arrangement applied in New Zealand although the bodies were supplied from Canada already welded, painted and trimmed.