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Kick Yourself Later: 1996 Chevy Impala SS


There are cars that we see today, right now, for short money. We wonder if they could be collectible some day, and how long we’d have to hold onto them before approaching any sort of collector car status. This 1996 Chevy Impala SS here on eBay is one such example of a limited production, modern muscle car that will likely be desired by Chevy enthusiasts in the future. Right now, this is a down-on-its-luck project that needs a new home – will you kick yourself later if you don’t jump at the chance to buy one on the cheap? 

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The Impala SS was as good as it gets for a factory hot rod: swap in the Corvette-sourced LT1 V8, add the 9C1 police package with requisite suspension and cooling upgrades, fatten up the tires and wheels and away you go. Chevy didn’t do much to liven up the interior, but who cares? The SS was about looking bad and sitting low, a family sedan capable of delivering the best smoke show a soccer mom or dad could ask for. Of course, you need to be careful about that last part: transmission failures were not uncommon.

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The subtle rear spoiler, dual exhaust and body color moldings all helped to give the Impala SS some much needed attitude over the standard-issue sedan. Sadly, this car’s good looks are marred by some serious rust in the trunk, floors and gas tank supports. It’s so bad the car won’t pass inspection, and in its home state of Maine, that’s pretty tough to do. The Pine Tree State is one of the more lenient environs when it comes to inspections, so the parts car that the seller is including isn’t just out of good will: you’re likely going to need every inch of good metal it will offer up.

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But back to the original point: yes, it’s rusty. But it does run and the seller says it hasn’t been abused. The original brushed aluminum wheels will need refinishing but they are included. If you treat this as a car that someday will be impossible to find, this rusty example could occupy a corner of the shop while you periodically replace various patches on the chassis. There’s already one bid for $2,000, which makes me think I’m not alone when it comes to predicting this car’s future collectability.


  1. Howard A Member

    Very popular at Monster truck shows or Demo derby. $2,000 dollar bid? Why the holdout? ( can you “shill” your own car?)

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  2. edh

    I’ll take my chances and pass on these.

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  3. Ed P

    This car looks nice from the pictures, but the floors and trunk floor is rusted out. That is going to take some real body work. Desirable, but no thanks.

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  4. Fred

    I keep seeing SS models that were bought new and stored, anticipating a high return. Not happening yet.

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  5. Kincer Dave

    How time flies, it feels like it was just yesterday when I had my new Z28 and a buddy of mine had one of these Impala SS’s brand new.

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  6. RayT Member

    I was pleasantly surprised by the SS when it came out. Really disliked the big boat Caprice, but with the Corvette engine and HD police suspension, the SS was a monster. Drove one on a racetrack and fell in love! If only Chevy had offered a manual transmission….

    Don’t know which I liked better: the SS or the Mercury Marauder. Would be fun to have either.

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  7. DENIS

    I have owned several…wonderful road cars. Never saw one with rust in floor pan however. too far away from me to buy and haul…

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  8. Cassidy

    An underbody shot would sure help bidders decide how much work it will take to make it road worthy. Will future buyers turn their noses up at it because it has too many doors? I think there are enough of these cars still on the road below the rust belt to bother taking on this junkyard escapee. Another case of someone driving their car into the ground and then wanting a good chunk of change for their junk. Pass.

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  9. Mimo

    From a collector standpoint wouldn’t you look for cars that people lusted after when they were new…60-70’s muscle cars for example. Did anybody really want one of these when they were a kid and now that they have money buy one?

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  10. PaulG

    Here’s one in sunny AZ for $1800:

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  11. JimA

    Barn finds or Crazy Stu’s used car lot. Come on guys, be a little more selective with your write ups.

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    • David Frank David Member

      Some people just don’t understand why barn finds are so interesting and just like to write about interesting cars. I don’t understand it, with all the hundreds of barn finds to write about, there are more and more of these used car write-ups every day. Why is the concept of barn finds so hard to understand? And then they say we have a negative attitude. There’s lots of blogs and surely one on this model Chevy as well.

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  12. American_Badaz

    I have had 2 of this style caprice. Both lowered 3″. One was a wagon with a 330hp crate engine. Once lowered properly, they actually handle quite well and still have a decent ride. As much as I love the SS’s, I think this one is merely a parts donor for a clone.

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  13. Glen

    I didn’t know about these cars having an LT1 and Police package, once again I learned something from Crazy Stu’s! Keep up the good work.

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  14. Charles

    Agreed this will be a future collectable, but no thanks for a rust bucket. There are too many of these things for sale in the south with little to no rust.

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  15. moosie Craig

    I had a ’95 9C1 Crapice, an ex Idaho cop car I got off of e-bay. I was slowly turning it into a SS until someone came along and wanted it worse then I. I really liked the car and regret selling it but the money was right, It rode very smooth, handled great, plenty of power with that almost LT1 350 .I’d buy this one in a HEARTBEAT !

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  16. grant

    These never did anything for me personally. The performance was great, but it’s still a gussied up Caprice. Boring exterior and typical blah GM interior. Mine it for the drive train and scrap it.

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  17. Charles

    I believe that an intact clean example of one of these cars is the only real value here. The LT1 drivetrain, while awesome in it’s day, was made obsolete when the LS engines were introduced. The only market for an LT1 these days is if a buyer is interested in a car that came with an LT1 for the sake of maintaining originality. There were quite a few of these Impala SS cars built and a fair number were held back by the original owners as keepsakes. There are a lot of nice low mileage original cars available. Add to that the number of high mileage cars that are all intact that have lived in areas where rust is not a problem, and there are plenty of these cars available. There are two examples just on my street, and I can point out a 1/2 dozen more in the north Georgia area alone. These cars were awesome rides in thier day. The police spec Caprice also shared the same engine and most of the chassis parts. The tribe had several of them, and they were highly respected as intercepter cars. It will not surprize me if this car becomes a parts car.

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  18. Paul R

    These were really nice family sedans. They were fast and handled well for a big car.
    The LT-1 350 had Iron heads and produced 260 HP unlike the aluminum head LT-1 Vette that produced 300 HP.
    Still, it held its own for a big sedan.

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  19. bob

    I found a Police package wagon for my friend who needed a big car for his work. Other than rusting out completely that was a great vehicle.

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  20. Jeff Staff

    So, I guess I’m the only one who flips through the classifieds of old car magazines and ogle what you could have bought for pocket change when they reached the age of this car. There are P-L-E-N-T-Y of old boats that guys twice my age will reach deep, deep into their wallets to own, warts and all, solely because they had a fond memory of owning one when they were kids or the blonde-haired girl down the street drove by your house in one every day.

    There are cars in our midst that someday, regardless of their warts, someone will fork over good money for. I find it fun to to dream about what those cars might be, almost like placing a bet on what we’ll all wish we could still buy for $2K in 25 years.

    Finally, some days, eBay doesn’t cough up any true barn finds that either haven’t been already written about or were simply dreadful cars to begin with. An SS is not just a used car – it was a serious performance sedan when introduced and is still sought after today. Everyone has different definitions of what makes a car interesting, and if we all agreed on everything, life would be boring indeed.

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    • Ed P

      Any posting that is of no interest to me, I ignore. I don’t complain because there are plenty more postings that are interesting to me. Do not change a thing, Jeff.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      You are definitely not the only one… :-) Well said, Jeff!

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  21. Dave Wright

    I owned and drove a 96 Buick Roadmaster waggon for several years. Actually liked it so much I went out of my way to buy a second one. The LT1 is an incredible engine, over 20MPG on the highway with lots of power. That said, this rusty example is a parts car. A nice one would be great to have in your livery but there are so many nice ones why would anyone want a rusty one?

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  22. Todd Zuercher

    Good perspective, Jeff!

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