Big Block 1970 Chevrolet Impala Convertible Survivor!

At Barn Finds, there are a plethora of different kinds of cars to find and write about, an almost unlimited variety. I am always searching for what I think readers will really like. Muscle cars are a big hit, the true “Barn Find” too, and of course what we refer to as the “Oddball”. My goal is to keep things interesting and to keep mixing it up a bit so I thought that this 1970 Impala convertible fit many of my requirements to keep things interesting for our readers. Why this Impala? Well it’s part muscle car with its 454 CI (7.0 liter) engine, it’s from the pre-emission control era, it’s a convertible, it’s in beautiful condition and it possesses that Bill Mitchell svelte and brisk styling that so domineered at GM (as well as domineered GM’s competition during the ’60s). It is located in Morgantown, PA and is for auction here on eBay – 22 bids so far but only at $2,055 (reserve not yet met) – a reasonable start.

What caught my attention is the fact that this Impala is the last of the vaunted “Coke Bottle” styled Impalas that commenced in 1965 and closed the door in the halcyon year of 1970. By this point, a lot of the Coke Bottle was out of styling but it is still clean and fleet-of-foot; considerably different than its 1971-1976 gargantuan successor. Also, the convertible body style was at a nadir at this point as they fell further and further out of favor with the consuming public, only 9,562 were produced for the ’70 model year.

Under the hood, is the new for 1970 454 cui Mark IV V8; what is not said is whether it is the LS4 version (345 HP) or the hotter LS5 (390 HP). Either one will move this convertible in style thanks to the 490 lb. feet torque rating. No mention of how the engine runs but the seller indicates that the vaunted GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission that backs up the engine shifts smoothly, so I’ll make the leap and assume the engine is sound. All the way in the rear is a Chevrolet, almost indestructible, twelve bolt differential – the last year it was offered in the full-size “B” body car.

The interior in this Impala is very nice – it looks great and is stated as being original. Convertible interiors usually take a beating due to the sun, and unfortunately, the rain that occasionally occurs in top-down mode. Note the bench seat, 1969 was the last year for bucket seats and a center console until their brief return in the limited production 1996 Impala SS. I know from my experience working in a Chevrolet dealership body shop that ’69 & ’70 “B” bodies are rust buckets if kept outside in the salt belt for three or more years – not the case with this beauty, I can’t find a hint of rust in the usual places.

Same goes for the underside, no rot noted! Convertibles, in particular, are more prone to floor rust because the rear portion of the top, where it meets the header panel in front of the trunk lid, has an in-trunk channel that feeds drains on either side of the car, just in front of the rear wheels. The drains, when working properly, direct rainwater onto the ground instead of into the trunk. When the drains get clogged, the channel backs up and overflows and the water ends up under the bottom of the back seat. Not to worry, it won’t collect there for long because the floor rusts through very quickly.

Butternut yellow, my favorite ’70 color; this example looks spectacular in it and I am almost shocked at the beautiful presentation of this 88,000-mile car – it’s that good! If it weren’t for the fact that I have a behemoth of a ’68 Impala currently occupying my garage, I’d be tempted to bid. How about you? These don’t turn up often and never in this condition.

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Comments

  1. Big_Fun Member

    I believe this example is restored, not quite a survivor. It has new paint, and a new interior. Those seat covers are reproduction, the boot and carpet are also new.
    Might as well detail the engine and be done with that…
    A set of 15×7 rally wheels would look great. They reproduce them in a chrome finish – just what that Gobi Beige paint needs.

    Like 7
    • art

      Nice looking car and the design was an improvement over the 69, in my opinion. I do think the seat upholstery is not original as the color is lighter than the rest of the interior and not from fading. Plus factor in 49 years of use over 88K miles and a convertible and there really is a question on those being original seats. There is a subtle color and texture difference I see, after looking at a 1970 Chevrolet brochure.
      Aside from that, it is a clean respectable looking convertible.
      That car will attract attention where ever it goes.

      Like 3
  2. Steve R

    It’s a nice car, the dealer is asking $34,000. I’m not sure if it’s priced to sell, especially heading into winter.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  3. Classic Steel

    I like it very much for my nostalgia but price is a lil high.

    I had a 70 impala convert 350 4 bolt turbo 400 trans with 12 bolt rear end with chrome splash pan in front.

    This car was a nice 80 mph cruiser and rode quite well.

    The convertible top is a non scissors top which is great for durability too.

    Good luck on sale👍

    Like 4
  4. art

    Sharp looking car and the design was an improvement over the 69, in my opinion. I do think the seat upholstery is not original as the color is lighter than the rest of the interior and not from fading. Plus factor in 49 years of use over 88K miles and being a convertible, there really is a question on those being original seats. There is a subtle color and texture difference I see, after looking at a 1970 Chevrolet brochure.
    Aside from that, it is a clean respectable looking convertible. Too bad no A/C when heat and humidity dictate top up.
    That car will attract attention where ever it goes.

    Like 2
  5. Will Fox

    Neat as a pin! Nothing not to like about this `70! Interior looks like new, from what I can see! The cvt. top looks very fresh; a serious plus. Wouldn’t surprise me to see this one bid to close to $20K. Easy to work on; parts are around for the
    tried-n-true 454. PS, PB, but no mention of AC, but in those years, if you wanted a cvt., you wanted it with AC as well. This is a “driveable dream” if you can swing it; a car you don’t have to trailer, just drive and enjoy on those sunny Sundays!

    Like 3
  6. Comet

    Better move the kids bikes and lawn chairs. This rig takes up a lot of garage real estate.

    Like 2
    • bry593

      Same amount as a modern 4-dr truck with shorty bed. I know, I have a ’70 Caprice daily driver. I hang a tennis ball to make sure the whole 216″ has cleared the garage door….

      Like 4
  7. JoeNYWF64

    GM NEVER should have come out with the monster guzzler impalas, etc from ’71-6 & instead should’ve stuck with this platform with changes only every 3 or 4 years, not almost every year!! Oddly the ’70 looks bit smaller than the ’67-9s.
    The ’71-6’s are so wide they would have trouble fitting into many highway lanes today that have been narrowed. & would be impossible to park em too in most lots!

    Why would a ’69-70 rust faster than a ’67-68? Then again i have seen evidence of this in camaros too. Panels primed poorly starting in ’69?
    Poorer grade steel used?

    Looking at this pic
    http://cdn.dealeraccelerate.com/cam/34/1013/27266/790×1024/1970-chevrolet-impala-convertible
    either the upper vent non a/c astroventilation knob is missing, or was left off by the factory. Odd. Maybe only for convertibles?

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      As far as parking goes, whenever I am driving a car like this I search out the spots marked COMPACT ONLY.

      This car is no bigger or wider than any of the 4 door pick ups on the market today.

      Like 1
  8. TimM

    Great car with a big block to move it around!! I agree with the other post stating to clean up the engine bay!! After all the rest of the car is pretty stunning and you open the hood and it looks more like what a 70 impala would look like!! $34,000 seems a bit steep to me!!!

  9. Chebby Staff

    For my BarnFinds audition, I wrote up a near-mint 1971 Delta 88 Convertible with the 455 big block that was on eBay for only $9,900, and I noted that the “Impala tax” would add 10-15k to it’s price. Adjusting for seller optimism, looks like I was right on.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      The 1971 is a different car.

      I would buy one of these convertibles, but I will never buy another scissor top convertible.

  10. Del

    Nice car but 10 grand too high

    Like 1
  11. Bill

    Nice car !

    Like 1
  12. w9bag

    This is one of my favorite body styles of the Impala/Caprice. Unfortunately, the fit of the front corners of the convertible top is atrocious. They just plain don’t fit properly.

  13. Pete in PA

    Brings back memories. An older friend had a bright red example that his dad bought new. The dad was night watchman at a Chevy dealer and when that red Impala hit the showroom floor he fell in love with it. Top and interior were black and it had only the 350-2bbl but drove beautifully. It also had rallye wheels which looked great on it. I guess the most unusual thing about it was that it had the fiber-optic light monitoring system. I’d seen the jeweled pods atop the front fenders on other GM products (Cadillacs) but on this convertible there was a black plastic housing mounted to the back of the rear seat backrest and that’s where the two “eyes” for the tail/brake bulbs were located. Definitely an interesting experience driving at night with the top down.

  14. Miguel

    The first time I ever drove a convertible was one of these 1970 Impalas.

    I loved it. The top down feeling is something you can never forget. What a difference from driving an enclosed car.

    After having quite a few convertibles over my lifetime, I really don’t want another one.

    Like 1
  15. Buffalo Bob

    This is just a beautiful machine. A shame it has no A/C, tho. And having had ‘verts with wind-up windows, they’re a pain. Love it!

    Like 5
    • Buffalo Bob

      $20,100. No Sale.

      Like 4
  16. Roseland Pete

    Car looks to be in too good of condition to be an unrestored original with 88k miles. I preferred the 69 anyway.

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