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Retirement Present: 1971 Chevrolet Impala Custom

This 1971 Chevrolet Impala is being sold by the original owner’s son. The car was purchased by the dad new in 1971 from VAN-T Chevrolet in Topeka, Kansas upon his retirement from the US Army as a retirement present to himself. The car was driven to Central Washington and used sparingly for trips to the commissary and then was garaged around 2005. It was started occasionally for the next 20 years but has not been started in the past 10 years. The vehicle is located in Yakima, Washington and is listed here on eBay. There are five days remaining in the auction and the bidding is strong with the current bid at $14,850. We appreciate Larry D. for finding this unique sedan with only 48k miles.

As stated above, the engine has not been started in 10 years. The car is powered by a Chevrolet 350 cubic inch V8 engine backed by an automatic transmission. The engine is fed through a 2 barrel carburetor so the engine is probably adequate but not powerful. The battery is stated to be dead and the seller is upfront about its condition. However, it was running well before the car was parked. The seller states that there is no rust thru due to the arid climate for Yakima, Washington. There are some small bubbles in the paint and surface rust on the car. With the arid climate, the car probably will need new gaskets and seals as well as weatherstripping.

The blue interior matches the exterior. There are no good pictures of the seats but the seller states that his dad put seat covers on the car and the cloth seats are like new. There is a crack int he driver’s door arm reast abut the door panels and dash look good. The glass looks nice and the car has an aftermarket stereo that was added in the 1980’s. The original spare tire and jack are in the trunk. The seller found a receipt for new tires from 1989 so those will need to be replaced.

The seller states that the rear louvers on the trunk were optional and make this Impala a Custom. I think it looks cool. There is some paint problems with the trunk lid. The chrome looks good and the seller states that the car has never been in a wreck. Does this Code 26 Mulsanne blue car bring back memories to anyone?


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    What a pretty red battery ground cable! I’m sure nothing could go wrong there, SMH.

    Like 16
    • Ken Member

      Positive ground
      Just kidding.
      Easy fix

      Like 1
  2. alphasud Member

    A real time capsule! The rear louvres on the deck lid was part of the flow trough ventilation that only appeared on 71 GM models. It was abandoned when the water got into the louvres and froze in the winter. They also drew in the cars exhaust in some instances. GM went back to the drawing board and placed vents in the drivers doors. They do look cool though.

    Like 26
  3. Big_Fun Member

    Nice to see a blue/blue interior combination. It seems most were earth tones.
    Definitely some changes under the hood. Many raise an eyebrow to read heater hoses. Easy fix. Same for the battery cables. No wonder the battery went dead. What’s the old saying? “Two positives don’t make a negative?” Something like that…

    Like 15
  4. CCFisher

    Garaged in 2005, started occasionally for 20 years, and dormant for another 10. Is this ad from the future???

    It’s an Impala Custom because of the concave rear glass, shared with Caprice. The Impala Sport Coupe had a less formal roofline and rear glass.

    Like 14
  5. Big C

    Yes, this car brings back memories. My friends dad had one. He was a GM executive, always got himself a new Impala every two years. His wife got a Caprice.

    Like 3
  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I love the condition. I remember cars like this from when I was a boy. I hope whoever buys this car enjoys it and takes care of it.

    Like 4
  7. Larry D

    Those trunk louvers were STANDARD equipment on this Impala. I always found it odd that they were on some but not all ’71 GM cars. They were on everything from the lowly Vega to the stately and elegant ’71 Buick Riviera.

    I know they didn’t perform their function as GM hoped they would, but damn they do look good.

    Like 4
    • Chuck Dickinson

      The louvers were on all the GM cars which were “new” in 71. The carryover bodies (A, F and X , i.e. Chevelle, Camaro and Nova style) did not.

      Like 4
  8. Shuttle Guy

    The lack of side pictures and more makes me think…What’s wrong with it!

    Like 1
  9. bone

    Looking under the trunk lid. you can see the car was originally a lighter blue, probably with a vinyl top. This medium blue it wears now seemed to be a favorite color to repaint cars back in the 1980s , so much so we used to call the color “repaint me blue”

    Like 1
  10. Old Iron Fan

    My parents bought a 1971 Kingswood estate wagon new. It had to have been the biggest POS to ever roll off the assembly line. The engine was the 400 and it was absolutely gutless. The camshaft and some other stuff was replaced under warranty to no avail. It was bought specifically to pull a camper – replacing our 67 Ford wagon with the 390 – and it failed miserably. For more entertainment, the left rear door simply fell off going down the road one day. At this point the vehicle was less than three years old, and it was absolutely not due to rust or any abuse. The “clamshell” tailgate and glass design seemed really cool. Unfortunately, the cable that retracted the glass broke repeatedly and after three cases of warranty repairs we gave up on it. Past that, we would simply put our hands on the glass and push up or pull down to open or close the glass. We assumed that no thief would know this and felt just as safe as if the glass were locked!

  11. joenywf64

    Ridiculous such a huge wide car would have HVAC controls to the left of the driver – must have made for one cranky front seat passenger – or even 2 if there were 3 abreast up front . lol

  12. Terry Shanahan

    The first year the Impala died. 58 thru 70 were great. 71 on gas guzzling paper weights.

    • David

      Have to disagree with you. 1977 models were revolutionary and hardly gas guzzlers relative to the time and their predecessors. Don’t forget for most folks an Impala wasn’t a 409 positraction stick shift convertible model but basic and reliable family transportation in a 4 door model or wagon.

      Like 1
      • Terry Shanahan

        David, I stand corrected. I should have said 71 thru 76. Those were boats. I owned a 73 and I bought my wife a 75 Caprice classic Broham (sp) It was a beautiful car but the sb 400 cu drank gas like a school bus.

  13. Larry D

    @Terry Shanahan
    You wrote: ” I owned a 73 and I bought my wife a 75 Caprice classic Broham (sp) It was a beautiful car but the sb 400 cu drank gas like a school bus.”

    LOL, yeah I had a ’76 Caprice Classic with a 454! It drank gas like TWO school buses! LOL But, boy he was smooth and quiet.

    Like 3
    • joenywf64

      What about if you had a ’75 caprice WAGON with 454 & 9 people & their gear inside with the a/c on, going uphill? lol
      I bet even with a LOT less cars on the roads in the states in the ’70s, when these gigantic cars were at their peak(don’t forget the big Chrysler Imperials, Cannon Lincolns, etc.), that the USA used 10 times more gasoline back then we do today. lol

      I remember Marcia & Greg driving a ’74 convertible.
      Ironically, the 1 finger power steering back then even on that gigantic car makes it much less tiresome for a 15 year old girl to drive than most rack & pinion steering setups today even on small cars.

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