X-Large SS396: 1968 Chevrolet Impala

One of Chevrolet’s more iconic and recognizable models was the SS396 Chevelle, offered from 1966 through 1970 (that combination was still available after ’70 but it was simply known as a Chevelle SS).  But, the Super Sport (SS) option was available, with or without the 396 CI engine, in the Nova, Camaro, and Impala – and that’s what’s up for review today, a 1968 Impala SS equipped with Chevrolet’s much respected 396 CI engine. We’ve covered a multitude of similar cars, and I debated on the virtue of reviewing yet another, but this example is in such spectacular shape that I relented, so here we go. This big Chevy is located in Ripon, California, and is available, here on craigslist for $41,000. Thanks to T.J. for this tip!

This car is, specifically, an Impala sports coupe with the RPO Z03 SS package. It was available on the Impala Custom Coupe and convertible as well. The standard powerplant was an in-line six, except in the case of the convertible where a V8 was mandated. The engine line-up extended from that 250 CI six-banger all the way up to a 425 HP 427 “Turbo-Jet” V8. The SS package didn’t get the owner much really, badging, full-wheel covers, a center console, and bucket seats upholstered in a unique patterned, two-tone vinyl upholstery.

Chevy had a lot of blue hues in ’68 and this car appears to be wearing Grotto Blue (code DD) and finished with a typical black vinyl top. One would need to see the trim tag to know with certainty but that’s how it appears. The seller informs us that it’s a repaint and it looks well applied – nothing adversely noted. Known for their proclivity to rust, this edition of the fourth-gen Impala looks to be free of that scourge. Rally wheels were an Impala option, and in this case, they look to be the properly sized pieces for this car.

Under the expansive hood is a 325-gross HP, 396 CI V8 engine working via a Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission. The seller states, “THE CAR RUNS AND DRIVES GREAT WITH NO RATTLES OR SQUEAKS“. I can tell you from the experience of owning a very similar car, that the powertrain performs well, but falls short of being a real high-performance set-up. An Impala is just too heavy and its standard rear gear ratio, unless it has been differently optioned, or altered, will be a 2.56:1 arrangement with this engine/transmission combination – great for cruising but not for acceleration. That said, these big-block engines are easily moded and a rear gear swap is not a challenge for someone familiar with the process. A nice inclusion is the optional front disc brakes.

The two-tone SS vinyl upholstery was not available in basic black, and that’s what we have going on here. Regardless, it looks great with no sign of rips tears, or splits. Amazingly, this Impala may be the first example of a ’68 Chevy that I have seen in years that doesn’t have a cracked/split steering wheel – amazing!

These B-body cars are similar in architecture to the A-body Chevelle, and the power/drivetrains are mostly the same. The biggest difference between the two, of course, is size where the Impala is seventeen and a half inches longer – with seven of that in the wheelbase, four inches wider, and 400 lbs heavier. Those differences usually translate into a big disparity in price but with a $41K ask, I think this Impala is missing the mark, in spite of its condition and 58K mile claim. What’s your thought, priced right or not quite?

Comments

  1. Jeff Nolden

    Nice car but I believe the asking price is too much.

    Like 30
    • Stan

      This boat wouldn’t be an off the line rocketship regardless, cruise the hiways and boulevards in this beauty.

      Like 7
  2. Doone

    As I recall the rear end ratio with this setup was a 2.73, not a 2.56. Just saying. Also that brake pedal is missing the disc brake emblem.

    Like 7
  3. David b Johnston

    I think it had a 3.08

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      3.08 was a 10 bolt ratio, you’re thinking 3.07 which is correct for a 12-bolt differential such as this car has. It was available but as an option.

      The standard ratio with this engine and transmission combination in ’68 was a 2.56, options included 2.29, 2.73, 3.07, and 3.31. Anything steeper had to be dealer installed.

      JO

      Like 13
  4. Jim ODonnell Staff

    I own one just like this, it was a 2.56 originally, the first year for its use, 2.73 was ’65-’67. I swapped it out for a 3.31.

    JO

  5. Brian Morrissey

    A beautiful Machine that makes you mad that you junked or mangled so many back in the late 70s when u got your license as I did in 78 from my Uncle Dick who was a DMV inspector and passed every friend I sent for a license to registering so many cars like the looks of this beauty…I would ask 141k for this one but wouldn’t sell it for any price…Thank You for the great memories of these amazing machines….

    Like 4
    • Mike K

      A fren had one of these, SS 327 auto, his father helped him restore it, from a really clean Impala. He let another fren drive it drunk and the idiot hit a car on the side of the freeway. It was rebuilt again and sold, the poor kid only got about half of one summer with it…..

      Like 4
    • Craig

      tell uncle dick craig said hi ~! lol ~ !

  6. Terrry

    Isn’t this supposed to have “SS” on the grill, and if no SS’s came with basic black interior, than is this really an SS?

    Like 4
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      No, you’re thinking of the SS427 (RPO Z24) option.

      But, you are partially correct as it should have a badge on the driver’s side of the grille that reads: Impala in script with “SUPER SPORT” in block letters under the script. The badge is available on a repo basis but it’s $$$.

      JO

      Like 3
      • John

        The only way to identify the 1968 SS Z03 option is to look at the trim tag. If it calls out one of the 5 bucket seat interior codes than you know. 1968: 1.42million Chev B-body’s, 38,210 SS Z03’s. That is about 2.7%. Also 55,190 396’s installed in B-body’s.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Even that doesn’t work. I own the convertible version of this car and the trim tag states nothing. The inclusion of the options listing on the tag varied from assembly plant to assembly plant. Mine’s a Lordstown car and mum’s the word. What’s really needed is the build sheet.

        JO

      • John

        Jim, In 1968 the SS Z03 option was a trim package only. And it is denoted on the firewall trim tag. The five SS Z03 trim tag interior code options are: 812=Black bucket seats and console, 859=Parchment(pearl) bucket seats and console, 836=Gold two tone bucket seats and console, 868=Red two tone bucket seats and console(convertibles only), 862=Teal two tone bucket seats and console. If you do not have one of these five interior trim codes (on your convertible, sport coupe or formal roof car) than the car is not a Z03 SS – PERIOD. Please see the GM Heritage site or their entrusted ambassador who has this site: https://impalas.org/numbers/

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        My tag has the trim (812) and paint code (R-2) but that’s it. There are no other options listed on it. Some other owner, way back, changed it though and it’s now blue and blue (which is probably two-tone teal).

        JO

        Like 1
  7. John M.Stecz

    My 1967 Camaro SS/RS with the original drive line and a 396/325 HP backed by a turbo 400 had 3.08 rear end gear,just saying.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Camaro and Chevelle/El Camino used a different standard ratio with this powertrain than did the B-body.

      Note the attached from GM, it explains what ratio came with which powertrain for the full-size car.

      JO

      Like 4
  8. Randy jones

    Nice old 68…these are heavy cars with.a 396 motor..I’d leave it alone..esp.the motor..325.is adequate motor.with quadrajet.carb..you just want to drive it..I would agree at 41k…we are not talking.a 67 ss396 chevelle money here….still its a nice car..also about 8 mpgallon.on gas..I know..I had a 66 ss396 chevelle..8mpg.

    Like 6
  9. Big C

    In a sane world? This is an $18k car. And that’s if it’s a real SS. But, because people with lots of extra cash, pay way too much for the early 60’s Impala’s? We get sellers asking $40k+ for these.

    Like 9
  10. "Edsel" Al Leonard Member

    An “SS” in this model didn’t mean much at all..the price should reflect that….maybe $20,000 would be more realistic…

    Like 9
  11. Denis Brunen

    My first car was a 1968 Chevy Impala that my Dad bought for me. But it had a307 motor

  12. Chuck Dickinson

    Unusual to see Fact AC w/clear glass.

    Like 1
  13. Tom

    I had a ‘68 Impala Sport Coupe with the 325 396, TH-400. Same color as this one with a black bench seat interior. It was my winter beater around 1982. It ran good and was dependable, but it wasn’t fast. And man, did that thing suck gas!!

  14. Mike

    A friend of mine had a 68 Impala SS, but it had a bulged hood and chrome gills on the fender doglegs. Hhhmmm idk

    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Your friend owned one of 1,778 SS427 models also known as RPO Z24 – rare and expensive today.

      JO

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.