Stalled Project: 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS 396

In 1989, this Impala SS 396 was driven into a dry shed for restoration, but as can happen so easily, the project stalled, and the car hasn’t been touched since 1990. It is a car that shows a huge amount of promise but will require a special person with some dedication to get the Impala back on the road again. If that sounds like you, then you will find the Impala located in Somerset, Kentucky, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $6,101 in a No Reserve auction.

Under that 30-year-old layer of dust is a Danube Blue Impala. As you can see, the frame has been restored and looks to be nice and clean. Similarly, the floors also look nice and solid, with no signs of rust anywhere. The owner says that the body is free of any Bondo or repairs, so this really does have all the makings of a great project car. In addition, it does appear that the Impala is complete because the owner provides plenty of photos showing a good accumulation of parts and components.

The interior of the Impala is going to require restoration, but it looks like it would be well worth the effort. Once again, while the interior looks to be missing a few bits, the additional photos would tend to indicate that any removed components have remained with the car. If the Impala is returned to original, the combination of the Danube Blue paint and pale blue vinyl interior would make for a striking car.

The news just keeps getting better with the SS. This is a full, numbers-matching car, with a 325hp 396ci engine, Powerglide transmission, and 12-bolt rear end. When the restoration commenced, that 396 was sent out for a rebuild. It now sits on an engine stand all fresh and crisp, just waiting for the day when it gets slotted back under the hood of this classic. The rear end has also been given a check, and is now freshly detailed and slotted back into the car. This is a car that is going to take some patience to reassemble, but the end results should be well worth the effort.

I know that we have plenty of readers who aren’t keen on tackling a car in this state because while it might appear to all intent and purpose to be complete, it is only when the assembly process is commenced that the next owner will discover what little screws, bolts, and brackets might be missing. However, this is a desirable car, and the photos indicate that it is about as solid and clean as you are ever likely to find in a project car. In my mind, that would certainly make it a car that would be worth the time and effort to restore.


  1. Gaspumpchas

    Correct Danube blue? How would you know. Wash it so the buyer can get a look at what he’s buying. Am I making any sense here? Good potential for a great project. Good luck to the new owner!!

    Like 16

      To me, the dust does not add value.

      Like 13
      • Big Len

        I’m not buying this as a real barn find.

        Like 2

        UV protectant?

        Like 6
  2. ccrvtt

    One of the all-time best big coupe designs and in good shape. Has the magic numbers – 3 9 6.

    But it’s gonna be a LOT of work.

    Like 16
    • mjf

      Hmmm nightmare amount of work

      Like 1
      • Glenn Schwass Member

        As long as there are a pile of parts to go with it, this is a piece of cake for anyone who works on cars. ( and I have only done heads, clutch, engine, tranny swaps etc) It’s a powerglide, which if the shifter and parts are there is an afternoon. If the paint cleans up, the only expense is an interior…compared to the rust buckets and crap people take on, that we see on this site, this could be done in a couple of months, of weekends.

        Like 7
  3. WilliamTell

    Gotta luv basket 🧺 cases..

    Lost bolts and missing pieces along with where did that go makes this project so exciting .

    It’s like taking a hammer 🔨 to your hand 🖐 and saying thank you van I have another .

    Like 4
  4. Larry Member

    Dummy me, I had a 65 Impala SS 396 2dr HT. About 15 years ago I took it to a local car auction with no reserve and it only brought $700. Never will I ever do that again. At the same auction on that day, I only got $800 for a 54 Ford Skyliner 2dr HT and $3900 for a real nice 47 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery Street Rod. I lost over $8500

    Like 4
    • Bodyman68

      Lol maybe try a reserve on your items !

      Like 4
    • George mattar

      I had a White on red 65 Impala and got it for $500 off the orig owner, my great aunt who won it in a church raffle in the summer of 65 at our church in the Poconos. She drove it as a summer car as she lived in NYC. It had about 60,000 miles when I got it. Front toeboards rotted. I pulled at least 5 pounds of pine needles out of the air vents by the kick panels. Drove that car until 2001 and sold it with 200,000 miles. It was my daily driver.

      Like 6
  5. Del

    What would a cheap car cover cost ?

    Haha 😂

    Like 3
  6. Gaspumpchas

    I’d slide a 4 speed in there. Nothing like those big old Chevies with a stick. Good luck to the new pwner.

    Like 7
  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    Here’s a flashback. My ex brother in law raced a ’65 Impala just like this at Hales Corners Speedway, Wis. ( now a Menards) He never won, the Chevelle’s usually did, but he did pretty good for a full size car, placing in the top 10 every race. That was a lot of fun.

    Like 7
    • dbauer

      Ha! My pa took us kids to Hale Corners speedway plenty of times during the summers of the late 1970s to early 80s. Saw a few exciting races (and crashes) and met a few local drivers. Was a great track that rivaled the State Fair track.

      As for the car: looks to be a good foundation to a life long keeper. I’d get her running and cruise a few summers while making repairs and period improvements. She’s a keeper!

      Like 7
  8. Rodney - GSM

    Was “Garage Dust Brown” a GM color in in 1965? Interesting….

    Like 6
    • MFerrell

      Yes, it was! Garage Dust Brown was introduced around 1970 for 1965 models, but exact dates are a bit sketchy.

      Like 10
  9. JW454

    These were the cars of my youth. In the early seventies the best one you could find was only $500.00. I had an Impala for every year from 1958 to 1966 except 1959. I had several of some years. 1965 was a favorite and I had 3 or 4 of them. In 1975, shortly after American Graffiti came out, I bought a black 1958 with the tri-tone black-white-and turquoise interior for $550.00. Within a couple of days it had 1959 Cadillac tail lamp lenses in it and the California rake. I opted for Cragar SS 5 spokes instead of the chrome reverse. Since it already had one antenna on one quarter panel, I found another one in the junkyard and mounted it as a dummy on the other side. I miss the days when you could go to the junkyard and find what you needed to fix up these old cars. The air shocks came from a later ’60’s Pontiac Bonneville. The Cadillac tail lamp lenses came from a ’59 Convertible, and the antenna came from an Impala 2 door hardtop, just like mine, that had been stopped in full flight against something pretty solid very suddenly. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Like 18
    • john

      Good story, I can relate. That 396 was the motor that replaced the 409. Your post sounded like me when I was a kid. I knew those cars inside out.For me,seeing where those screws go would not be a nightmare.

      Like 5
  10. bigdoc

    Very nice 65 My brother had one with a six banger 3 on the tree. Sweet driving car but no power.

    Like 2
  11. Bodyman68

    Nice car easy resto since alot is done . Id ditch the pg in store for a 4spd auto and drive it . Too bad not many comments from actual car guys ,as usual trash n bash .

    Like 13
    • pugsy


      Like 4

    Always considered myself a pretty good “Parts Replacer” meaning, if I took it apart, I can put it back. This car, well, it wouldn’t be good for me, I’m sure I would confuse too much. I picture turning on the headlights, and the radio going on.
    Could be a great deal for the right person. Always liked this body style. I like the Powerglide too

    Like 4
  13. John Oliveri

    Nice project cause it’s solid, the powerglide would get dumped, and turbo 400 or 700R would go in that hole, and if the dark paint is good, white gut, then you’d have a car

    Like 1
  14. les

    I always look at the surrounding areas when i see a {barn find}
    When i see a fine appearing layer of dust on the vehicle but the floor is clean I question authenticity in this case the dust does not equal more money.If it is original 30 years old dust the pictures might have been better with the floor and surrounding areas being shown.However this looks like a good deal on a desirable car

    Like 3
  15. ACZ

    Nice starting project provided most of the parts are there. Not much for this one would be hard to find. First year for curved door glass gave it really nice contours. The “96er” makes it all the more appealing, regardless of the trans. Good luck to whoever wants it. It’ll be fun before and after it’s finished.

    Like 1
  16. JP

    I had a ’67 Impala SS 396 4sp & it was very fast! I always liked the 65s but never owned one. This one seems to be a good buy for the right person @ the right price.

    Like 2
  17. Philip Bregar

    Nice car, nice 63 SS wheel covers.

  18. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    These are nice cars when restored, unfortunately the 64 models bring more money. Tail lights are a one year design, but give the car a very distinct look. Someone tore up the dash on this one, but at least it doesn’t appear to be cut up. Whoever gets this baby will have their hands full, probably for years to come.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  19. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Love those taillights!

    Like 2
  20. TimM

    Great car!! I would have to forget about the numbers matching and put a 4 or 5 speed in it!! Tons of work but the payoff is a cool big block cruiser!!

    Like 1
  21. Roy Blankenship

    Bravo to Bodyman68! Truth! ’65 and ’66 were my favorites, style wise, I had a ’66 Caprice I originally bought in 1970 as a cruiser, 396-325 Turbo, it ran 15.30’s on Hercules 8.25 x 14 whitewalls. It eventually ran 14.9’s at an NHRA track, I won a lot of money on the street with a “Mom’s car”. This looks like one of the more viable cars on this site, a lot of the work is done, this is what being a gearhead is all about, projects like this. Way more fun than a restored car that you can’t drive. All of you guys who trash Powerglides, you DO know that is the racing transmission of choice these days?

    Like 5
    • Keruth

      Ha-Ha! Spoken truth! Had ‘3s+’4s. Cousins did too.
      Dad bought new ’68 Sport Back, w/slip-n-slide, too much fun!!
      Were rather disposable back in ’70s, I’d take it as is w/insp..

      • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

        In high school I had a cherry ’55 Delray and a ’67 Caprice coupe, 327, 400 turbo, buckets, gauges,tilt, etc. One friend had a ’63 Impala SS coupe, 327, 4spd, Anniversary gold. A second friend had a ’65 Impala SS coupe 327 4spd in dark green. While double-dating in the ’65, I would often rest one foot on the console from the back seat and lightly push it out of 4th gear. He was ready to have the 4spd gone through until I confessed. The ’65 met it’s end one night after a few too many adult beverages when my buddy missed his folks driveway (he was on the wrong side of the house)and hit a light pole. His dad was not impressed.

        Like 1
    • Gaspumpchas

      Yep Roy I have a friend in Pennsylvania and all he does is racing powerglides, he is always busy! Shift one and done!!!

      Like 3

    Curious the frame color is …plum color? But it looks to be in great shape. I think that is where the restoration stopped, years ago

    Like 1
  23. Wes Niswanger

    That car is in a Lot better shape then my 65 was when I bought it for $1000 6 yrs ago I’ve now got 8k in it and still not on the road

    Like 1
  24. James Turner

    My mother bought a brand new 1965 Chevy Impala that was turquoise with black vinyl top and the 327 engine/ Power glide transmission. Within 3 years she had to have the top stripped off and painted black. Also, The trunk and around the 6 taillights were very rusted around the inside lenses with see through pin holes along with inside the spare tire well.
    She drove the car several years before getting rid of it. What rip off for new car she had to save up and work hard for. I will never buy a New car because I’ve seen many other cases of this happening plus the minute you sign your name it depreciates several thousand dollars plus pay for all the extra options. I never failed yet in buying 1 or 2 owner low mile vehicles fully optioned for 1/3 or less than a fully optioned new vehicle. I still have as a second I bought around 10 years ago, ( 1992 $2,000.00) fully optioned that still operates very well. I also have a( 200345000.00 fully optioned 1 owner vehicle fully optioned for $5,000.00 I have 5 years with minimum maintenance. The main key is keeping fluid levels checked and changed, Tire pressure Etc. I am frugal old school and I save a lot of money that way. I do not give a dam about if I’m seen in a new vehicle or not.

    Like 3
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      Interesting comment, James; I don’t buy cars new either. I bought an ’07 Lincoln MKZ four years ago with just 60,000 miles and got into a luxury car for relatively cheap money. The car was pristine and had been well-cared for by the previous owner. In 2010, I bought an ’07 Dodge Magnum SXT with 50,000 miles for $12,000. It cost about $27,000 new and was in like-new condition. I still have it almost 10 years later and aside from regular maintenance, I haven’t put a cent into it.

      The only vehicle I ever bought new was a 1988 Ford Ranger, a left over in early 1989. It was cheap for the time and I kept it for 25 mostly trouble-free years. Other than that, I’ve always bought low-mileage, well cared-for used cars and mostly had good luck with them. I could have bought my cars new but it didn’t make sense to me to pay new car prices when a low-mileage older car could be bought so much cheaper.

      My last used car purchase was a very nice 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 with 28,000 original miles. The car cost about $2,300 when new which is about $19,000 in 2019 dollars. I paid less than a 1/3 of that. I thought that was a good deal for a low-mileage car in excellent original condition!

      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

        I agree Fordguy. You save a lot of money buying low mileage used cars. I have bought a few brand new cars over the years just because I could, but usually buy two year old low mileage vehicles. I bought a 96 Ford Taurus GL that had 18k miles on it in October 1996. I drove that car until 2017 and put over 200k trouble free miles with just replacing battery, serpentine belt and brake pads. I also bought a 94 Ranger in 99 that I only had to replace the heater core in 2001. I kept that little truck til 2005 when I traded in on a new Ford Sport track that I loved, but traded it in on a 2010 Sport track in 2012. Traded that in on a 2015 Explorer XLT in 2017. And although I have driven mostly fomoco cars since 1967, my favorite is my 64 Buick Riviera that I bought in 2012 with 27k miles on the odometer which was a one family California car bought new by the Reese family in Gardena, California.
        God bless America

  25. James Turner

    I forgot to mention in my above comment that I personally believe the 1966 Impala year had a much smoother look in the back taillight section versus the 1965 6 taillight configuration. Just my opinion.

    Like 1
  26. Mark Evans

    As a kid I felt this was the first car chevy got right after the 58. In my 60’s now & still feel that way. 65 Should be right up there with those.

    Like 1

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