Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Gearheads Only…

Here are the first few pages of the 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS sales brochure…and the window sticker from the SS I owned and loved. As always, click the pics for the larger versions (which are larger than is my usual practice, but only to keep the text readable).
I’ve only owned 18 cars in my entire life, being a “buy and hold” kinda guy when it comes to cars…particularly if I like the things. (A case-in-point: The Green Hornet and I celebrated our seventh anniversary together this past October. Some actual marriages between human beans don't last that long.) And even if I didn’t like a car all that much I usually wound up keeping it, at least until it was paid off and I could rationalize— really rationalize — buying something new. The SS is one of only five cars I wish I still owned, and it’s in my “Top Three” favorite cars of all time. I’d probably still own the thing if I had maintained a conventional life instead of opting to run all around the country for a few years in a motor home. And then stay in the danged thing… but I digress, yet again.

The Impala SS is what used to be called a “Gentleman’s Express,” which is to say a hot rod for adults (as opposed to, say, a pony car or a rice-rocket). She was BIG, weighing just over two tons (!), comfortable, and fast… as in “set the cruise control on 95 mph and haul-ass” fast. I actually did this on Highway 401 between Toronto and Windsor on numerous occasions, back in the day when I commuted between Rochester, NY and Detroit. You really could drive that fast on “The 401,” and faster. There were times when I was batting along at 95 mph and got passed. Swear-to-God. Anyhoo… I don’t believe I’ve ever owned another car that was better on the open (American) road. I’ve owned a couple that were equal, but none better.

Here’s a professional take on the ’96 Impala SS, and here’s what The Wiki has to say about her.

Dang. I miss that car!


  1. Uncle Buck,

    You never knew this but i was a cab driver in Tulsa back some years ago. I had a '95 Chevy Caprice with a police pkg. under the hood and suspension. It was a SWEET ride. I once raced a friend of mine from downtown to the airport. I felt bad cuz he threw a rod trying to keep up! A huge percentage of the clientele that were fortunate enough to have me as their cabbie, got in, looked around and said, "This is the nicest cab i've ever been in!" I still miss that car, wish i'd never have let it go. Although i sure wanted that Impala. I hated to see them go to the shorter wheelbase. That model was just pure badass.

  2. Don't know where else to tell you but during the occupation and until now, the streets were given English names. The signs were not always in English but the maps showed English names. I don't know what is there nowadays but I suspect the names are memories.

  3. The Green Hornet and I celebrated our seventh anniversary together this past October. Some actual marriages between human beans don't last that long.

    Oof, I can relate to that.

    I'm on my second car myself...fourth if you count motorcycles. Bessie the Batmobile is 18+ and will be crossing 340k when I drive her home tonight, or back in to work tomorrow.

    One marriage so far. Twenty months long. Ended up being nuthin' but a lesson I needed taught to me. Seems like a guy who can keep a car going that long, should've been luckier with humans.

    I'm glad to learn about this, Buck. I've been keeping a "short list" of cars that make their owners happy over the long term, for when the inevitable finally happens. So I like these testimonials.

    Because hey, I might not like to admit it but Bessie is a machine. Built to fall apart. Taking a look at replacements now, is just the smart thing to do.

    And no, before anyone asks questions, I never did treat any wives or girlfriends that way.

  4. TFNP: We had the same car, then, essentially. You're absolutely correct...it was a SWEET ride!

    Abe: I wasn't doubting Sendai had Engrish street names, just sharing a "war story" with you...

    Morgan: Oops... I certainly didn't have your marriage in mind, ya know! ;-)

    I'm having difficulty imagining an Impala SS (or any GM car) with 340K on the clock. I suppose it is possible...just hard to imagine. Still...I stand by my thoughts about wanting that car back. And I get at least three or four hits every day from people looking for one.

  5. Favorite Cars?

    I've probably got 10 or 12 of them....but the 1976 Jeep Cherokee I bought when I finished up at Ohio University was probably my all time favorite....the thing would go through Hell, Snow, and High Water...only time I got her stuck was when I hit a snow back and all four wheels left the ground...during the blizzard of 78....jogged a mile down to a farm house and the farmer brought his tractor down and pulled the Chief out....what a day, what a storm and what a memory...;)

  6. Oh man, to choose one car I'd like to have again. It would have to be my 1973 Cougar Convertible, driven circa 1980-1982. Had a custom 351 Cleveland big block engine - she screamed let me tell you. She could beat just about anything on the road - and unknown to my mother, I proved that fact on more than one occasion... :-)

    But I do like the auto I have now - 2003 Acura TL. Plenty of power to get off the line first - which is how it should be.

    Then again, my own motorhead tendencies have been well-documented here.

    Reflections by Kris

  7. Pat sez: ...during the blizzard of 78....

    Man...I remember that storm, as well. But I was in North Dakota and it blew to the south of us. I got snapshots from TSMP, tho, who was in school in South Bend at the time, showing cars buried to their roofs. Lotsa snow. LOTS.

    Kris: I dunno if I could pick just one favorite from the past. But IF I had to choose, it would probably (and predictably) be the old Corvette. Now if you gave me three picks... ;-)


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