1972 Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala was introduced in 1958 and poised as a halo car for Chevy’s Bel Air. Distinguished for many years by its symmetrical triple taillights, the original Impala styling followed the basic lines of the other Chevrolet models, but received unique styling details including a different roof line, a vent above the rear window, and unique side trim. The car was not advertised as a racing vehicle, but rather a smooth-riding family car that could take you anywhere you desire. Borrowing its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet’s most expensive passenger model through 1965 ended up the best-selling automobile in the United States and continued as Chevrolet’s most popular full-size model through the mid-1980s.
The Chevrolet Impala spans 9 generations (with a 10th in the works) and has seen more makeovers than Cher throughout the years. Our customers 5th generation Impala is a 1972. The largest body style of all generations, it offers plenty of room for six passengers on wide bench seats front and rear. The ’72 Impala saw minor styling changes from ’71, most noticeably a grille that extended below the bumper. One fun little note is that the1972 Impala shared the same body with the 1972 Bel Air and 1972 Caprice. The Bel Air was the most basic car in the line up, the Impala was an upgrade from there, and the Caprice was on the high end.
The engine choices for this year’s Impala were plentiful and consisted of mostly V8s (although the base engine was a 250CI Inline Six), and beginning in 1972 all of its engine choices were designed to run on unleaded gasoline. 1972 was the end of an era for the Impala because it marked the last year for the convertible option.
Today, ample parts are available for 1972 Impalas, and they continue on as popular restoration and tuning projects. Our customer Jimmy happens to love Impalas. He picked this one up about 5 years ago and just recently decided it was time for an overhaul. So far, we haven’t decided on how this thing will be put pack together after we blast and powder coat the frame. We are thinking LS3 with 525hp or a big block with 600hp, but definitely accompanied by a 4-speed auto trans with a lock up converter. Our customer is toying with the idea of replacing the bench seats for buckets and adding a center console. The wheels have been sold and we are in the market for some new ones. We also are not sure about the paint color yet. Maybe light blue, or a fresh green. One thing is positive; we have a wiring mess on our hands that needs to be cleaned up. Nothing is more fun than cleaning up a good batch of car spaghetti that another shop cooked up for us! Keep your eyes on this post as we transform one of the best selling cars of all time into the car of our customer’s dreams.