1996 Impala SS

Matt Garrett - Dallas Texas


You can email me at Cadillacman@mcsmk8.com
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1996 Impala SS - 27K mile original example.  All the options, CD, Twilight, Dimming mirror, Remote Entry, Reading lamps and solar windshield. Other than those things Impala SS's were fully loaded.  I think the only other option was an engine block heater, sorry don't have that one.   The 94-96 Impala SS are really one of the pinnacle cars ever as it ended the GM body on frame era, of which I personally think was a huge mistake.  GM never went bankrupt building cars like this for what its worth!  In fact I think their stock was about at its record high right through this era. GM dropped the body on frame, went all unibody FWD and see what they got.  The GM full size trucks kept to their history, and the Corvette was good thus they were all that was really a good vehicle after these body on frame cars.  The tried and true, well balanced, great driving, easily serviced and great handling full frame GM cars from the 50s to 96 are GMs #1 collectible car today.  These are cars like the 57s chevys, the 50s-80s Eldorados, these B bodies, and the muscle cars.  That same basic design was in this car, of course with the updates over the years.  By the time 1996 rolled around, they had conservatively billions and billions of miles of trial and error engineering in these cars.  That certainly helped these cars become what they did; a really good car that did everything right and was pretty darn safe to drive too.  If GM had just downsized the bloat on these cars, came out with a few newer body on frame updates with some good looking designs, I would say their respect would be 50x what you see today.  Enough on that though.

The 1994-1996 LT1 powered Impala SS is a car that gets many collector's attention and rightfully so.  They are nice cars!  However, the cars were so nice they built 66886 for the 3 years.. The majority are 1996, of which most collectors seek as the most desirable for the small changes they received.  Well I am here to tell you from years of experience in the car collecting hobby, there is NOTHING rare at all about a car model that had 66886 on production.  It is by far the most common car in my collection, probably by 10X.  The counterpart Cadillac Broughams are much more rare, but rare and desirable are 2 different things in most cases.  That is just what the Impala SS is,  a very desirable car, so desirable it is a car that MANY people bought brand new and put away.  Due to that, today, tomorrow and 30 years from now a phone call will find you an Impala SS of 94-96 brand new with the window sticker on it, undriven.  Now you will have to pay good money for that car, but its not like many other truly rare cars collectors go after that are hard or will be hard to find.  These will be plentiful for a very long time, just at different price levels.  With that said, why have one that is put away?  I love owning cars that are old with no miles, but I like to own ones that are actually rare.  The Impala SS is so far from rare its not funny BUT it is a great car to drive and does everything right.

The good (or bad) thing that will help these cars become a little less plentiful in the future are the vast majority of the examples have been road hard and tossed.  So many have been ruined very early on and if that trend stays there will be a few good ones left and mostly junk.  The other thing is the vast amount of mods done to these cars.  Don't get me wrong, I have a stable of hot rods with mods.  However trying to make an Impala SS really fast is an exercise in futility without re inventing the wheel.  Try 500+ CID to begin with, and that is just what John Moss had in mind when this car was designed.  Going up against the company, that never happened.  Instead these cars got the very respectable engine, the LT1.  The power to weight ratio the LT1 gave the Impala, Caprice, Roadmaster and Brougham was really good for what these cars are, gave the car 15 second 1/4 mile times and the ability to actually go 140MPH, or darn near close in the case of the Impala SS.  However, to consider these cars fast by comparison to other performance cars is not really a wise idea.  They are very fast compared to the prior B body cars.  They are powerful and hold their own in many arenas, but trying to compete with Corvettes, etc is crazy.. I say this as I have known MANY people that own these cars try and do just that.  Some get the cars to run fast, but the integrity of their car is long and far gone to do it.  Due to that fact, I pride myself on mine being 100% original. Mine does not even have an K&N filter in it, tint on the windows or anything.  It sits on original BFGs and has an exact Delco battery back in it as the one it came with.  Not a mod at all.

One of the things I have learned from years of messing with cars, primarily GM, is how a car stands up to the test of time.  The body on frame cars such as the Impala really last as long as you can stand to drive them.  They may need a transmission, standard maintenance and other things, but 500K miles is not unheard of on these platforms.  I attest this to the way a car can tolerate heat more than anything else.  FWD cars are crammed together and get heat soaked bad, thus they fall apart pretty fast, especially in the hot climates.  The Northstar Cadillac has kind of proven to be sort of a problem due to this in hot environments. Cold places, no problem.  Hot is another story.  However the farther back an engine is from the radiator, the longer cars seem to last in my observations.  The trucks are the same way too along with Fords tried and true Panther platform. (Crown Vic/Marquis/Town Car)  That by the way is now the best US car made since GM dropped its RWD full frame platform in 1996.  Ford has had more time now than GM with the RWD platform, the newer Panther are better built cars than even these.... I am a GM man saying that.  You know what happens now, Ford will drop it soon.... you cannot buy a crown vic or town car right now unless you fleet buy it either.  The days are going fast to ever more disposable cars.  Back to the heat thing;  If you pop the hood of an Impala, the motor is over a foot away from the radiator.  This gives you plenty of room to work and more important better heat dissipation.  The fact the Impala has Oil and Trans Coolers with an HD radiator even makes it better.  These more "techno" unibody new cars may have these body on frame cars WAY out engineered, but those engineers never seem to manage heat well without years of trial and error.  These old Body on frame cars will outlast the best unibody GM car bought today with 0 miles taking a 96 model with 100K miles to test against.  Bring it to Texas heat, and I will take that bet any day of the week.  GM must have known this a little too as all these RWD cars were built right here in our town the GM Arlington plant.  Dallas has a ton of these Band D body cars on the road in the 80s-90s.  We like them here.

My particular example 1996 Impala SS is absolutely nothing special at all.  Like many of my cars, some are low production, mega low miles, have interesting stories behind them and more.  This has none of that. I just like it, that's all.  To quote; "there are MANY like it, but this is mine".   Being a car collector, the logical thing to do is buy one of the no mile ones and park it.  Due to the high production fact, someone else out there will certainly do that for me, so I chose to get a good one with decent low miles I can drive a little bit.  I trade out my police ford and this car and my suburban as my daily cars. Ironically the police ford and this are very similar cars with very comparable aspects.  That is about all other than the Impala SS is a great car!

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Click each photo for a blow up!

The Ominous pair of RWD American black sedans.  These two competing platforms make up the best US cars ever built in my book.

Perfect body lines, no dings or impressions anywhere!
100% original paint but bumper cover was taken off and repainted. An asset actually as its perfect.
Perfect original paint on all steel surfaces! .. Front bumper has been painted, but off the car.
SS Seating with console and shifter for 1996.
Original Tires, BFG 255-50 17 ZR
The 1996 analog gauges
Optional CD player radio
Optional Twilight Sentinel
Stock SS exhaust in place, never tampered with and its nice! GM Koni's and BFGs factory too.
Stock LT1, no mods ever, not even a K&N
Original model GM battery.  Not the one it came with but another of the same.
As clean as they can be with the miles. It has, 27K.
Optional Dimming mirror and reading lights.
Optional Solar Sungate Windshield
Perfect power antenna
Full size spare with steel wheel.

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You can email me at Cadillacman@mcsmk8.com