What's New for 1996
A tachometer and floor shifter are available. Last year for this generation of Impala.
George Thorogood must have had something like the Impala SS in mind when he penned "Bad to the Bone." This car is menacing, with its monochromatic paint job, wide tires and fat alloys. The 5.7-liter V8 throbs under the hood, and the exhaust note reads "Don't mess with me." Chevy's retro Impala SS delivers the goods, all right, and does so without coming off as a bad joke.
Based on the Caprice police package, Chevy addresses our two complaints about the Impala SS in 1996. A tachometer has been added to the instrument cluster, and a floor shifter graces the center console. The rest of the interior is strictly Caprice-issue, which is the SS's only remaining shortcoming. While the leather-trimmed seats offer a bit more support than the Caprice bench, but you won't confuse them with Recaros. The rest is in place: surprisingly good looks, great performance, and a price that doesn't induce heart failure.
However, GM evidently doesn't know when its got a good thing going. Witness the 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT. After five years, the car finally had the right engine, styling and suspension to compete in the sports coupe arena, and the General killed it. Now, after several years on the market, they finally get a version of the Caprice perfected, and then pull the plug. We usually don't speculate about the collectability of any particular car, but when you consider that the limited-production Impala is dying after a short three-year run, and the final models include a tach and floor shifter, and Green Gray or Dark Cherry are likely the less popular colors, the Impala SS looks like a good investment.
Caprice and Impala production is scheduled to cease in December 1996. Not to worry, the Lumina is rumored to be in line to continue the SS tradition with a 3.4-liter V6, lowered suspension and flashy wheels. Somehow, we doubt it will be nearly as magical in execution as the Impala.