Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Winner of the popularity contest

I was walking through Bed Stuy on some hot summer day when I found this beast. Call me Ishmael!
This is a 1965 Chevrolet Impala in Ermine White. The Impala sat near the top of the heap in trim level with both the Bel Air and Biscayne below. That being said this is a pretty spartan Impala.
The heavy brow gives this either a distinctive or somewhat seedy look depending on where you're standing. From this angle the car look like it's trying to fake a smile while asking you for something. Still you've got to admire the sheer presence of this brick!
That's a hood you could play ping-pong on. From this angle the front looks determined with its forward rake and full width chrome. Behind that grill lies the base V8 engine; the 283 Turbo Fire. If you really weren't in a hurry you could still order the Turbo Thrift inline 6 cylinder.
Like all of the Chevys from this era it wears its very large proportions well. That Coke bottle bump-up that carries down the rest of the quarter panel helps a great deal. The lines are clean with no side chrome save for the rocker panel molding which is in shadow here. It's amazing the difference in styling ethos from the late '50s through the mid '60s.
Not the best shot of course but this is the proud possession of somebody possibly nearby so I had to attack and retreat immediately. We can see that there is a radio in the dash, bench seats, and an automatic transmission on the column. The round gauge closest to us doesn't seem to have anything in it but I've seen both a tachometer and a clock in that spot depending on the options. One detail I love is the mini crank to roll open the vent windows. How cute is that?
This 4 door post sedan represents the base body style in 1965. In addition there were 2 and 4 door hardtops, a station wagon, a convertible, and the hot rodders choice: the 2 door post coupe.
These taillights are some of my favorite from all of Chevrolet history. If these don't remind you of rocket engines taking off I don't know what will! As it had been since 1960 the Impala boasted triple taillights on each side while the lesser models had only two.
The clean lines and tarantula eyes on the rear are great. If this were the Super Sport the chrome panel under the taillights would be blacked out. In the following year the lineup gained the Caprice. For a time the Caprice was even higher on the ladder than the SS.
The trunk is gargantuan! The advertised capacity is 17.7 feet of space. The turning radius of this yacht is a full 44 feet so don't go expecting to maneuver a slalom course.
It is official that Chevy did everything right with the 1965 Impala as it remains their record year of over 1,000,000 cars sold. Parts are so plentiful that you can build a car with just a frame, cabin shell, and a catalog. If you're yearning for a classic daily driver you could do a lot worse than one of these beasts. Finding one that hasn't been turned into a lowrider is a legit challenge as the Impala lineup has been the darling of that community for decades. Seeing one this clean in Brooklyn was a treat.

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