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Hidden Muscle: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS

There are some project cars that we will take on knowing that they are financially viable, while others will come along and we just know that we are going to be in the fight of our life to break even when the time comes to sell. The owner of this 1996 Impala SS probably falls into the latter category, with the owner having plowed a total of $39,900 into the car. Its subdued looks should not fool you, because it now appears to have plenty of muscle. The Impala is located in Akron, Ohio, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The opening bid has been set at $12,000, but there are currently no bids on the car.

The overall condition of the Impala is very good. It does have a few non-original pieces that have been installed over the years. These include the SLP Ram Air hood, and the Street Trends aluminum billet grille. The panels and paint all look to be in very good condition, while the wheels have held a good shine over the past 23-years.

The interior of the Impala is in extremely good condition, and it belies the fact that the car has 102,000 miles under its belt. While we can’t see what things are like under the dash cover, what is visible looks really good. The leather upholstery looks clean, free of staining and dirt, and it also looks nice and soft. As befits a car of this stature, there are plenty of comfort features at the owner’s disposal. These include air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, airbags, and power seats. In addition, the car has been fitted with a state-of-the-art stereo with a total of 12 speakers hidden around the car. That’s nearly enough power to host an AC/DC concert (well, maybe not). Another interesting addition to the interior is the installation of billet aluminum door pulls, which feature the “Leaping Impala” logo.

The spending spree on the Impala hasn’t been confined to the inside of the car, because plenty of time, money, and effort have gone into what is under the hood. What resides here is the original 350ci V8, which is backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission. That engine used to produce 260hp. It doesn’t do that anymore. Thanks to the addition of a substantial list of performance parts, this engine now pushes out 420hp. The list of parts is just enormous, but includes a set of ’96 Corvette LT4 aluminum cylinder heads, a Competition Cams camshaft, matched Bosch injectors, a computer chip upgrade, an LT4 intake, ceramic coated headers, and a stainless steel exhaust. I could list everything, but then this article would finish up being enormous. So, performance shouldn’t be lacking.

So, here is a car where the owner has outlaid a significant sum of money, and the question has to be asked as to whether he can hope to recoup this money when he does part with it. There are plenty of pristine examples kick around for under $30,000, and you can find them for under $20,000. What makes this one a bit more intriguing is the fact that there is no indication on the listing that there is a reserve. It is possible that a single bid could see this car changing hands.


  1. Bakyrdhero

    That’s a lot of money

    Like 3
  2. Ike Onick

    How can that not be a divorce car?

    Like 9
  3. RayT Member

    Lose aftermarket hood, grille, and door pulls. Then drive. Often, and hard.

    What good is (slightly) stealthy performance if you strip away some of the stealth?

    I really liked these when they were new, even though the non-Impala SS versions left me cold. Like the Mercury Marauder, they were understated, but could cover ground in a hurry. Even winding-road-style ground.

    Like 4
    • Ralph

      “the non-Impala SS versions left me cold.”

      Caprice…..they were called Caprices.

      Like 8
  4. ACZ

    Too bad they never made a coupe version.

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      & lowered the roof by at least a half a foot – even on the 4 doors.
      I bet even those front side windows don’t roll all the way down.

      Like 0
  5. Tom Henderson

    If I EVER spend $30K on a car, it will not have 102,000 miles. 

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      Or two extra doors, or look like a taxi cab.

      Like 3
    • Chunk

      How about this one, which would cost you $12,000 as-is?

      Like 1
  6. Miguel

    How could you spend 30K on a car like this and still end up with a car that doesn’t look like it?

    Like 2
    • Grreg

      Had one of these. Cushy cruiser. With the power upgrades
      I’m sure it performs well even for a heavy car. At the right price whatever that is somebody will get a lot for relatively little.

      102k? What’s the big deal? If it hasn’t been thrashed she probably has a lot of life left in her. New owner—enjoy!

      Like 2
      • Boatman Member

        “Hasn’t been thrashed”? If I spent that kind of money on a motor, there would be thrashing!

        Like 2
  7. Chris

    I thought they were orginally 300hp stock

    Like 1
  8. Donnie

    The car would have been worth more leaving it all original.

    Like 1
  9. JimmyinTEXAS

    12/11/06… “The body is not exactly straight on the frame.”

    Like 1
    • Superdessucke

      Yeah, I’d be a tinge concerned on that.

      Like 1
  10. JimmyinTEXAS

    Dang, I missed the edit cut off time…
    I like these cars and might look at this one if it were local, but dayum, that car has been worn out taking it apart and put back together. It wore me out just reading the description. Repaired the headlight wiring more than once and then replace the dimmer switch in the switch cluster/stem. Man-o-man.

    Like 1
  11. Joe Daniel Farris Member

    Got one of the 6000 made in 94 I love it, I did put a 96 shifter in it. The optispark is a little problematic but it has balls.

    Like 0
  12. shanahan

    Somebody drowned in red ink.

    Like 0
    • Superdessucke

      Hopefully this can serve as a lesson on how expensive cars really are! Recent prices show that’s either been forgotten or people entering the hobby lack experience on this.

      Like 1
  13. Keefer Zeller

    I hope this guy had fun for his $40k. He will never get that back. It’s money under the bridge at this point. And since when do you include insurance and registration as costs of upgrades or repairs? Just a totally crazy way to spend your money but, to each his own.

    Like 1

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