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It is hard to believe how the Impala has changed over the last thirty years. It went from a step up from an average car to what it is now, a full size luxury car with all of the options. Chevrolet built the Impala in 1966 with very little standard options. It came with a bench seat, AM Radio, lap safety belts, 283 cubic inch V-8, and manual transmission.
They did not construct the car with any form of emission system. The federal government did not require car companies to equip the car with emissions systems until 1968. The emission systems helped to reduce pollution emitted from the car. During the mid-sixties, engines started to get bigger and more powerful. One option for the Impala was the Super Sport model, more widely known as the SS. This option gave the car a 396 cu. in. engine, four speed manual transmission, heavier duty suspension and all of the SS insignias.
If you were buying any car in 1966 you could order it with each individual option that you wanted. They built the Impala SS in 1996 with many standard options. It came with bucket seats, a console, automatic transmission, shifter on the floor, leather seats, seventeen inch aluminum rims, all season radials, and the LT1 engine(commonly in the Corvette). This car was built with all kinds of safety equipment, emission systems, and a computer to control the entire car. The emission system on the car is approved for 1998 emission standards.
The safety equipment on the Impala SS is lap/shoulder seat belts, dual air bags, and crumple zones. The computers on today’s new cars control the engine, the fuel injection, the emission systems, the air bags, the transmission, the cooling system, the instrument gauges and all of the warning lights. On the 1996 Impala SS, the options came in packages. If you just wanted air conditioning with the car, you would have to buy the package with air conditioning included. The car companies devised putting options into packages so they could produce many identical cars and still can sell them with some guarantee. The 1966 Impala was designed very differently than the 1996 Impala SS. In 1966, the Impala was built with a steel frame and metal body panels. This design made the car very strong and durable that is one main reason you see many old cars still in running today. Cars were also built with chrome. You do not see that on many new cars. The 1966 Impala, I think they built it with style, class and sophistication. In 1966, you could go to your local new car dealer and pick up an Impala for around 2800 dollars. The car companies did not think about aerodynamics and did not worry about the fuel economy of the cars. The 1966 Impala got about ten miles to the gallon on the highway. At the time they built the 1966 Impala fuel cost was not high it was about 39 cents a gallon. In 1996, the Impala SS was built with a frame and body panels. The body panels are made from steel, plastic, or fiberglass. Cars are being designed to be more aerodynamic, weigh less, look more appealing and not to rust. I think, General Motors did a very good job with bringing back the Impala SS, it lives up to its name. It has a sophisticated look and a lot of power. If you wanted to buy a new Impala SS, you would have to pay approximately 22,000 dollars. It is a very big difference from what an Impala cost thirty years ago. The Impala SS gets about 23 miles per gallon on the highway. The fuel cost has really gone up from thirty years ago. It is now anywhere from $1.10 to $1.40. Over the past thirty years the Impala has changed in many ways. It started as a new model for the Bel-Air version of the Chevy. Now the Impala is a sophisticated, fast, luxury car that has appeal to everyone. The 1996 Impala SS is the last year Chevy will be selling the car.
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