Three Piece Rear Glass: 1978 Impala Coupe

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

In addition to being a documented low-mileage car at just 39,000 miles, this forlorn 1978 Chevy Impala coupe sports the desirable three-piece rear glass that enthusiasts are known to clamor for. Also called an aero coupe, this example has some surface rust issues but could be an interesting buy if it’s not rotten. Find it here on eBay for $999.99.

The seller is confident this is a genuine 39,000 mile example, but you’ll want paperwork to back that up. Still, at this price, it’s not the end of the world if the papertrail is light, as the interior does seem very nice. The bench seats are untorn and the colors still seem vibrant on those and the door panels The dash looks uncracked, too. The seller has no keys and hasn’t looked in the trunk, so hopefully a factory spare tire resides back there.

No details are offered as to why this Impala was laid up for so long, dating back to 1993. The body looks solid and undamaged and the chrome still presents well. Tires are likely dry-rotted from sitting but the big question mark is rust: the seller says the frame is solid but the undersides are coated in surface rust. “Must have been parked on grass,” the seller says. Good news: the motor still turns freely.

So here’s that surface rust the seller was talking about: It’s hard to say whether this is just ugly or dangerous, but the exhaust has clearly rotted apart from its mounts. The mounts around the gas tank also look suspect, but looking further down the chassis appears far better. What do you think: is this cheap Impala coupe worth a closer look? Or will it just be a parts car for someone with a broken rear window?

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Comments

  1. CCFisher

    The rear window is one continuous piece, created using a “hot wire” bending process.

    25+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Correct.

      9+
    • nessy

      Yep, this car and the 77/78 Toronado XS. A hot metal solid wire was used to heat and bend the glass into position. Amazing high tech for 40 years ago.

      5+
  2. Steve R

    It probably has much more rust than the seller is claiming. How strong is the demand for parts for this car?

    Steve R

    2+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      One look at the photos in the ad and it doesn’t make a difference what the seller claims as far as rust is concerned. The undercarriage is wrought with cancerous rust…not just surface rust.

      5+
    • Metoo

      Yeah, it does seem to be a little bit beyond mere “surface rust” in the underside photo.

      0
  3. angliagt

    “Rust Free Michigan Car”?

    7+
    • LAB3

      “Fighting for peace”

      4+
      • DrinkinGasoline

        huh ?

        2+
      • LAB3

        Both are oxymorons!

        7+
  4. DrinkinGasoline

    This one is going require a lot of investment for very little return unless someone has an obsession for these and would drive the wheels off of it when finished. In my neck of the woods, this is a $300 vehicle just for any parts from it. Part it out. The rear glass is worth the most of any part on the car.

    5+
  5. Keith

    Rust never sleeps… but up north especially, you can’t let that get in the way of a cheap set of wheels.

    Put it back to roadworthy (all the visible things plus brake lines, fuel lines, etc. etc. etc.) if it’s not too far gone, and get a couple years’ worth of enjoyment out of it before the tin-worm catches up with you. For that price, I would!

    3+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      You would ?? I’m in N.E. Ohio and for the most part, this car isn’t worth giving the time of day to in it’s current condition. What would make you want to invest anything into it ? I’m not being sarcastic…I’m just very curious.

      1+
  6. Alan

    Last year I bought All original 1977 Pontiac Bonneville Landau Coupe non brougham version same B body as the Chevy Caprice. Has 8K original miles brown exterior with beige cloth interior. 350 4B. Tilt steering , Power windows , Factory AC , Factory AM/FM , original turbine style hubcaps . With all books and original owners manual. Vehicle was in storage most of its life. Original Paint Almost in showroom condition. I just changed engine oil filters and 4 new slightly larger all season whitewall tires. Asking price was 12K I got it for 11K . Attached photo of my 77 Bonneville

    17+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Nice Bonny Alan ! Are all of the fins still on the wheel covers ? (difficult to tell in the photo).
      I had a devil of a time finding a good set of them for my 71 Catalina that were not missing fins.

      1+
    • Poncho pusher

      Beautiful bonnie…..i have a 79 2dr black with camel tan int….its my daily driver love it every body asks if i wanna sell it lol….course its not but better then driven my other potiacs….50silver streak 62 catalina and 62 grand prix 64 bonnie 66 grand prix….who ever bought it got a gem of a car….

      1+
  7. DrinkinGasoline

    One look at the undercarriage photo validates your comment 🙂
    Rust is rust no matter where it is. It’s a far cry from rust free.

    2+
  8. Alan

    I really Don’t care about your filthy Insults “Take your pick of the lackluster performance trio for your poo brown coupe” ????!

    9+
  9. Ex Benzo Tech.

    Get a couple of gallons of phosphoric acid and spray everything underneath .
    The rust will be gone.

    0
    • DrinkinGasoline

      I agree but, how much substantial metal will remain ?

      2+
    • Steve

      …along with a lot of metal!

      3+
      • Ex Benzo Tech.

        Acid will turn rust into primer. So in the end it will be in pretty good shape, just dark brown in color.

        2+
  10. AMXSTEVE

    Derby car

    3+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      There Ya go ! Buy it for 300…Gut it, sell off the good bits and have some fun with the rest while making a few hundred !

      3+
      • JohnT

        Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!!!

        2+
    • Metoo

      It will get totally creamed by a station wagon. They always win demolition derbies.

      0
    • RJ

      These do not even make that good of derby cars. One good hard hit to the rear the trunk collapses on the rear frame rails. Then the car is unable to back up with the frame rails digging in the ground. Driver is there forced to make hits with the front of the car thus ruining the car.

      0
  11. Mr.B

    Bring it back with an SM465 Muncie and 350 mill.
    Black-on-Black. 4.10 dif posi unit.

    2+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Let Us know how that works out for you…Best of luck on bidding ! 🙂

      1+
  12. Poncho pusher

    Correct it is a one peice bent glass…….known as areo coupe kinda like the montes few yrs later……still most people call em “glass house”s…….although the real “glass house” body stopped in 76……built one few yrs ago….had a vinyl top also…..pulled it off looked like some one stood on the trunk with a scater gun and unloaded on the top skin……although 80% of the roof steel was gone oddly it never leaked…..replaced the skin and top (built it wit my cousin/his car) and no matter how much i tried to talk him out of it he put another top on it and sold it….2wks later got rear ended…..pushed the back bumped into the back seat……loss of a good car…….altho i still think the rear glass throws the look off compared to a pontiac olds or buick of the same era…..

    1+
  13. craig m bryda

    Never heard them referred to as ” AERO COUPES “

    3+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      With good reason, because they were not an Aero Coupe. They were designated as the: “Impala Landau Coupe” regardless of vinyl option or not.

      3+
    • SubGothius

      I think they may have conflated that with the ’86-87 Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe, which had a similarly constructed (heat-folded glass) but much more radically sloped backlight than this, sold in limited numbers for NASCAR homologation of the more aerodynamic profile.

      0
  14. redwagon

    this car is listed from Pelkie Michigan which is in the upper peninsula. there is a lot of snow there in the winter time but not a lot of salt – well not as much as you would find in the southern portion of the state.

    it snows so much the preferred method of removal is plowing and once the big lakes freeze the temps drop and it is too cold to melt snow with salt so they will spread sand to increase traction.

    having said that it is clear there is quite a bit of rust on the underside. likely stored in a dirt floor barn or over grass where the car sank into or close to the ground.

    1+
  15. Rustytech

    This is a 2 door and a RWD V8 in a world where they no longer exist unless you can afford a Mercedes or BMW. It may not be valuable now, but then there was a time when any old car had little value. If this is solid ( I would want to verify that with a personal inspection ) it is well worth $1000. If I had room and time to work on it now, I’d be taking a trip to MI. to take a look.

    2+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Prepare to spend quite a bit of time on your back underneath it. That’s where your time would be best spent. 🙂

      2+
  16. Dixiedog

    Rear glass was heated in an oven and press bent to shape using an upper and lower die shoe. Most curved glas is sag bent to shape – heated soft enough that gravity causes it to sag in to a single sided mold.

    0
  17. David Ulrey

    On a heart beat. Had one in the late 90s. Wish I still had it. Not sure where some of you guys live but in my part of Arizona cars aren’t really cheap overall. Yes you can get mostly rust free cars – mostly, but most people want stupid money for their vehicles unless it is a complete p o s. That car as it sits would have an average asking price of $2500.00 here. Don’t believe me ? Pull up Craigslist for a few Arizona towns.

    0
    • Metoo

      I live in Kingman AZ. You are right, pretty rust free. But you will always need a paint job. The sun is murder on cars here in that regard.

      0
    • Tony L

      Yes, I live in Kingman, and the prices out here are much higher than elsewhere. Most of the good deals are 1500 miles away. True, western cars tend to be rust free (but not always), but the paint and interior are usually shot, the sun destroys everything out here. For $1000 here you get a 25 year old Japanese car with a destroyed interior, paint burned off and 150,000 mi on the clock.

      0
  18. Charles

    Not a Chevrolet “Aero” coupe. The ” Aero” coupe was a companion to the Pontiac “Can Am!”

    2+
  19. PAPERBKWRITER

    I love this body style and would like to have one in good condition BUT this car would be a labor of love since putting it back on the street would cost way more than its worth.

    0
  20. Jason

    Make a nice cheap hot rod/muscle car build for cheap. These cars are desired. 2drs are tough to find & with the sport window

    0

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