Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Greenwood box coupe

I was recently walking past the mighty Greenwood Cemetery when I saw this boxy beauty.
This is a 1979 Chevrolet Impala in original two-tone Carmine over Red (with a single Dark Blue fender of course). 
This generation of Impala replaced the massive yachts produced through '76. When this scale arrived in '77 it heralded the direction Domestic cars were headed for the '80s. The 1977 Caprice/Impala line received the Motor Trend Car of the Year award.
This somewhat flimsy looking grill is a surefire way to identify a '79. '78 had only 3 chrome horizontal bars within the surround. In 1980 the entire car was different even though at first glance they look similar.
Drivetrain combinations were many from a baseline 6 cylinder through 305 and 350 V8s. There was even a much maligned Oldsmobile diesel engine for anyone who wanted that sort of thing.
The 2 door coupes from 1977-'79 had this angled rear window foreshadowing the Monte Carlo Aerocoupe of the mid-'80s. Overall I think the design has aged remarkably well. With those huge forward-leaning wheel openings it retains a pretty aggressive stance too.
Two tone wasn't something common in this era of domestic cars but they pushed it in the literature for this generation Caprice & Impala. The brochure shows a very '80s dark red over silver combo.
Boxy was the new look for the decade to come and Chevy got it right on time. The huge federally mandated safety bumpers look alright on such a big slab.
That rear window really makes for a great profile on this ride.
For many years the way to discern an Impala from a lower trim offering was that the Impala had three taillights on each side while the Bel Air or Caprice had two. In '79 each model of this mid-size range had three openings. However Impala had the revers lights in the center of the center lenses while the Caprice had separate rectangular lenses below the taillight cluster.
I really dig the subtle way the rear panel has a crease 1/3rd of the way up where it angles back. The concavity of the tops of the taillights highlight this small detail well.
Purple tint & multiple 6x9s on the back deck mean this is owned and operated by pretty much exactly the sort of dude you're picturing.
Bench seat, crank windows, plain-ass steering wheel with a column shifter; no frills people! The interior is in great shape. I can just about smell that little tree from here.
Nothing like a set of Cragar SS wheels to make your ride look tough.
The orange slotted side marker light is Impala-only as well; Caprice had a wrap-around lens on the corner of the grill surround. The Caprice also had a stand-up hood ornament while the Impala has the bow tie logo in the grill center.
Well that's where we'll leave this Brooklyn tough guy. The 2 years previous to this one are my favorite for the later Impala, if only due to the slightly cleaner grill. Still this era looks great today especially in the 2 door coupe version. The 1980 model year would truly usher in the Box Chevy era which is hugely popular in some circles. This basic design lasted all the way up until the infamous and bulbous "Shamu" or Bubble Chevys of the '90s. Parts couldn't be easier to locate and the usability on a daily basis is great. If you're looking for a cheap way to get into car shows and drive a classic with a full compliment of creature comforts like reliable heat this might be the best bet out there.

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