Chevrolet Impala SS (1996) – Into the Wild

The name ‘Chevrolet Impala’ returned in the mid-1990s after years of absence, but not for a completely separate model. It was an extra fierce and sinister version of the Caprice, the Chevrolet Impala SS.

American model names often start as an implementation of another model. This is the case, for example, with the name ‘Caprice’, which was introduced in the sixties for a luxury version of the Impala. The reverse happened in the 1990s. The Impala as a ‘budget sedan’ had been dead for years by then, but Chevrolet returned the legendary ‘Impala SS’ on an extra sporty version of the Caprice that still existed. That Caprice passed by in this section in December, as a taxi from the first year of construction, 1990. The Impala followed in 1994 and distinguished itself from the Caprice on a number of crucial points. The main difference: a greasy, 5.7-liter LT1 V8 with 264 hp.

On the outside, most Impala SS’s from the 1990s can be recognized by their almost completely black body. This specimen is so black that it looks like night on the photos taken at two o’clock in the afternoon. Although that is not true at all, it is true that the Impala SS was only available in black in its first year. Some other shades followed later, but the vast majority of SSs are ‘just’ black. This includes not only the body itself, but also the sporty grille. There is no Chevrolet bowtie on the tailgate, but a special Impala logo. A rear spoiler, a lowered chassis and sturdy five-spoke wheels complete the sinister party.

On the inside, the sportiness of an Impala is mainly expressed in the absence of a front seat, in favor of two wide seats that the Americans very optimistically call ‘bucket seats’. The ‘column shifter’, or automatic lever on the steering column, has been exchanged for a lever placed between the seats. However, it still operates an automatic transmission, a four-speed one to be precise.

A Caprice of this generation on a Dutch registration is far from commonplace, but an Impala SS is seriously special. The jet-black tinted rear windows can bear our disapproval and that also applies to the way in which the rear fog light, added in Europe, but not even necessary on this 96, is fitted. The jet black and clear headlights don’t belong on it, of course, just like the ‘hood ornament’ with Chevrolet logo. However, none of that is catastrophic and, as far as we are concerned, it remains a very cool tank. At sometime?


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