VIRTUAL MUSEUM EXHIBITS
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Early Chevy Month
Enjoy this virtual gallery of images, vintage ads and information about the vehicles on display in our drive-in area for Early Chevy Month (June 2020).
Featured in our display:
1959 Chevrolet Impala - 2dr Hardtop - Restored
1959 Chevrolet Impala - 2dr Hardtop - Restomod
1963 Chevrolet Impala - 2dr Hardtop - Restored
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS convertible - Dual Quad 409 4spd
A brief history of the Chevrolet Impala (1st - 3rd generations)
First released in 1958 as an upgrade package for the Bel-Air, the Chevrolet Impala is one of America’s most recognizable and longest running nameplates – the Impala has been produced in every decade since its inception.
The second generation, starting in 1959, saw the Impala become its own model line within Chevrolet. Borrowing components from lower-end Buicks and Pontiacs, the second-gen Impala was a representation of GM’s shift, with the exception of Cadillac, from a hierarchy of brands to a more homogenized entity. Built in St. Louis, Missouri, the second-gen Impala is remembered best for its horizontal tailfins and teardrop tail lights.
1961 saw the release of the third generation of the Impala, with a wagon variant available that replaced the popular Chevy Nomad. Also offered to the public for the first time was the Super Sport package upgrade on the Impala. Now a “family” car was available with a NASCAR engine with the 409ci option making over 400 horsepower. This was upgraded to a 427ci option, which made even more power, for the1963 model year.
Unlike the 427 offered in the later generations, the 1963 Sport Coupe Impala was a bored-out 409 (W-series) engine block. This package was at the beginning of the COPO (central office production order) era of American muscle. These types of vehicles were usually made due to NASCAR homologation rules and were expected to be purchased by drag racers and performance enthusiasts. Unfortunately for consumers, the 427ci engine option was not available again until the ‘67-69 years with the third generation of the Impala. Those later 427ci big blocks were built with the ZL1 platform which was lighter and featured more use of aluminum parts than the earlier W-series 427 engines. // #kcautomuseum