Chevrolet Impala 1965-1970 Fourth Generation
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.