78k Original Miles: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS

The 1996 Impala SS offered its occupants the best of both worlds. Driven sedately, it was an accomplished open-road cruiser that offered a relaxed and supremely comfortable motoring experience. However, if the driver gave it a poke with a sharp stick, it offered respectable performance from a large and relatively heavy package. Our feature car is a tidy two-owner survivor with 78,000 genuine miles on the clock. It has no immediate needs beyond a new owner willing to continue enjoying the performance and luxury it offers. The SS is located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sale price of $18,500 OBO for this attractive SS. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder rex m for spotting this great survivor for us.

Vehicle manufacturers have created some pretty stunning paint colors over the years, but I feel that Dark Cherry is one of the best. It is a shade that wouldn’t look out of place on a custom build, and it suits the lines of the 1996 Impala SS perfectly. On this car, it shines beautifully. There are a few minor flaws and marks, but the worst of these seem to be confined to the prone lower edges of the front spoiler. Any other issues are the sorts of chips or marks that we would expect on a 25-year-old survivor. The panels are even more impressive than the paint. There are no dings or dents, and no evidence of any rust problems. While the front spoiler may have some paint scuffs, there are no signs that it or any remaining plastic pieces have received physical damage. The wheels shine impressively, with no stains, while the glass looks flawless.

When we turn our attention to the Impala’s interior, the only area that has a question mark hanging over it is the dash top. However, the owner emphasizes that there are no cracks. The owner has fitted a cover, and that would be to protect it from harsh UV rays. I’ve done this myself in my Ford that is of the same vintage. In my case, removing the cover reveals a dash that is in as-new condition. I would be willing to bet that it is the same here because the remaining trim and upholstery show no evidence of problems. The leather upholstery on the seats carries the wrinkles you expect with age, but there’s no wear or physical damage. The plastic is in excellent order, and Impala floor-mats protect the carpet. Safety and comfort features extend to airbags, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a sunroof, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and a premium AM/FM radio/CD player.

The owner offers no engine shots, but there’s plenty to consider with this classic. The engine bay is occupied by a 350ci V8 that produces 260hp. It only seems fitting that this power finds its way to the rear wheels via a four-speed 4L60-E automatic transmission. At more than 4,100lbs, the Impala isn’t particularly heavy for a luxury car, but that’s still a fair amount of weight to get moving. That makes the ¼-mile ET of 15.2-seconds look pretty respectable. Proving that it is no one-trick pony, the SS can top 140mph if the road is straight enough to keep the pedal to the metal. The current owner purchased the vehicle in 1998, and it now has a genuine 78,000 miles on the clock. It isn’t clear whether he holds evidence to verify the claim, but the overall condition makes the claim seem plausible. One item that we don’t get to see is the famous autograph that this classic wears somewhere. The original owner took the car to a NASCAR autograph session in early 1998 and had the vehicle signed by the late, great Dale Earnhardt. That is a feature that would’ve been worth including in the supplied photos. The car runs and drives perfectly, with no fluid leaks or other issues. It is a turn-key proposition for its next lucky owner.

When it was new, this 1996 Impala SS would have cost its original owner more than $24,000. That was a fair chunk of change at the time, and the SS followed the trend of many new cars where they suffered some significant depreciation in their early years. However, the worm has turned on that front, and good examples have begun to increase in value over the past year or so. This one isn’t perfect, but its overall condition suggests that it has been treated with respect. Spotless examples regularly change hands for sums above $20,000, although a perfect car can easily top $30,000. This car isn’t perfect, but it is a tidy survivor that needs very little. With the scuff marks on the spoiler addressed, it would be hard to find much to fault with this classic. That makes the asking price look pretty competitive, but the “OBO” aspect of the listing increases its attractiveness for potential buyers. This SS has only been on the market for slightly more than a day, and I believe that the owner will have no great trouble finding a new owner pretty quickly.


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  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    These have become more appealing to me than a Grand National (which I’ve always put the two in the same want category). I guess I’ve gotten older and the four doors seem more useful to me, plus the price is more realistic to my budget.

    Like 13
    • qmmq

      Much cooler than a GN. Plus, you can work on it. Plenty of parts available.

      Like 5
      • jerry z

        Mechanically yes but body and interior parts are getting hard to find. Parted out a wrecked 1995 Impala SS recently and the response was overwhelming.

        Like 5
  2. David

    Still kicking myself for ordering a 95 crown Vic with BBS when I should have gone to the dealership and picked out an impala SS off the lot.

    Like 10
  3. Bick Banter

    I always liked ’em. 18.5k seems high for not so low miles but in this market that’s probably near a good deal.

    Like 6
  4. David Zornig

    If I recall correctly, only `96 had the console shift.
    Worth the price of admission alone.

    Like 6
  5. Spiderider

    Sorry. I still see the ugliest cop car ever made. Trying to make something special out if these was always silly to me.

    Like 6
    • Mark

      I couldn’t agree more.

      Like 2
  6. DrillnFill

    Loved these since they first came out. The price is a little on the high side for one that’s not perfect, but ‘96 is the year to have with the console shift and analog speedo.
    However, someone messed around with those wheels, they’re supposed to be aluminum, not chrome-ish polish-y whatever.

    Like 5
  7. Gary

    I know a guy with a black SS, he swapped a five speed from a later model Camaro into it. The pedals bolted right up, he just had to drill one hole. I can’t remember what he used for the console plate but I believe he used all GM parts. He said it worked out extremely well and runs great

    Like 6
  8. Reg Watkins

    I purchased a Black 1996 SS in 2008 from a 70 yr. old fellow of which I still own. This vehicle had 21,118 original miles and looked showroom new. I paid $14,500 which was a steal as I look at current prices. These are some extremely great vehicles with great power and exceptional highway gas mileage complimented with the overdrive for a car it’s size. I love this car!!!!

    Like 4
  9. 19sixty5 Member

    The 96 was the one to have. In addition to the previously mentioned console shifter, the 96 also had the analog style dash with a tachometer. I had a black 96 for a few years, sinister looking cruiser with decent performance.

    Like 1
  10. 4501Safari Member

    I run NOS Impala SS rims on my wagon with custom Buick centers. The wheels in the photos are correct and NOT chrome. It is a brushed aluminum, no polish anywhere. The clear coat on the wheels is prone to deteriorate and spider, mostly around the edges of where the center cap attaches. The clear coat usually requires removal and refinishing of the metal, not a pleasant task. The leather upholstery tended to be cheap and thin, often tearing and cracking even with the best of care. Better photos would be nice but this car does appear to have a very good interior at 78K. A light weight owner helps…

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