• Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan

This is a blast from the past with the 1996 Chevy Impala SS - A car that shouldn’t be overlooked

The Impala name is one of the most recognizable names in the American automotive industry, and since 1953, the Impala name has been at the forefront of General Motors’ success over the years. To keep things interesting, GM usually made high-performance SS versions of its popular cars, including the Impala, but the ninth-generation model, in particular, was more special than the rest for multiple reasons. So, here’s a look at all the reasons that make the 1996 Chevy Impala SS a car to remember.

Debuted in 1994

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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The 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS was part of the seventh-generation model, and though it carried the Impala badge for the U.S. market, it was based on the full-size Chevy Caprice sedan. The Impala name is perhaps one of the most recognizable and has been a part of GM’s history since 1958 this seventh generation car was intended as an exclusive high-performance variant based on the GM B platform, produced between 1994 and 1996.

Corvette-derived V-8

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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Though the Impala SS concept showcased at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show was powered by an 8.2-liter fire-breathing V-8, the production-spec Impala SS was powered by a much more modest 5.7-liter LT1 V-8 sourced from the Corvette. The Impala SS shared a whole lot of hardware with the Caprice 9C1 police package and consequently produced an identical 260 horsepower and a healthy 330 pound-feet of torque. This engine came exclusively mated to an old-fashioned four-speed automatic which delivered smooth shifts and thanks to the V-8’s low-end grunt, it never felt laggy.

Callaway Supernatural SS

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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Just in case the standard SS was too slow and plain-Jane for you, the American tuner Callaway had a fix for you. Callaway, a company that grew to fame for making heavily modified Corvettes decided to take their hands to the Chevy Impala SS which bumped the engine output to 404 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. But, it’s not all go, Callaway also added a set of Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers and drilled rotors to compensate for all the added power. This meant the Supernatural SS was now capable of hitting 60 mph in under six seconds and the quarter mile time dropped to 14 seconds from the stock car’s 15.3 seconds.

Sold as a Premium Version of the Chevy Caprice

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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Impala name first appeared on the Bel Air as a range-topping trim level introduced to celebrate GM’s 50 years in business. Later on, the Impala became a stand-alone model, sold until 1985 when it was discontinued after six generations. But, GM then introduced the seventh generation Impala SS as a range-topping performance trim of the full-size Chevy Caprice, and apart from the upgraded engine from the police interceptor, it got other noteworthy additions such as stiffer and lower suspension, bigger brakes, bucket seats, and more. In countries like the UAE, they sold it as the Caprice SS instead of the Impala SS because the Impala name was not very well known outside of the US.

Not your Typical Land Yacht

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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The Chevy Caprice and by extension the 1996 Impala SS were old-school cars dressed in new clothes. These cars then were unnecessarily massive and the Caprice also benefited from the soft and cushy ride that cars from the 70s and 80s were known for. But, the Impala SS was different, it was not all straight-line speed with this one. Chevy lowered the ride height of the Impala SS over the regular Caprice and gave it stiffer suspension too which meant it handled sharper and better than the Caprice ever did albeit at the cost of ride comfort.

SS Performance Upgrades

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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As we discussed above, the 1996 Impala SS was closely related to the Chevy Caprice 9C1 Police package which got significant hardware upgrades over the regular Caprice such as a sport-tuned suspension with reinforced shocks and springs, improved cooling system borrowed from the Corvette, four-wheel disc brakes, transmission cooler, dual exhaust amongst other changes. The SS also got a limited-slip differential as standard and, of course, the 5.7-liter LT1 V-8 shred with the Corvette and Camaro with one minor change, the LT1 in the Impala SS got cast iron heads instead of the aluminum once found on the Corvette.

Unfurnished Engine Bay

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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If you were to pop the hood of a 1996 Chevy Impala SS, you would be amazed to find how much space is left in front of the engine and that’s no accident. It seems GM had different plans for the Impala SS because the concept showcased at the 1992 Detroit Motor Show had an 8.2-liter V-8 engine which did fit like a glove. But, GM in the 90s was notorious for radical cost-cutting measures and that’s why the production-spec Impala SS had to make it with the 5.7-liter LT1 V-8 that GM at the time was used in a whole of products including the C4 Corvette and the fourth-gen Camaro.

Short Production Run

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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With a production run spanning three years from 1994 to 1996, the Impala SS had a relatively short production run but by no means is it a rare car. Over three years, GM made a total of 69,768 total copies of the Impala SS and the export-spec Capri SS. The Impala SS was not killed due to poor sales, but the Chevy Caprice on which it was based was discontinued which put an untimely end to the brilliant Impala SS. This means that you can easily find examples of the 1996 Impala SS in the used market at reasonable prices.

No Chevy Logos

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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All Chevy Impala models since the very beginning have featured the bespoke running Impala logo and the 1996 Impala SS stays true to its heritage. The entire car is riddled with these badges, even the places where you would find a Chevy logo on a Caprice, have been swapped out for the running impala logo. Seats on the other hand are embossed with the SS logo and the only place where you would find a Chevy bowtie logo is a tiny one printed at the bottom of the steering wheel.

Cheap Classic

Why the 1996 Chevy Impala SS Was A True American Sports Sedan
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As we mentioned above, the seventh-generation Impala SS had a short production run but that spanned just three years. But, in this short period, GM made a total of 69,768 examples, meaning there are plenty of them around. Add to that the fact it looks near identical to the Caprice, a common fleet vehicle and you start to see why only enthusiasts appreciate what the seventh-gen Impala SS has to offer. Well-maintained examples are hard to come by, so expect to pay anywhere between $7,500 and $15,000 for a running example that needs care, while pristine examples with low miles can go as high as $25,000.

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS Specifications:

Engine 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V-8
Horsepower 260 horsepower
Torque 330 pound-feet
Drive RWD
Transmission 4-speed auto
0-60 mph 7-seconds
Top Speed 142 mph

FAQs:

How much is a 96 SS Impala worth?

You can find working examples of the 1996 Impala SS from as low as $15,000 while well-maintained, low mileage examples are usually priced around $30,000.

How much horsepower does a 1996 Chevy Impala SS have?

The 1996 Chevy Impala SS was powered by a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated LS1 V-8 that made 260 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.

What Motor came in the 1996 Impala SS?

The 1996 Chevy Impala SS was powered by a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated LS1 V-8 that it shreds with the Camaro and Corvette of the day with one exception, the Impala got a cast iron cylinder head while the Corvette and Camaro got aluminum ones.

Is Impala SS rare?

The Impala SS is not a rare car, with a total of 69,768 total units produced over its three-year production run spanning 1994 to 1996.

Bhavik Sreenath
Bhavik Sreenath
A keen automotive enthusiast with a love for anything with engines. He loves discovering the world of cars and technology to explore new boundaries in the field of modern-day journalism.  Read full bio
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