Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Car Of The Day: October 4, 2011

Today's car of the day is Matchbox's 2000 Chevrolet Impala.

The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 1958 model year. Deriving its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United States, competing against the Ford Galaxie 500 and the Plymouth Fury when full-size models dominated the market. The Impala was distinguished for many years by its symmetrical triple taillights. The Caprice was introduced as a top-line Impala Sport Sedan for the 1965 model year becoming a separate series positioned above the Impala in 1966, which itself remained above the Bel Air and Biscayne. The Impala continued as Chevrolet's most popular full-size model through the mid-1980s. Between 1994 and 1996, Impala was revived as a muscular 5.7-liter V8–powered version of the Caprice Classic sedan. In 2000, the Impala was re-introduced again as a mainstream front-wheel drive full-size sedan.

Ed Cole, Chevrolet's chief engineer in the late 1950s, defined the Impala as a "prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen."

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Impala

This cruiser represents the Forest Grove Fire Dept of Franklinville, New Jersey.

The Impala name was first used for the full-sized 1956 General Motors Motorama show car that bore Corvette-esque design cues, especially the grille. Painted emerald green metallic, with a white interior, the Impala featured hardtop styling. It is not known to have survived. Clare MacKichan's design team, along with designers from Pontiac, started to establish basic packaging and dimensions for their shared 1958 General Motors A body in June; the first styling sketch that would directly influence the finished Chevrolet product caught the eye of General Motors Styling vice president Harley Earl in October. Seven months later, the basic design was worked.

From 1958 through 1996, Impala sales were in excess of 13 million, more than any other full-size car in the history of the automobile. The 1964 model year sales of 1,074,925 units (Impala and Impala SS) in the U.S. still stands as a record. 1965 wasn't far behind with 1,046,500 units. In 2008, Impala was the 6th best-selling car in the United States and had the distinction of being the top-selling American nameplate sedan, according to Reuters Top 20 Best-selling Vehicles Scorecard.

The Impala name was resurrected for the 2000 model year as the "Hi-Mid" program to replace the Lumina. Based on the Lumina's W-body platform, it was built at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Unlike the earlier Impalas built on a B-body, this one was front-wheel drive and was available with a choice of two V6 engines, and slightly smaller. A new Impala SS with a supercharged V6 was brought out for the 2004 model year.

The Impala was available in two trim levels from 2000 to 2001. The base model came equipped with cloth bench seats, steel wheels, the 180 horsepower (130 kW) 3.4 liter (204 cu in) LA1 V6, and a 3-gauge instrument cluster. The LS came factory-equipped with cloth bucket seats upgradeable to leather with center console and floor shift, color-keyed "Impala" door scripts and trunk badge, anti-lock brakes, traction control system, keyless remote entry, integrated foglamps, aluminum wheels upgradeable to alloy wheels, rear spoiler (optional on the base models), 4-gauge instrument cluster, and the larger 200 horsepower (150 kW) 3.8 liter (231 cu in) L36 V6. Options available on all models included a sunroof, OnStar system, rear decklid spoiler, Driver Information Center with built-in HomeLink system, heated power front seats, and 16 inch 1990s SS-inspired wheels. All options found or available on the LS were available on the base model. All models came equipped with power windows, door locks and mirrors.

In 2002, Chevrolet introduced the LS Sport appearance package. Added to the LS model, it offered a 6-gauge cluster, front bumper extension, color-keyed tail light panels and a chrome exhaust pipe tip.
In 2003, the "Impala" badges that adorned the front doors were dropped on the base model , like on all GM W-body cars (except for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix).

The 2004 to 2005 Impala SS came equipped with the 3.8 liter (231 cu in) supercharged L67 V6 engine. It was rated at 240 horsepower (180 kW) and had been previously used in the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, Buick Regal GS, Buick Riviera, and H-body Pontiac Bonneville SSEI and Buick Park Avenue "Ultra". The lightweight front-wheel-drive sedan was actually quicker than the vaunted 1990s Impala SS, with 0–60-mile-per-hour (0–97 km/h) times pushing 6.5 seconds compared to the earlier model's 7.1 second 0–60 time.
Also released with this version were the Police Package and Undercover Police Package, named 9C1 and 9C3, respectively. Available only to law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS agencies, it has had more success than its predecessor, the Lumina 9C3. The 9C1 was basically a base model with a stronger suspension and the 3.8 liter (231 cu in) V6 engine. It was only available in a few basic colors. Another addition was the "SURV MODE" switch which replaced the fog light switch found on the LS. This enabled the driver to turn off all lights in the vehicle and "hide"; something not allowed with the civilian models as automatic headlights were standard. The 9C3 was comparably equipped to the 9C1, but the ability to add other convenience options and more paint and interior choices set the 9C3 apart.

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