The Impala broke the all-time industry yearly sales record in 1965 with more than one million units going out the showroom doors. The ‘65 sales record remains unbeaten to this day. The fourth generation is revised bottom to top featuring a full coil spring suspension to support the new full width perimeter chassis. The green house glass windshield has a sharper angle, no-draft windows reshaped, and the side windows are now frame-less in the hard top versions. Mid-year ’65 the newly introduced Caprice is in show rooms as an option package for the four door hard top. The Caprice “Halo” model has tufted upholstery, simulated wood grain vinyl accented interior, with unique hand pulls on the door. The Caprice exterior sports SS “spinner” wheel covers with the bow tie logo in place of the SS emblem and also borrows the SS black-out strip below the tail lights minus the SS emblem.
The 1966 model year sees the Impala takes a back seat with the Chevrolet Caprice as the uptown full size luxury model. The inline six cylinder engine is still available but most opted for one of the V8 choices. There is finally a new three speed automatic back in ’66 after a four year hiatus, reinvented as a Turbo Hydra-Matic, and it is readily acquired by purchasing the new big block 396 cu in Mark IV V8 engine. The 396 replaces the deleted 409 early in the ’65 model year but a few 409 engines did make it out of the showroom. The two speed Power glide automatic is still available as well as a four speed and the three speed transmissions are there to be chosen but this year both synchro-meshed gears. The Impala line-up is flashing a lot of chrome on the exterior this year. With interiors looking good featuring pleated-tufted seating and door panels which is set off with an abundance of chrome trim strips. The Chevy Impala convertible had 38,000 happy new owners in ’66; it was second bestselling unit in North America and chosen by double the number of customers that purchased a Mustang rag top.
The sheet metal is revised on the Impala in 1967; the front and rear fenders now have a bulge following the Corvettes example. Both this year and next the smooth lines are tending more towards the coke bottle shaped body. In order to comply with federal safety regulations this year the complete GM lineup comes equipped with impact absorbing steering column, marker lights on either side, and have a shoulder harness.
The Impala models have a revised front fascia for 1968 and the triple tail light configuration is the shape of a horse-shoe and nestled in the bumper this year. The Custom coupe is new for ‘68 with the same conventional roof line as the Caprice Coupe.
The 1969 Impala has shed the sinewy coke bottle look; radically revised the side panels are flat with up swept rear quarter windows give the car a more refined look. The automobile is still on the same wheelbase but the size is emphasized the designers are trying to make the car appear larger with the new wrap-around bumpers front and rear and it does look wider. The old style no draft worked well but added wind noise so for ’69 the vent windows are scrapped and all models of Impala have a basic flow through ventilation system with bringing fresh air into the cabin through dash mounted adjustable ports. This supplies lots of fresh air and save the company some cash as well with the ports also serving as the delivery system for the optional air conditioning units. All models have the ignition switch on the steering column which is now a locking design as is the shift lever. A notch back roof line is now featured on the hard top sport coupe. The 1970 Impala is the end of the 4th generation is altered minimally with the front bumper now under the grill and the rear tail lights are now vertically configured and mounted in the bumper. The Canadian customers have an added Sport Coupe model available in the body of the Bel-Air for the budget minded sport fans.
The Dynamic 88 was a top seller for Oldsmobile for 15 years-from 1950 through 1974, The Dynamic 88 was an image leader for the company-its relatively light weight coupled with a powerful engine qualify it as a muscle car. The standard equipment engine is a 394 cu in Rocket V8 with a two barrel carburetor yields 250 hp (186 kW) while the higher compression Skyrocket V8 version, mounted with a four barrel, puts out 325 hp (242 kW).
MCF would like to thank Gateway Classic Cars for the images reproduced here
A look at the streets of Detroit would probably have you singing Bryan Adam’s Song, “Summer of 69” as rivals Chevrolet and Ford have released revivals of their pony cars from the said year. Seeing a muscle car cruise the streets is certainly bound to bring back memories. But what make it neat are these old models that now have new versions.
Made to compete against rivals in America’s Trans-American Sedan racing series, this car lived up to its Boss name equipped with more adjustable shocks, stiffer springs, bigger, bulkier tires and engine that’s definitely more high-revving - a horsepower rating of 290 from the 302 cubic inch engine backed by a four speed manual transmission. Boss 302 Mustang had 8,641 units sold in its first two years thereby giving it a place in the collectible car versions and fulfilling its mission of bringing Mustangs to showrooms that can come out as the winner on race tracks.
So we go forward to our present time, exactly 42 years later, and we see the old Mustang transformed into the new Boss 302 V8 all set with the new mission of coming out as the racetrack winner when raced with the BMW M3. Just like the previous model, this new muscle car has stiff springs, braced chassis and a revved-up engine that goes faster at a rate of 444 hp. Executives of Ford say approval of this project would only be granted if the said model can lap circuits like that of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. So far, the new Boss 302 is already faster than its fierce competitor BMW M3.
Chevrolet also released its own track intended model in the form of the muscle car, Camaro ZL1. More of an ingenious work of art than for racing, the ZL1 wasn’t randomly designed to do anything. It was, instead, the output of an innovative Chevrolet dealer from Illinois who wanted 50 Camaros that came with the company’s aluminum block, at 427 cubic inch, racing engine code dubbed as ZL1. Other dealers followed and 69 more cars were produced having the same engine with an official rate of 430 hp.
The new muscle car is set for release early next year. Packed with more power, it employs a supercharger responsible for producing at least 550hp. It’s also equipped with a 6.2 liter V8 and manual transmission at six speeds that are the same as that of the Corvette ZR1 and Cadillac CTS-V. Its magnetic ride shock absorber, like the Corvette, can also be adjusted. This results into the most advanced Camaro just yet. No particular target for performance was released yet but it’s assumed that it would exceed lap time for Boss 302.
These are just two samples of the many revamped muscle cars. You’d notice that while the past features have been retained, they had been added with many innovative improvements as well. Pretty much made to outdo competitors in both showroom and race track, each car is sure to give you joy rides that will give you new memories to treasure well until the next set of new models will come out.