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Garaged 41 Years! 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS

Tell Chevy fans that Pontiac’s 1964 GTO was “The First Muscle Car”, and you’ll likely get an earful about the Chevrolet Super Sport cars that began in 1961. By the time this 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS in Davenport, Iowa hit the streets, Chevy’s SS was beginning its second generation. The real fine 409 (still available) gave way to the Mark IV Big Block including the numbers-matching 396 in this Impala (reportedly locked at present). After four decades of garage storage, this high-powered SS comes to market here on craigslist where $13,500 makes it yours. Thanks to reader rex m for spotting this super-sharp Chevy.

Whether this Chevy has covered 68,000 or 168,000 miles matters less than the condition we see here, and that certainly supports the claim of long-term storage, looking about right for a car that purportedly saw 15 years of regular service. The stylish SS console puts the icing on the cake, and you could easily drive it like this while waiting for a complete makeover.

The fastback body cut smoothly through the air on the oval racing tracks of its day, advertising for local dealers and businesses, not the giants of industry we see today. The pillarless hardtop configuration makes this Super Sport perfect for windows-down driving. The two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission may seem archaic in today’s world of 8+ speed slushboxes, but the two-speed makes the most of the big block’s bountiful torque, and modified versions are still viable in drag racing today.

Popping the hood to reveal those wide valve covers makes for potent medicine among fans of the “Rat Motor.” If everything is original, the Powerglide makes this a 325 HP version, not the wicked solid-lifter 425 HP monster. The first big block I ever drove was a later 454, also the first vehicle I could stomach with an automatic transmission. Power cures whatever ails you, especially if you suffer mental anguish when the automatic you’re driving fails to respond to part-throttle acceleration for five seconds then drops two gears and blasts you down the road after all you wanted was a slight surge. With some patience, a new owner should be able to free the frozen rat from its deep sleep and get it running again.

Is that a fuel line or a water supply line from the owner’s house? I remember bringing a rusty chunk of fuel line to the parts store to size a replacement for my Dad’s 390 Thunderbird; the counter-jockey asked if it was for “a Kenworth or what?” I normally don’t post undercarriage pictures but flip this one upside down and I’ll eat French fries off it, with ketchup! Unlike many classics, this one escaped the murky entombment of gooey black undercoating. What you see is what you get. Note Chevy’s perimeter frame, a clever way to lower the car’s floor while maintaining a solid full-frame structure. Would you eat fries off the undercarriage of this big block Chevy?


  1. Rustytech Rustytech Member

    It looks pretty good compared to some of the rust buckets that show up here. I would like to see more pictures of the under side, and a close up of the area around the rear window. I think five figures in its current state is a little ambitious, $8000 or $9000 should buy it.

    Like 18
    • TR JONES

      I had a ’65 Impala back in 1977 when I lived In Ct. At 12 years old I had to have the frame on the drivers side plated. Water got into the frame, and they rotted from the Inside out. And of coarse the salted roads during the winter greatly accelerated the process.

      Like 0
  2. angliagt angliagt

    It’s located in Davenport,Iowa.

    Like 2
    • Chuck Dickinson

      But you’ll note it has Oregon plates. That’s why it’s not a mid-west rust bucket, since Oregon doesn’t salt roads.

      Like 3
  3. JCA Member

    Great interior and console with what looks like a clock and some other gauge.

    Like 5
    • Bill

      It’s a clock tach was gauge on far side of dashboard top

      Like 2
  4. Dave

    The underside, frame, and at least the passenger door bottom look phenomenal. Odd how the rear window channel rotted. From debris caught under the molding?

    Like 0
  5. local_sheriff

    Even though I’m a dedicated Bowtie AND ‘pala fan I think ‘the 1st muscle car’ award neither belongs to the GTO or the Impala – it should go to the Olds 88

    Like 14
    • gary rhodes

      The first muscle cars were Plymouths and Dodges, 413 max wedges came out in 62

      Like 7
  6. Steve R

    The powerglide doesn’t make the most out of the 396’s torque, if it did big blocks wouldn’t have been the first engines, by several years, to get the TH400.

    As for being used in drag racing, they have become a rare sight in bracket cars, though they are used in faster classes they consist of 100% aftermarket parts.

    Steve R

    Like 9
    • Freddy

      Aftermarket parts, but still a transmission released in the 1950’s, so kind of amazing that it is at all relevant in this day and age.

      Like 5
      • Steve R

        I’m not sure what you mean by relevant. Those used by serious racers are “powerglides” in name only, they use aftermarket cases, gear ratios, pumps, valve body’s, etc., they do not use any OE parts. The only thing the two have in common are two speeds and bolt to a Chevrolet block. The main reason they are still used is because two speed transmissions repeat better than three speeds due to one less gear change.

        Steve R

        Like 6
    • local_sheriff

      The PG in a street car is a stout unit indeed, however IMHO also a HORRIBLY BORING one. My ’64 ‘pala came with it and I drove it that way for some years before swapping for a TH700. It was first then I reached the true potential of my hop’d-up 327.

      Now, if one still wants a slushbox in this ’65, a more interesting driving experience and prefers backroad driving one really can’t beat the TH350. Same exterior dimensions as the PG(same crossmember, no driveshaft shortening), extremely few alterations and way better behaviour at very little $. The beefier but also more power-robbing and longer TH400 is really not necessary behind a 396 built for the street

      Like 3
  7. Jim

    My second car was a1965 chev sedan with a 283 and a 2 speed auto trans. A very nice rider that was very dependable. The 65 shown looks like it will need a lot of TLC (truck load of cash ) along with many hours of hard work!Price may be too high?

    Like 1
  8. Jan Bonsema

    I had a 1965 Biscayne once 4 dr , six PG that took me from work daily from the Annex in Toronto to Ford’s Oakville ON assembly plant where I worked .Aside from getting involved in several road rage incidents, where I once opened the trun k and began swinging the jack in the other guys face, after one afternoon shift it dropped the tranny. I’ve done OK since.

    Like 2
    • Tony Primo

      Didn’t you have to park farther away from the employee entrance because you weren’t driving a Ford?

      Like 5
  9. Howard A Member

    One of my ex-brother in laws, raced a ’65 Chevy just like this at the now defunct Hales Corners Speedway ( now a Menards, but at least it’s called “Speedway Menards) He had a small block and I think a Powerglide, which worked great for the 1/3 mile dirt oval. He never won, the Chevelles took all the thunder, but he would usually place in the top 10, and was a blast. It was the zenith for any motorhead.
    This is a great find, in that, the ’65 Chevy was the most popular Chevy, and most were sold to Japan as scrap and turned into Toyotas, and such, or crappy replacement GM truck fenders. It will always be an iconic car, as with so many sold, just about everybody has a ’65 Chevy story. My grandfather bought a new 4 door Impala in 1965. Big block, meh, but the 2 door is nice.

    Like 0
    • Camaro guy

      Funny you should mention HC Speedway I’m sitting in the Menards parking lot as I’m reading this dom miss the speedway as kids just about lived there until we got cars and discovered drag racing and then it was Great Lakes dragstrip in Union Grove still race there occasionally some guys just never grow up 👴

      Like 1
  10. Steve Clinton

    I remember when, not too long ago, $13,500 would buy you a near-pristine Chevy Impala SS!

    Like 8
  11. ACZ

    One thing you can’t argue is that there were one helluva lot of Powerglides made and sold.

    Like 6
  12. Strommer

    The best part of having a Powerglide is the
    compression starting capabilities.

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      I don’t understand what you mean

      Like 1
    • 1-MAC

      only the older ones could be push started. I dn’t think you could do hat with the ’65

      Like 0
      • ACZ

        I think that changed about 1969. That was when they eliminated the rear pump in the P.G. The rear pump is what allowed it to be push started.

        Like 0
      • Milt

        Wrong! My 65 Powerglide could and was push started by me

        Like 0
  13. Steve-O

    The powerglide is still ok in lighter cars. That is why you see it in econora dragsters. Not enough gears to get a big car like this going though. I would skip the th350 and go right to the 200 4r with twice the gears of a pg. bolt in deal with same driveshaft. IIRC the crossmember needs to be moved back to the th400 position. Cant recall for sure but i believe the yoke is the same as pg. you just need to tweak cooler lines a bit, install a tv cable (adjusted properly) and a switch and pressure sensor for lock up. 200 4r has a better first hear for cars, not as low as 700r4 first hear ratio, so less drop from first to second. I have used both 200 4r and 700r4. I prefer 200 4r. Watched a video of a black 67 vette with a 900hp turbo LT1 with a 200 4r running 176mph in standing mile. Nice to see it handing lambos their ass to them

    Like 1

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