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454 V8 Project: 1973 Chevrolet Impala

In 1973, Chevy’s venerable Impala was in the middle of its fifth generation of production. Due to proliferation in the marketplace, the car didn’t sell in the same numbers as it did during the peak of 1965 when more than one million full-size units were delivered. Nonetheless, the seller’s car is one of more than 600,000 assembled that year, just before the OPEC oil embargo that would further change the dynamics of the market. This ’73 Impala looks like it’s been out of commission for some time and needs bodywork, but it has a 454 V8 engine under the hood. This square-bodied Impala is in Vallejo, California, and is available here on craigslist for $6,000.

Styling of the ’73 Chevrolets was an evolution of the prior two model years, gaining a larger, shock-absorbing front bumper brought about by new federal mandates which required 5-mile-per-hour impact protection. New taillights were mounted in a conventional rear bumper (which would become bulkier the next year for the same reason). As an interesting footnote – and not likely applicable to the seller’s car – 1,000 ’73 Impalas were built with an “Air Cushion Restraint System” (ACRS) as a test that would be the forerunner to the airbags that would later emerge as standard equipment in all autos.

The seller doesn’t tell us much about this Impala as he/she may not know. Perched on a trailer, it comes across as a barn find that’s been out of sight for a while. The Chevy looks to have had a vinyl top that’s been peeled off and the front bumper, grille, and headlight assemblies are gone, perhaps due to an accident. The car will likely need a new passenger side rear quarter panel as some extensive prior damage has been cut out.

No mention is made to the running condition of the 454 cubic inch big block that is alleged to be under the hood. So, we must assume it does not function and will need some work along with the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. However, we’re told a new dual exhaust system has been installed, a step in the right direction. The stated mileage is 30,000, which given the five-digit odometers of the day, 130,000 is more likely. The condition of the interior is also unknown. If you were looking to restore an Impala of this vintage, (first) would you even do it, and (second), would you do this one (it does have a 454)?

Comments

  1. JCA Member

    I think all of the ’73 ACRS were green Impalas but they were 4 door cars…

    Like 1
    • Dave Peterson

      I always thought the bags were first offered on the Toronado. or was it the Riviera? I suppose it makes sense to offer on the loaded Impala as I believe they were still selling close to 400,000 per year (w/o strike) in the early ’70’s.

      Like 1
      • Chuck Dickinson

        Olds, Buick and Cad offered the ACRS in 74. The 73 Chevys so equipped were used as a test fleet for gov’t cars (if I recall correctly), and not the general public. The ACRS cars were NA w/a tilt wheel.

        Like 1
  2. Big Len

    It’s the ASSMAN car.

    Like 9
  3. Bob C.

    Ah memories. I had two of these, at different times of course. Same body style.

    Like 2
  4. Big C

    This is a $500 car, all day long.

    Like 11
    • Logan

      Maybe in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Not anymore.

      Like 1
  5. Srt8

    I need the glasses being used that makes this car a plausible $6k listing. Because other than beer goggles I don’t see how.

    Like 11
  6. Glenn Hilpert

    Who knows, maybe not the correct motor. If anyone should go view this land yacht, take along some back-up.

    Like 2
  7. G Mobley

    I ordered a 454 Monte in 73 . . By this time the Govt. Had cut it’s gonads off . . I imagine this one is about the same . . Disappointment sets in . .

    Like 3
    • bone

      I agree. A neighbor of mine bought a silver73 Laguna 4 door and it had a factory 454 in it. It really was a dog , power wise

      Like 2

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