An iconic brand of America’s automotive market for half a century, Chevrolet’s venerable Impala celebrates its golden anniversary in 2008. Chevy is recognizing the milestone with a commemorative model.
Like the original 1958 edition, the 2008 Impala 50 th Anniversary Edition is distinguished with unique trim and amenities, giving customers a special product infused with the fun-to-drive spirit that has characterized the Impala for half a century.
“Chevrolet is thrilled to mark 50 years of the Impala,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Few brands can claim such a heritage and throughout the decades, Impala has always stood for the value, performance and style that has made Chevrolet America’s car.”
The Impala 50 th Anniversary Edition goes on sale in spring 2008. It is based on the popular and well-equipped Impala LT, with the following unique and standard features:
- FE3 Sport Suspension (replaces the FE1 Touring Suspension)
- Four-wheel ABS
- Eighteen-inch alloy wheels (replaces 16-inch wheels)
- Rear spoiler
- “50 th Anniversary” Impala badge on the C-pillar
- Two-tone, leather-trimmed seats and “50 th” logo embroidered on the front headrests
- Eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (replaces six-way adjustability)
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent-color thread (includes audio controls)
- Ebony carpet
- Ebony floor mats with accent threading
- “50 th” Anniversary emblem on the sill plates
- Two premium exterior colors: Black Granite Metallic or Red Jewel Tintcoat
The 50 th Anniversary Impala also includes a one-year upgrade to the OnStar Directions and Connections package, including Turn-by-Turn Navigation.
Also standard is the Impala’s convenient flip-and-fold rear seats, the cushions of which flip forward to reveal a storage tub that serves as a covered storage area beneath the seat and offers convenient grocery bag hooks. A generous pass-through from the trunk can be created by flipping the seat bottoms forward and the seat backs flat – an exclusive feature in the midsize segment.
The 50 th Anniversary Impala is powered by a refined and efficient 3.5L V-6, rated at 211 horsepower (157 kW)* and 214 lb.-ft. (290 Nm)* of torque. Vehicles with federal emissions systems in the United States are equipped with the 3.5L engine, which is compatible with E85 ethanol fuel, allowing the vehicle to run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85.
When using gasoline only, the 3.5L-equipped Impala is EPA-rated at 29 mpg on the highway.
Introduced in 1958 as a premium package for the full-size Bel Air, the Impala was an immediate sales success, selling approximately 60,000 units. It was designated a stand-alone model in 1959 and offered top-of-the-line amenities and performance, including a 335-horsepower (250 kW), 348-cubic-inch (5.7L) V-8 engine. Sales increased to approximately 175,000.
As Chevrolet’s full-size platform evolved throughout the 1960s, so did the Impala. The model range included coupes, sedans and convertibles – with early-year models distinguished by their six-taillamp rear styling. Other full-size Chevy models had only four taillamp lenses.
In 1961, the performance-oriented Impala SS was introduced. Today, it is considered by many to be one of the first true muscle cars, with power coming from a variety of standard and optional engines, including a 409-inch V-8 that produced one horsepower per cubic inch. Only 142 409-powered SS models were built that inaugural year, but 409-powered Impalas would go on to be scourge of drag strips across the country and the subject of a popular song.
For 1965, the full-size platform was redesigned and the Impala was all-new. Customers responded to the sleek, new design with enthusiasm. More than 1 million Impalas were sold that model year, setting a sales record that has since gone unmatched.
New-generation Impalas were introduced in 1971 and 1977, with the ’77 models featuring “downsized” styling that still offered full-size accommodation, but with more compact and efficient exterior dimensions. The re-sized Impalas carried the brand into the mid-1980s, when the name was changed to Caprice.
The Impala returned in 1994 as the high-performance Impala SS – a sinister-looking muscle car built with the heavy-duty powertrain and suspension components of the Caprice police car package. It was a sellout success for three consecutive model years, bowing out only with the end of production of GM’s full-size rear-drive platform.
After a three-year hiatus, the Impala name returned again for 2000 on Chevy’s full-size, front-drive architecture. That seventh-generation Impala proved popular, but greater success came with the refined eighth-generation model, which was introduced for 2006.
Sales jumped nearly 18 percent in 2006, reaching nearly 290,000 units. Sales increased again in 2007, up more than 11 percent through November and challenging the sales rate of key competitors such as the Honda Accord.