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The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by Chevrolet for model years 1958 to 1985, 1994 to 1996, and 2000 to present. Deriving its name from the African antelope of the same name, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United States.
For its debut in 1958, the Impala was distinguished from lesser models by its symmetrical triple taillights, which returned from 1960 to 1996. The Caprice was introduced as a top-line Impala Sport Sedan for model year 1965 becoming a separate series positioned above the Impala in 1966, which, in turn, remained above the Bel Air and the Biscayne. The Impala continued as Chevrolet's most popular full-size model through the mid-1980s. Between 1994 and 1996, the Impala was revived as a 5.7-liter V8–powered version of the Caprice Classic sedan.
In 2000, the Impala was re-introduced again as a mainstream front-wheel drive Hi-Mid sedan. As of February 2014, the 2014 Impala ranked number one among Affordable Large Cars in U.S. News & World Report's rankings. When the current tenth generation of the Impala was introduced for the 2014 model year, the ninth generation was rebadged as the Impala Limited and sold only to fleet customers through 2016. As of the 2015 model year, both versions are sold in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, with the current-generation Impala also sold in the Middle East, the Philippines, and South Korea.
Second generation (1959–1960)
The 1959 Chevrolet Impala was redesigned. Sharing bodyshells with lower-end Buicks and Oldsmobiles as well as with Pontiac, part of a GM economy move, the Chevrolet's wheelbase 1-1/2 inches longer. Using a new X-frame chassis, the roof line was three inches lower, bodies were two inches wider, and curb weight increased. Its tailfins protruded outward, rather than upward. The taillights were a large "teardrop" design at each side, and two slim-wide nonfunctional front air intake scoops were added just above the grille, ,
The Impala became a separate series, adding a four-door hardtop and four-door sedan, to the two-door Sport Coupe and convertible. Sport Coupes featured a shortened roof line and wrap-over back window. The standard engine was an I6, while the base V8 was the carryover 283 cu in (4,640 cc), at 185 hp (138 kW). Optional were a 283 cu in with 290 hp (220 kW) and 348 cu in (5,700 cc) V8 up to 315 hp (235 kW).
Standard were front and rear armrests, an electric clock, dual sliding sun visors, and crank-operated front vent windows. A contoured hooded instrument panel held deep-set gauges. A six-way power seat was a new option, as was "Speedminder", for the driver to set a needle at a specific speed and a buzzer would sound if the pre-set was exceeded.
The 1960 Impala models reinstated three round taillights on each side,and a white band running along the rear fenders. The available V8s were reduced to seven, in 283-cu in or 348-cu in displacements. The carbureted Turbo-Fire 283 cu in V8 could have either 170 or 230 hp (130 or 170 kW). The 348 cu in was available in 250 to 320 hp (190 to 240 kW) with a 350 hp (260 kW) Super Turbo-Thrust Special with triple two-barrel carburetors, 11.25:1 compression ratio, and dual exhausts. Fuel injection was no longer an option on full-size Chevrolets.New to the options list was speed and cruise control.
Production was 490,000 units. Right-hand drive cars were made in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, for New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa and assembled locally from CKD or SKD kits. The right-hand drive dashboard was a mirror image of the 1959 Chevrolet panel and shared with equivalent right-hand drive Pontiac models. Australian models were assembled by hand on the GMH Holden assembly lines.