The 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS - Muscle Car 2020 Review - Muscle Car

The 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS – Muscle Car 2020 Review

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Jon Skinner

Written by Jon Skinner

9th March 2019

The 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS – Muscle Car 2020 Review
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The 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS – Muscle Car 2020 Review

Quite aside from being the year in which the Chevy Impala SS entered the US car market, we remember 1961 for featuring other legendary events, such as JFK becoming the 35th American President and Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to successfully complete one orbit of the Earth. 1961 also introduced the 409 engine into a Chevrolet vehicle for the first time. 

Though it is the 1967 Impala SS we remember, the Chevrolet’s widely recognised flagship passenger car was actually released in 1961.

Marketed as a true American muscle car, the Impala SS was originally available for $5,380, and available as an upgrade on any Impala for only $53.80 (!)


Named for the African antelope like its Impala predecessors, the Chevy Impala Super Sport featured the graceful animal as its logo also. Soon, this badge would become synonymous with high performance.

Technically the fourth generation of the Impala line (started in 1958), the SS (Super Sport) model was announced in December 1960, quickly becoming the symbol for performance cars in the early 1960s. 

Chevrolet produced only 453 Super Sport cars within the original Impala batch, although the car would become increasingly popular throughout the early 1960s. Highly attractive and marketable to the American market throughout the 1960s, 918,000 units of the Impala SS were manufactured in total, a testament to its importance in the formative years of the American muscle car.

To this day, perhaps due to its image-heavy marketing and multiple appearances on screen ever since, the Impala SS enjoys great popularity in the US and abroad.



The Impala SS became the main appearance-only package on recent Chevrolet models. In contrast to previous years, the 1961 Super Sport package was available on any Impala, including 4-door sedans and station wagons 

The highest-powered chevy so far, the ’61 409 cid Impala had an awkward power-to-weight ratio. Weighing less than a 1970 Chevelle SS, it had 360 hp, 7.8 second acceleration and 15.8 second ¼ mile time at 94 mph. There were upgrades to both the suspension and engine, and the restyled Impala featured the SS trim, which used the GM B platform for the first time.

Two engines were available for the SS: the 348cid and the 409 cubic inch V8 engine.

Out of the original 453, only 142 models were fitted with the 409 engine upgrade and most were purchased by customers to run at local drag strips. As a direct competitor to Ford’s 390 engine, it outperformed even other Chevy engines and became available in all full-size Chevrolet cars on the market. 

Despite being fitted into only 43,775 cars in total, the 409 engine is remembered for its defining legacy. The novelty and excitement of a 425hp engine in a mid-sized car greatly boosted Chevrolet’s 1963 sales figures.

Fun Fact: When the 409 hp V8 engine entered the market in 1962, it was immortalised in the Beach Boys’ song 409: “Nothing can catch her, nothing can touch my 409”. 


Production of the SS in 1962 was miles ahead of the 1961 figures, with approximately 100,000 produced.

The following year was a big year for the Chevy Impala SS, with increased popularity due to the discontinuation of the Bel Air Coupe. An increase in performance, drivability improvements and that new 425 hp 409 engine also helped boost the sale figures.

In mid-1963 Chevrolet developed another upgraded engine, with the 427 Z-11 boasting an official rate of 430 hp, although drivers usually got the engine hitting closer to 500 hp

Although a hit on the drag strips, it was only available through Chevrolet’s Regular Production Option (RPO), which was for factory-approved customers. 

The 427 had a short shelf life in 1963, as Chevrolet removed themselves from the racing circuit, and only 55 Impala Super Sports had the Z-11 engine, out of a total possible 153,271 cars. 1966 Impala SS sales fell more than 50% due to buyers going for mid-sized performance cars like the Chevelle SS 396 instead.

A Makeover

1964 Chevrolet sales would be slow for the Impala SS, as the company used the time to design the radical changes that would come in 1965. 

Only minor cosmetic changes were made between the 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS and the 1964 version, but it was the final hurrah for the 425 hp 409 engine as well as the last time we would see the X-frame body chassis. Although production still increased in 1964 (185,325 in total), buyers were beginning to shift over to smaller, lighter cars such as the Pontiac GTO.

Meanwhile, the competition offered similar performance for less money, which resulted in Chevrolet introducing a more streamlined look 1965 as well as the Mark IV 396 cubic inch V8, which Chevrolet would use for the rest of the 1960s. This marked the end of the fabled 409 engine. 

A 1964 advert for Chevrolet Impala SS

The new look of the Impala SS could be seen as a break from the styling of General Motor’s previous Chief Stylist Harley Earl, who retired just as the original Impala SS went into production. His successor, Bill Mitchell, was known to promote his preferred styling cue of the ‘sheer look’ which had shoulderless drop-offs and eliminated chrome excess and fat fins. 

Production of the new Impala SS continued on an upward curve, with a total of 239,500 cars built in 1965, but this would be the last year they would be that high. In 1966 sales plummeted to less than 50% of the 1965 figures with only around 117,000 Impala SS cars produced.

The marketing also saw changes, switching to mid-sized cars like the Pontiac, or Chevrolet’s own Chevelle, but also smaller cars such as the Ford Mustang.



The Chevelle gained popularity after the mid-60s, and following the 1967 introduction of the Camaro, marketing and production for the Chevy Impala SS came as a bit of an afterthought for Chevrolet. 

Consequently, sales dropped regularly from 1967 onwards. This meant fewer upgrades for the Impala SS. For instance, Impala SS badges replaced the Chevrolet markings. A 385 hp 427 cubic inch V8 was released within the Z24 version of the SS. However, this version only sold 2,142 units out of the total production of 76,055 Impalas. 

In what would be the beginning of the end of the separate Impala SS series, the Z24 was often marketed as the Chevrolet SS 427, which did not have the Impala name anywhere on the body or interior.

In 1968, sales continued to decline as the availability of big-block engines in mid-sized cars increased elsewhere. The Super Sport was longer a separate series, and a customer could upgrade any Impala Coupe or convertible for $179 as an optional package. 

Even the race circuit saw inevitable changes: eventually, the Chevrolet Bel Air, being lighter, soon took over from the Impala SS.



With no distinctive SS badging inside the car apart from the steering wheel, 1968-69 would ultimately be the final year for the original Impala SS. 

The inclusion of the mechanically superior Z24, as front disc brakes and 15-inch wheels were made standard, increased sales slightly but was not enough to save the Chevy Impala SS as a model.

The Impala line itself would continue well into the late 1970s, but it never retained the performance image of the SS, and instead became a luxury car. 

Pop Culture

The 1960s Chevrolet Impala Super Sport appears to be a long-term firm favourite with the media, appearing in several films and TV shows long after the car had ceased production.

Most notably were Jumanji (1995), 2 Guns (2013) and Straight Outta Compton (2015). The last film especially underlines an interest in classic muscle cars from rap musicians, as the Impala SS makes an appearance in music videos from the likes of Chris Brown, Dr Dre and Wiz Khalifa.

The 1967 Chevy Impala SS is also the vehicle of choice for the main characters in the hit TV show Supernatural. The creator of the show admitted he originally wanted a 1965 Mustang, however he went with the SS after a fateful conversation convinced him otherwise: “My neighbour said it has to be a ’67 Impala because you can put a body in the trunk. He says, ‘You want a car that, when people stop next to it at the lights, they lock their doors.’” 

The car has been dubbed ‘Metallicar’ by the fans of the show due to its black colour and the character’s love for classic rock. In the show, their beloved muscle car notoriously ends up being damaged and rebuilt from the ground up several times; a bit like what we do in Henfield, England. There has since been a surge in interest for owning an Impala SS; second-hand sales of the classic car have been steady in recent times.

Even today, there is no shortage of celebrity owners; basketball player Kobe Bryant had a 1963 Chevy Impala Convertible, given to him as a gift by his wife. Other famous owners include Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden and American rapper and DJ Funkmaster Flex, with the latter opting for the 396 cubic inch V8 of the 1965 Impala SS.

Such is the legacy of the Impala SS, one of America’s first true muscle cars.

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