Chevrolet Impala SS; Evaluation by Don Sherman (Motor Trend 10/93)

    Those cynics who insist that concept cars are pure flights of

fancy have one more reason to eat their hats. Chevy's Impala SS

design study, which made its debut on the show circuit in the

fall of 1992, will be appearing in dealer showrooms sometime

after the first of the year.

    In a noble attempt to spark life into the slow-selling

Caprice, Chevrolet tooled up the Impala SS from existing police

hardware plus a few new interior and exterior trim pieces. The

name that began as a '61 dealer-installed equipment package and

grew into a full model in '64 is back for a return engagement as

the family man's sport sedan. 

    The Impala SS hardware list is impressive: 260-horsepower LT1

V-8,four-speed electronic automatic, four-wheel anti-lock disc

brakes, and 225/50ZR17 tires on 8.5-inch aluminum rims. The

suspension is lowered and firmed up with De Carbon gas-pressure

shock absorbers. The Caprice's faux wood is stripped out of the

interior, and front bucket seats are trimmed in either gray cloth

or optional perforated leather upholstery. A racy grille,

low-profile decklid spoiler, body-color badging, five-spoke

wheels, and rear quarter-window inserts distinguish this edition

from the Chevy Caprice. It's a pity there wasn't time to factor

in a floor shifter, a tachometer, or colors other than black into

the program.

    In every other respect, the Impala SS is a convincing

comeback. The ride is confident and float-free, while the wide

tires stick well enough to warrant second thoughts about opting

for leather trim. The detuned Corvette engine hurls you up to

speed quickly, (with 0-60 times estimated in the mid-sevens) and

the heavy-duty brake system has the reserve capacity necessary to

rein in this 4200-pound cruiser from escape velocity. Most

important, the Impala SS looks the part: This heavy Chevy wears

its fat fenders proudly like a defensive end's shoulder pads.

    In some respects, the Impala SS is a flashback to that high

school reunion when you discovered that Peggy Sue--even without

the pleated skirt and ponytail--still has what it takes and that

youthful dreams have a very lengthy shelf life.