Pace Car Tribute: 1995 Impala SS Brickyard

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Over the years, racing events like the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 have inspired numerous marketing opportunities, not the least of which is the creation of tribute cars to commemorate a brand’s involvement as the official pace car leading the field. However, some of these spinoffs can fall flat, resulting in nothing more than window dressing on an otherwise stock car. This Brickyard edition Chevy Impala SS here on craigslist is a new one to me, so check it out and let us know if you remember seeing these when new. 

Now, I love the Impala SS. This is such a badass car in every respect, so let’s forget about the Brickyard connection for a moment. The blacked out body, subtle trunk spoiler, five-point alloy wheels and fat rubber – the list goes on for ways the Impala SS was distinguished from its more ordinary siblings, but the best part was how unassuming it was. It didn’t need a bunch of stickers to make it something special; hell, you’d be hard-pressed to find the SS badges if you didn’t know where to look.

Of course, the best part of the package was the LT1 small-block V8 lifted from the Corvette, paired to a transmission that didn’t exactly have the best reputation for durability. These special edition Impalas also benefitted from a limited-slip and a lowered suspension. Inside was pretty much standard GM fare for the era – acres of gray plastic, gray carpeting and gray leather. Fortunately, you were there for the performance of that retuned Corvette motor, not the interior luxuries. This odd Brickyard edition looks exactly the same inside as other Impala SSs.

Image courtesy of Mecum Auctions

Now, here’s what the actual pace car looked like from race day. Hunter green paint and some different stickers, but for the most part, a bone-stock SS. Which leads me to believe that the seller’s car is merely an attempt to dress up a standard SS. Now, I’m happy to be proven wrong if Chevy actually rolled out a special edition Brickyard version nationwide, but if you’re checking out the ad, just go for the SS and not the “special sauce”.

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond

    I have always loved these “SS” Impalas from the 1990s. Could this be a dealer add-on edition?

    2+
  2. irocrob

    I had a purple 1995 for a brief time. 1996 they went to buckets and a floor shift. Looking back they were a huge car

    3+
  3. Scott

    Most likely a specific trim package for a group of dealers eg: (central Indiana Chevy dealers). Nice Impala.

    1+
  4. Rustytech

    Great car, but the graphics would have to go! And yes these were Hugh, I think these gained back ever inch they had lost in the GM down sizing of 1977. They weren’t especially fast, and handling was not that good, but they were a nice cruiser for sure!

    1+
    • Kevin Wernick

      These things were anything but good looking. The only thing worse, were the station wagons

      3+
      • Matt VanLuven

        These B-body’s have a huge following. I myself have a 95 Fleetwood. Basically a luxury addition. Only 6″ longer.

        0
    • BigKahuna13

      You should educate yourself. For the time they were very fast and beat every car in their class. They also handled pretty well and brakes amazingly well.

      16+
      • Kevin Wernick

        I “AM” educated. A life long mechanic and car buff.

        2+
      • rynomite

        And, you should educate yourself, because while these were “quick”, they most certainly did not beat all of their competitors. These Impalas, let alone anything else, couldn’t hold a candle to the e39’s. Sorry, but that’s just facts. BMW owned the full size sports sedan market.

        0
      • V. Ebbighausen

        Indeed, they were fast, handled well & by today’s standards still are. I have a 1996 with 17,000 miles; bought new. 140 MPH isn’t bad for a full size sleeper.

        5+
  5. Len Mac Dougall

    If that is a true Ss where is the duel exhaust coming out of the back of it . I think it’s a clone

    1+
  6. Keith

    This one’s local to me. Saw the ad some time ago, and thought the seller was crazy to ask so much for what appeared to be nothing more than a sticker package. Maybe it’s something – but I kinda have my doubts.

    I’ve never owned an Impala SS, but I did have a very similarly equipped ’95 Caprice. It was an ex-Minnesota State Patrol unit, with RPO 9C3 – police equipment, civilian appearance and interior (for supervisors or undercover use). “Purple Pearl Metallic” with immaculate gray cloth interior and carpets, speed-rated Goodyear Eagles on black steelies with the proper chrome rings and caps (trim added by me), and – best of all – no “mounting holes” drilled anywhere on it.

    Near as I can figure, it spent the first 100K miles driven by an accident reconstruction official. But even in such light usage, the thing had an appetite for transmissions. I bought it in non-moving condition, and it was already on its second box by then. Took three junkyard 4L60Es before I got a working one… fortunately you could squeeze the bellhousing between the dual exhaust, barely, if you tilted things just so 🙂

    With limited slip and a 350, that thing had no problem getting motivated. I won’t be crass and write a number, but suffice it to say that the highest straight-line speeds I’ve ever done were in that car.

    I’d gladly grab another, but they’re getting hard to find in reasonable condition. (I’d like a well-equipped late ’80s Caprice even better, but good luck finding one that hasn’t been neglected and/or kiddied out past the point of needing a full resto!)

    5+
  7. gbvette62

    The pace “car” for the 95 Brickyard, was actually a truck. In 95, a heavily modified, T-top equipped, 95 regular cab, short box Silverado was used to pace the 400.

    That SS is likely a parade car, or one of the hundred’s of other official cars, required to be supplied by the manufacturer of the pace car for each Indy event. These cars are usually provided to race officials, dignitaries, and other select individuals, for use during the event. Afterwards, they’re usually made available to local dealers, and are sold as new vehicles, much in the same way as demos are sold.

    This practice isn’t limited to Indy, or even racing events. Manufacturers often supply courtesy cars to various events, that are offered to dealers, after the event. In 2003, Cadillac sponsored the PGA Seniors tour played at the Aronimink Golf Course outside of Philadelphia, and they supplied a number of cars for the event. Our local dealer had a few of these cars, and we bought a loaded 03 Performance Edition CTS, with 230 miles on it, that had been used at the tournament. Because these cars belonged to GM, the window sticker showed the delivering dealer as Cadillac Motor Division, Detriot MI, not a local dealer. Of course, there were no stickers, stripes, etc on it for a golf tournament.

    I don’t think the price is out of line. Clean, low miles 94-96 Impala SS’, often sell for $10,000 to $15,000, sometimes more.

    3+
  8. Johnni B

    I believe that “Purple color” was called Black Cherry. A 1996 Impala SS has always been on my bucket list of cars to have.

    3+
    • Cassius W

      Dark Cherry Metallic. The color is gorgeous on those cars

      0
  9. Will

    It’d be cooler if it was that green color and even though the SS is cool I don’t think it’s worth that much. Here’s the saved ad with all the images and details http://www.craigslistadsaver.com/view.php?name=1995ImpalaSS

    1+
  10. ags290

    I was working at a Buick/GMC dealership when these were new. The Buick B body was the Roadmaster and they were good cars other than the transmission issues already mentioned and the Optispark ignitions.

    On my way to work I drove past the Arlington Assembly Plant where these were made and the storage lots were full of them. I wanted one of these from the time they were new and when the 96 came out with the floor shifter and bucket seats they were that much better! I always enjoyed peeking over at the sea of B bodies.

    Needless to say they weren’t the most practical of cars for a young family man and I never bought one for myself. In looking back I actually like the Mercury Marauder of this period better now than the SS, but will still enjoy having either one.

    1+
  11. AMXSTEVE

    I was gonna trade my 87 GN in on one of these when my first son was born but decided against it. I couldn’t justify the need for four doors to losing my beloved GN.

    This one looks clean enough but now it’s just another used car. Any Camry will spank it and get better gas mileage with modern comfort. not worth 15g

    1+
  12. 86 Vette Convertible

    Whether it’s real or not, the stickers would have to go IMO. Heck my Vette is a Pace Car version. All that meant is every Vette Convertible of that year came with the stickers to put on if you wanted, nothing more. The pace car was yellow, mines red, doesn’t matter as every convertible was a Pace Car Edition. Didn’t add anything to it IMO. Only thing the stickers did was prevent the paint from fading under them.

    Base you decision on the cars merits, not some stick-on stuff. I won’t have them on, but that’s me.

    2+
  13. Craig

    These “bathtubs” kick azz, I wanted a SS Impaler but couldnt afford one (used of course) so I shopped E-BAY and found a decent (pricewise) ’95 9C1 Crapiece (ex canine unit) out in Idaho, paid $900.00 bucks for it plus $1200.00 for shipping and was happy as a clam, the only qualm I had with the car was that was when the gas gauge said empty,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, it was. No room for any hesitation to stop for gas. when that warning light lit up you had better stop for gas immediately. It ran fine with that almost LT-1 350 . The Vette motor had aluminum heads, 9C1’s & SS Impalers had cast iron, the car handled very decently for such a boat , accelerated beyond great, stopped great, and rode very smooth down the highway. Sometimes I miss that Crapiece.

    0
  14. Rod_Munch

    More than likely a Parade or Festival car supplied by GM for the festivities surrounding the Indy 500. Always liked these SS models. Interesting find.

    1+
  15. FRED CLARK

    I LOVE THESE CARS . MY MANAGEMENT COMPANY IS IMPALA MANAGEMENT GROUP . I WANTED ONE So BAD And ALMOST HAD THE WIFE CONVINCED BUT SHE SAID WE NEEDED A TRUCK SO I GOT A 4X4 SILVERADO And MADE THAT SOMETHING TO PUT ANY IMPALA SS TO SHAME . I GOT MY IMPALA SS BUT IT WAS A 1965

    0

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