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Low-Mile Driver: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS

Talk about going from a sow’s ear into a silk purse! When the newly “restyled” Chevy Caprice arrived on the scene in mid-’90 as a ’91 model, it wasn’t exactly met with open arms. It looked like a cross between the Hindenburg and a Hudson Hornet. A ’93 redo really helped it out but it was the inclusion of the Corvette LT1 engine and the reintroduction of the Impala SS in ’94 that set things right. Both Caprices and Impala SS models from the ’94-’96 time period are highly sought after so I’m thrilled to have this 1996 Impala as today’s review subject. It is located in  Eustis, Florida and is available, here on craigslist for $16,999. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip.

Being a 1996 model represents the end of the line for the rear-wheel-drive SS. And ’96 was a good year sales-wise, production continued into December of that year with about 41K copies rolling off of the Arlington, Texas assembly line. There was a follow on Impala SS in the 2000s but it was a front-wheel-driver and not held in anywhere near as high esteem. The 1996 model was truly the end of an era.

Most ’94-’96 Impala SSs are black with gray upholstery, obviously, this example is no exception. A dark cherry metallic and dark gray-green finishes were added in ’95 but black is most often encountered. The seller states that this 71K mile example has been garage kept and its original finish is in excellent condition. I concur, it shows like new!

Inside is a rather bland sea of light gray leather and plastic. It is attractive on first blush but it possesses some of the cheapness that GM cars of the era harbored with their interior materials and workmanship. This example is bright and clean, inviting in a sterile way. While the leather upholstery isn’t so hard to keep clean, that light gray cut-pile carpet is another matter entirely. This interior appears to need nothing. Of note is the console-mounted gear selector, ’96 was the only year to employ this arrangement as ’94 and ’95 model years utilized a steering column-mounted lever.

The heart of the beast is a detuned 260 net HP, 350 CI V8, “LT1” Corvette engine. It is considered detuned as the ‘Vette was blessed with 300 net HP. The seller gives no reference as to how this Impala performs but statistics from the day claim a 0-60 MPH time of  7.0 seconds with 15.2 seconds necessary to trip the trap lights of a quarter-mile run. I generally shy away from publishing such statistics as they depend on so many external (driver, weather, track)  and internal (axle ratio, tire type/size, state of tune) conditions that they become meaningless. Nevertheless, these are notable indicators for a 4,000 lb. sedan from 25 years ago.

While I can’t comment on the price I can comment on this Impala’s condition and it is one of the nicest that I have encountered. Many SSs found at car shows have experienced various states of modifications so it’s a treat to find one that appears to be stock. I’m betting this Chevy finds a new home very soon, how about you?


  1. Chas358 Chas358

    Beautiful car. ‘Nuff said.


    Like 8
  2. Al_Bundy Al_Bundy Member

    Some of the best law enforcement vehicles ever made too. By not producing this, GM handed over a huge segment of fleet sales to Ford and later to Chrysler (Crown Vic/Charger).

    Love the feature, I can feel the smoothness of the ride by looking at it ! Next to the Lincoln 4 doors of the early ’60s, these have to be among the most sought after sedans out there.

    Like 11
  3. Chas358 Chas358

    I had two different ’95s back in the day. Identical cars, both beautiful. One was a company car, went 15.20 at Milan Dragway. 😀

    Like 7
  4. David Zornig

    If my memory is correct, `96 was the only year that offered the console shift.

    Like 9
  5. DrillnFill

    I lusted after these cars in high school as they came out just as I was getting my license. 1996 is definitely the one to have with the analog gauges and floor shifter to differentiate from the Caprice. The price seems to be in line with what I’ve seen advertised for clean examples.
    It’s refreshing and rare to see one that hasn’t been screwed around with for the last 24 years. What a beauty 👍

    Like 5
    • T

      the ad for the 1994 (4,xxx examples made) was:
      Lord Vader, your car is ready

      Like 1
  6. Amishtrucker

    I’d pop a spotlight on the drivers side and roll down the highway well above the posted signs.

    Like 4
  7. Ron Soucy

    I bought a 96 in dark cherry new in 96. Drove it for 20 years and out 228,000 miles on it. Was a great car. Never had any big issues with it. Pretty dependable car. Quick car for its time. I really enjoyed it for a long time.

    Like 3
  8. AGS

    Bought a brand new ’96 in Dark Cherry Metallic. From day one, the digital odometer did not work, and Chevy could never fix it for more than a day. The leather on the seats was paper thin, and wore through quickly. On the way to the Monterey Historics one year, the water pump died. The next year, the fuel pump died, turning off the car while I was doing 75mph on the 5 in the middle of nowhere. Had to have it towed 85 miles to Bakersfield. Other than that, it was a beautiful car.

    Like 1
    • T

      hm did it keep track of miles, but fail to display>?

      I fixed a few of those, reflowed the solder on 3 resistors on the cluster

      Like 0
  9. wcshook

    I have a ’96 Caprice Classic that, while not the SS, has and still is a very nice car. It needs some work, have most of the parts, but it rode like a charm. Excellent gas mileage for this size. 19 around town or so, right at 25 highway, 70 mph and A/C on. Not a hot rod, or a performer, like the ’89 9C1 Caprice I had. Prices on the SS have been about as stable as the Buick GN. Take care of them, and they will last. Nice to see one still unmolested.

    Like 3
  10. moosie moosie

    The Corvette LT1 had aluminum heads , the motors in these had cast iron heads. I owned a ’95 9C1 Crapiece for a spell , I should have kept it but a guy came along that wanted it more then I did at the time and paid my price. It was the ex-canine unit from Nampa Idaho, I paid almost more to ship it to N.Y. than I paid for the car on e-bay. I was slowly cloning it into an SS. No it did not smell of dog. It ran better than I expected, handled better than I thought any bathtub could and rode like a cloud down the highway.

    Like 1
  11. morrisangelo

    Ugh to those cheap, creaky plastic door panels & arm rests…

    Like 0
  12. PRA4SNW

    This one is now gone, but I spotted this ’94 on Hemmings auction a couple of days ago with only 9,700 miles and at $13,000 right now.

    Like 0
  13. Dennis

    Brother-in-law had a 96 impala ss brought new took it out on the 60 freeway in moreno valley in so.cal had it up to 150 m.p.h. and still had pallet let to go what a ride

    Like 0
  14. vintagehotrods

    I had a black ’95 SS in the late 90’s and it was great car. It handled really well, because I was able to miss a deer one night that jumped out of the ditch right in front of me. I threw it sideways and missed it. It was the only car I ever owned that was capable of doing that. It was also pretty fast, and if you believe the speedometer, I had it up to 154 mph one time on I-29.

    Like 0
  15. 73 XR7

    Oh yes sir, these can do 140 and up, with a light bar and a spot light. And the police bucket seats are tolerable in uniform. These were the best for an era. And then we went to crown Vic’s…

    Like 0

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