Sharp Sport Coupe: 1972 Chevrolet Impala

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In 1958, there were those who opined that Chevrolet was trying to poke its nose into Cadillac territory with their new Impala. I’ve never thought that but I guess it depends on your perception of that Impala, especially compared to what Chevy was knocking out the previous year. That Cadillac appropriation matter came up again with the introduction of the fifth generation (’71-’76) Impala but by ’72, Chevrolet had changed the Impala’s face so it looked more like a Chevy than anything else. Today’s find, courtesy of Tony P, is a ’72 Impala Sport Coupe, one of only 597K Impalas built that year. It’s located in San Diego, California and is available, here on craigslist for  $17,000, OBO.

In ’72, Impala body styles included three two-door variations, the Custom, the Sport Coupe (our subject car), and a convertible. Four-door arrangements covered both a sedan and a hardtop – or a “Sport Sedan” in Chevrolet parlance. There was a station wagon too but it was known as a “Kingswood”. I can’t find a production breakdown between the Sport Coupe and the Custom but it seems that the Sport Coupe is the less commonly encountered two-door version.

The seller tells us that he purchased this car from the original owner, so I guess it’s a flip. Regardless, it shows well, there’s no visible rust or evidence of crash damage and the seller suggests it was, “very well taken care of“. This was the last year that the Impala was produced without being hampered by an ugly, massive five MPH front bumper. While this fifth generation of the Impala is not my favorite (the fourth ’65-’70 is), this edition and its ’71 predecessor still have a stately bearing; ’73 and later are just not my cup of tea. Speaking of bumpers, this car’s front and rear are straight and still possess a respectable shine.

Net horsepower ratings were new in ’72 and this Chevy’s 350 CI V8 develops 165 (it was 245 gross the previous year). The seller states, “Runs great, cruises like a Dream, a lot of power“. A Turbo-Hydramatic 350 three-speed automatic transmission handles gear changes.

The seller tells us that the avocado-green interior is in good shape except for wear on the driver’s seat. Upon closer inspection, the seat looks like it is wearing an aftermarket cover and it is starting to deteriorate. Beyond that, the image doesn’t reveal too much about the interior’s entire condition. Air Conditioning is present but we’re told that it needs to be charged – which probably means it leaks. After all, if a recharge is all it needs, it would be the thing to do as a working A/C system would greatly enhance this Impala’s sales prospects.

Final judgment? This is a 117K mile example, in exceptionally clean condition but it’s really nothing special. Again, one of almost 600K Impalas assembled in ’72 – that’s a lot of cars. The price? I think at $17K, it misses the mark; a realistic offer would be more appropriate. What’s your thought?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. CadmanlsMember

    Oh my, had one of these years ago not nearly as nice. One of my many winter beaters . Was a decent car, but far from anything memorable. Went bown the road and I suppose considering what was available it was built tough. The salted roadways couldn’t stop it, had a frame like a truck.

    Like 9
  2. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Remember that basic ’56 Chevy 2 door a while back? Well, many times, THIS was the car that replaced it. Mom and dad had gotten a bit older, possibly retired, and wanted( deserved?) more comforts, a/c, P/S, still, a pretty basic car considering the option list was a mile long. Probably their last car together, dad never went for that FWD crap, and once he died, mom got the all new Celebrity, because she didn’t know any better. FWD? What’s that? Nice find, the absolute ZENITH of automobile travel, and with no “info screen”,,oh, how did we ever manage?

    Like 26
    • Terrry

      GM doing what GM did best, building V8-powered rear wheel drive cars. Without these GM would have shriveled into dust by the 50s.

      Like 10
    • bone

      Not in New England ; rust and plain wear and tear killed off the 56s years before that . By the late 60s the tri 5s were getting torn to bits on the local short tracks – Mom probably would be trading her ’67 Bel Air station wagon in on a new ’71

      Like 1
  3. Troy

    $17,000 or best offer ok I offer $2000 bucks only because the one I purchased in 1989 I only paid $800 bucks for it and I adjusted for inflation and it’s a chevy

    Like 12
  4. Bud Lee

    I a 75 Impala (basic)and Caprice (loaded). Both were great cars. The Caprice was more in the Cadillac territory, but both were cruisers. This is “cars and coffee” gold in my opinion.

    Like 16
  5. Shawn Fox Firth

    I prefer the ’71 Custom coupe the tail lights in the body and the concave rear glass and the rear deck with the reverse cowl . Check this out > .

    Like 9
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Back in 1997, I tried to buy a ’68 Impala convertible from the Daniel Schmidtt dealership. I went all the way from Florida to St. Louis to check out what turned out to be a real wreck – talk about misrepresenting a car!


      Like 3
  6. George Mattar

    Yeah. The flipper ripped off the seller and paid like $3,500 for this 72 Chevy. Now he wants 6 times that. Pass.

    Like 25
  7. Terrry

    The malaise and safety-obsessed era hadn’t arrived yet so these were good cars. Worth $17k though? Not to me, but maybe someone who really wants one.

    Like 10
    • Frank Mirra

      Sorry, this is still a basic Impala…worth only about 3 to 4 thousand dollars…nothingvreally special about the car except where it is located and no appreciable damage..17K is a far stretch for a basic 350 without a working a AC…if it were a Caprice or a Convertible or even a big block V-8, maybe a higher price….I have a 70 Impala Sport Coupe Convertible in Supreme condition, and I don’t know if I would ask anything like that if I were to sell her….yes, the big Impalas are great running cars, but this price is really a pipe dream…sorry buddy..

      Like 7
  8. Bill V.

    Back in the late 80’s searching through the junkyard came across 72 Impala. Every side panel was dented. Most likely Grand Ma or Pa pulling in and out of garage. LOL. Needed replacement motor for my blown 78 Z28 4sd. 305 and junkyard said Chevy 350 ran great when junked. Purchased for $250 with delivery to my house. Once delivered started to tear it down and freshen it up. To my surprise motor turned out to be Chevy 400 with 4 bolt main. Slight cam, different heads, Alum intake and double pump holley carb anybody who raced me was surprised by how quick they got beat. Love the good old days of walking junkyards.

    Like 13
  9. Kenneth Carney

    Would love to have of these as a 4-door hardtop! I think they’re better
    proportioned than the 2-door, and the
    insurance company won’t charge you
    3 times the going rate because you
    own a 2-door car. That happened to
    me when I moved to Florida in 1986.
    I had a run down ’77 Mustang II coupe
    and got socked $400 a month for basic PIP with no accidents or tickets. The agent told me that any
    vehicle with 2 doors in Florida was
    considered a sports car no matter
    what it was. So I junked the Mustang
    and have been buying 4-doors ever
    since. With a 4-doir, I pay $200 a month for full coverage instead of $500-$700 a month for basic coverage on a 2-door vehicle. And the rates keep going up! Just plain
    crazy I guess. Still like these kind of
    Chevies though.

    Like 1
  10. Mike

    Well, being from Wisconsin with road salt and being 55 years old, I remember these very clearly. They were good cars and very popular. I also saw how they rusted out and what they looked like after body work was done….

    I don’t know if this is a true California car or it’s history.

    I DO know it looks very much like extensive body and paint work were done…

    Looking at the wheel wells, the way the metal looks on both sides, the flawless paint by wheels, and how it just doesn’t quite look the same as other seams…..I think this has had extensive work and is not as advertised.

    Not saying that is bad—if done right ok, but it is very likely not worth the price in my opinion.

    Like 6
    • Mike

      Brief follow up;

      Look at how the paint on the front clip doesn’t quite match the rest of the car….

      Examine very closely and you will likely see extensive bodywork….

      Next question is how much bodywork, and why?

      Like 5
      • Roland

        The front driver’s fender is light and the pass door is dark. Standard practice was to paint the panel and not blend the paint. The rest of the front clip seems to match based on the pics here (i did not go to the source ad). Fair questions to ask, probably without answers at this point.

        Like 5
  11. Jimmy Barber

    Chevrolet also made a wagon called a “Townsman” in 1972. My dad bought a used one (brown over brown) in about 1976. The car could swallow more cargo than most of today’s SUV’s.

    Like 3
  12. Maggy

    Had a 72 Caprice when I was 16 with a 400 SBC. I think the color was Nevada silver. It was a 4door hardtop. Put headers and Thrush Hush mufflers on it. 400’s had larger 2gc’s with bigger venturis then 350’s and they worked just fine for burning tires to shreds. The headers woke that old 400 sbc up.One of my favorite engines.

    Like 3
    • Jon

      I also owned a ’72 Caprice cpe. from ’73-’83 or ’84. Triple black with the 400 bb (402) 4bbl. Had those aluminum wire wheel covers with the knurled center cap. A/c, p/l, p/s, p/b, & AM-FM stereo which I changed to a Delco AM-FM-8-track stereo, and then to a (duh) Pioneer cassette. The real duh was adding a rear power antenna & cutting holes in the doors for speakers. At least I moved the p/a switch to where the switch for the rear defogger would be. This was the car I made all of my mistakes on as mentioned above. Unfortunately I drove it year around in salt addicted Minnesota.
      I sold a ’70 Caprice ( my first car) to get this one. The ’70 was the first car in my family with a/c!
      Soldy ’72 to my landlord and one night coming in from Wis. he threw the timing chain at 70 mph on I-94. Ouch!
      If you’re the same Maddy, we just had a conversation about swapping 455 Oldsmobile engines. I had the 81 Regency with a ’73 455.

      Like 2
  13. John

    I spy possible rust in front of the rear wheel, maybe needs a closer exam?

    Like 2
  14. Chris Cornetto

    I grew up in these. My mom bought a 71 custom coupe new. In 1981 I bought a wrecked 71 dark green version of this body style with a 454 400th and full options, I.E. ac, power windows, seat, cruise, stereo. That car even had a box for tissues on the transmission tunnel under the dash with a stainless band with a Chevy emblem in it. I walked a front clip onto it had a Reese hitch installed and towed a car trailer with it up into the mid 90s at which time I retired it. My current beater is a convertible 72 bought in 1989 for 500.00. Get a good look at this photo because you will never see this car like this again. The next time you see this old soul it will be sitting on 24s or 26s painted neon orange with some horrendous gold interior with a TV protruding from the dash and a trunk full of speakers. I almost hate driving any of mine of which I still have them all plus some because of the constant barrage of Donkers looking to score. These cars were orphans by the mid 80s. Like the big barges over at Ford and Chrysler these had their engines extracted for any Chevelle, pickup and so on. They passed through the wrecking yard like jellybeans at Easter and aside from me I never met anyone else who cared. 75 convertibles were snarled up simply because they were the last otherwise the EZ press turned thousands into 30 second tide bits for the ever hungry metal munched. What a difference 35 years makes.

    Like 2
    • Jason

      You weren’t the only one who cared…..there are at least three of us

      Like 1
  15. John Griffith

    I would expect perfection for $17K. This has non-working air, suspect body work and a seat cover on the front seat, as well as 117K on the odo. Taking $10K off the asking price would be a good starting point for negotiation.

    Like 3

    My uncle had one of these when I was 5 years old, so that was in 1978. I rode with him to the shop to get snow tires installed in the back, and when they were jacking it up the frame broke clean through on the rear driver’s side. So in less than ten years of SW PA winters, it had rotted in every conceivable part of the car. The look on the mechanic’s face said “oh crap, I messed up bad!” But it wasn’t his fault, it was the megatons of salt that Pennsylvania used in the wintertime.

    Like 2
  17. John P

    The grille looks like a 1971 model that I sold as a Chevrolet salesman back then.

    Like 0
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Image attached is a ’71.


      Like 2
      • bone

        That looks like the one the bad guy was driving in “Live and Let Die” !

        Like 1
  18. Matt in Flint

    Nice car but I feel it’s a bit overpriced.
    I also fear in Cali this original won’t remain original much longer, can you say low rider!

    Like 1
  19. mike

    well i would offer 7,500 nice car i feel 7,500 is more what it is worth sorry

    Like 2
  20. Lance

    Wonderful big roomy car for a summer road trip in comfort effortlessly gobbling up miles of interstate highway. Too bad the air conditioning system is not working. Classic styling from my youth and my aspirational Impala or GM sister Catalina for my post college life. Then stricter emission laws, CAFE mandates, oil embargos, rising insurance rates based on horsepower and anti-American car media hype along with high inflation rates of the Carter era drove up prices and interest buying family sized cars and the 55mph speed limit destroyed the dream. This Impala is not perfect (seat, a/c, smaller block, 100k+ miles) but it represents what was lost in American automotive culture.

    Like 2
  21. RickD716

    I’d say 17 grand is definitely a stretch, but even though the Impala may have been the Camry of its time, how many are left today in decent condition like this one? Being a Sport Coupe also makes it a bit more rare than a garden variety coupe or sedan. Somewhere in the 8-9 grand range would be a reasonable price.

    Like 0
  22. Nova John

    Back in the early 80’s, my sister had a 72 Impala Custom, 350/350. One snowy NJ day, it took her on a toboggan ride and it came home on the wrecker, with the front passenger wheel tucked under the car. She was distraught and I ended up with the engine as repayment for her insurance money I had loaned her. That engine now propels my Corvette and will soon be transferred to my Nova. Great car and a great engine, even if it didn’t like the snow ; ) For a big girl, that car was a mover, but a drinker too! But considering the Malaise parade that would follow it, I wouldn’t have a problem restoring one. We just need these prices to normalize. Enough with the “Gold for Old” BS and get us to where a fair price is attainable. A nice example though. Jim’s pic of the ’71 is pretty sweet too ……

    Like 1
  23. Jay McCarthy

    Not seeing that kind of money for a non descript albeit decent appearing Chevrolet Impala

    Like 1
  24. Ronnie McMahon

    My mother had the 4 door version as a kid, she got it used in 80, drove it to south carolina in 89, when she and my brother moved up there from Florida, drove it awhile after the move, and it quit, don’t know the exact details, in the 9 years she had it, it only required general maintenance, no major issues at all the motor and tranny, very strong, it’s a shame they don’t make them like that anymore!

    Like 2

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