Auction Car of the Week: 1996 Impala SS - 7,400 Miles
You see a good handful of Impala SS models from 1994 to 1996 on sale, but you hardly ever see them with this kind of mileage. It's going to be interesting to see what this 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS will bring. They experienced a lull in prices for a lot of years in the late 2000s, but values are picking up, especially for ones with just 7,400 miles since new.
The Impala SS was the production version of a car that Chevrolet showed at the 1992 North American International Auto Show. The original concept featured a 500-cu.in. V-8, but later switched to the 350-cu.in., LT1 V8. The production version debuted in 1994 with a slightly different LT1 than the Corvette, delivering 260hp and 330-lb.ft. of torque.
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The Gen II LT1 (indicated by the triangular air cleaner cover) in the Impala SS differed from the Corvette and Camaro LT1 in that it had cast iron cylinder heads, versus the aluminum heads in the sports cars. The cam profile in the SS favored torque over horsepower, providing quick acceleration and surprisingly good fuel economy. The Gen II LT1 is the same engine than appeared in the Caprice 9C1 police package, the Buick Roadmaster and the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.
The transmission is a GM 4L60-E four-speed automatic with a lockup torque converter. Impala SS 4L60-Es are calibrated like the 9C1 police package transmissions, for firm shifts and full throttle overdrive upshifts.
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Every Impala SS got an 8.5-inch, 10-bolt Positraction limited slip differential, like Roadmaster Wagons that were equipped with towing packages. The 10-bolt is one of the world's most ubiquitous rear differentials, appearing in just about every rear-drive GM product since the early-1970s.
The Impala SS suspension is kind of unique, because it's been beefed up with heavy duty components, but they're unique to this car, rather than being robbed from the 9C1 police package. Springs and shocks, for example were unique to this car, and it still features the standard Caprice body mounts, rather than the heavy duty units found in the 9C1.
It did get the police packages brakes up front, though, with 12 inch discs with single piston calipers. At the rear, the Impala SS got another set of discs, again unique to this car.
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The 17-inch, machine-faced ROH wheels are an immediate attention-getter, made even better with BF Goodrich Comp TA 255/50ZR17 rubber from the factory. These tires are no longer made, so finding an example still riding on factory rubber is a score.
Outside, the Impala SS is all about body-color trim. It did a great job hiding the Whale Body's less-than-flattering styling, and giving the car a real performance look. One unique exterior feature is the rear quarter glass, which features a very "Hoffmeister Kink" profile. That feature ended up being incorporated in the rest of the B-Body line after the Impala SS debuted.
Every Impala SS has a center console, but only the 1996 has a floor-mounted shifter, making 1996s the coveted model, in addition to being the last year of production. The 1996 is also the only Impala SS to have analog gauges. The 1994 and 1995 both robbed the 9C1's digital speedometer.
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The current bid at press time -- with 33 bids and four days to go -- is $18,000. As bidding closes, you're sure to see the price skyrocket, as not many of these cars are left, especially in this original condition.