The Impala name originally graced the two-door hardtop coupé and convertible versions of Chevrolet’s Bel Air in 1958. However, it later evolved to represent a prestigious luxury trim level rather than a separate body style. In the marketing campaign titled ‘All New, All Over Again,’ the 1959 Chevrolets displayed a thoroughly modern appearance with increased length, lowered height, and greater width compared to their predecessors. These cars featured expansive glass areas and introduced several innovative design elements such as ‘bat wing’ rear fenders, ‘cat’s eye’ tail lamps, and an enormous rear deck that seemed large enough to accommodate a helicopter landing. The Impala’s standard engine options included a 235.5ci (3,861cc) overhead-valve six and a 283ci (4,639cc) V8. The power output varied depending on the chosen transmission, and a wide range of high-performance options were available.
This ‘2nd Generation’ Impala remained in production until the announcement of the 1961 lineup, which featured a restyled appearance on General Motors’ existing ‘B’ platform, resulting in a more compact and boxy design. Additionally, the 409ci (6.7-liter) ‘Big Block’ V8 engine was introduced, famously celebrated in the Beach Boys’ song ‘409,’ the B-side of their 1962 chart-topping single ‘Surfin’ Safari.’ This powerful engine initially produced 360bhp and later exceeded 400 brake horsepower in subsequent iterations, giving the luxurious top-of-the-range Impala remarkable acceleration comparable to sports cars. Many buyers opted to enhance their vehicles by selecting the ‘Super Sport’ package, which mainly consisted of cosmetic improvements. Eventually, the ‘Impala Super Sport’ became a distinct two-door model line, becoming Chevrolet’s most expensive offering in 1964.