General Motors and Chevrolet took a gamble in 1977. That year all full-sized B and C body cars were downsized. For Chevrolet, this meant downsizing its B-body bread-and-butter Impala and Caprice sedans. But the gamble paid off for both Chevrolet and GM. The new Impala and Caprice were hugely successful, with Impala sales exceeding 300,000 units in its introductory year. The new Impala & Caprice was named Motor Trend’s car of the year for 1977. The new Impala & Caprice design would soldier through the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice
1977 Chevrolet Impala
The new Impala used a shortened version of the frame introduced on 1971 Impala. The new “box style” Impala was trimmer than the 1976 Impala in almost every dimension, but featured similar or increased interior dimensions than the previous model. The Impala was available in 2 and 4 door sedan and station wagon. Trim levels included base, Custom and a Landau coupe. The Pillarless hardtops were discontinued with the expectation of increased federal rollover standards that never actually came into law. The Landau sports coupe was introduced that sported a double bent tempered rear window. The Impala came with an inline-6 with 110 horsepower standard. Optional engines included a 267 cubic inch and 305 cubic inch V8 engines. Sales of Impala to Caprice would be about 1:1 during the indroctory year.
1978 Chevrolet Impala
Changes to the Impala for 1978 were minimal. The front egg crate grille was revised with more of a cross hatch design. The rear taillight pattern was revised. Sales were down slightly from the introductory year, but still strong. Impala sold 183,161 sedans; 33,990 coupes; 4,652 landau coupes and 65,941 station wagons.
1979 Chevrolet Impala
The 1979 Impala would carry over with minimal trim changes, with a refreshed Impala waiting in the wings for 1980. By this time the Impala had developed a niche as a fleet vehicle or vehicle for consumers interested in basic value. Consumers who were interested in more polish, power accessories and other creature comforts opted for the Caprice model. The Impala still sold in respectable numbers: 172,717 sedans; 26,589 coupes; 3,247 landau coupes and 68,354 station wagons.
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