By on May 3, 2011

With all the relatively solid big Detroit cars from the 1960s getting eaten by The Crusher in these days of $4/gallon gasoline and $250/ton scrap steel prices, how does a rough survivor like this sedan manage to stay out of the Chinese steel foundries?

The probable answer: because it keeps running!

The mid-to-late-1960s full-sized Chevy cars (and I can’t sweat this is actually an Impala, since all the emblems and most of the trim are gone; we might be looking at a Biscayne with Impala taillights, or a detrimmed Caprice) tended to be very sturdy and simple to fix, and they were manufactured in such vast numbers— well over a million units for the 1967 model year alone, counting wagons— that parts are still easy to find. Engine blows up? No problem— just drop in a random 350 from Pick-N-Pull and off you go.

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31 Comments on “Down On The Mile High Street: 1967 Chevrolet Impala...”

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Quintessential American car….or what the Accord was before it was made in Japan. Reliable, easy to fix, spacious and comfortable for the time, safe by that day’s standards. If we hadn’t stopped building cars like these in the 1970’s and 1980’s, there would have been no room for the foreign cars to come in and kick our asses….

    • 0 avatar

      One reason the Big 3 survived the 70s and 80s is because they stopped building cars like that.

      I’m no tree-hugger, but it’s cars like that which made LA’s air unbreatheable, and made it economically unviable to keep driving them when the gas crunches of 73 and 79 hit. A clean-running Civic/Rabbit/Corolla/Omni/Escort cost half as much to run.

      And the question of ‘foreign’ became muddled when VW started making cars in New Stanton, PA.

      Sorry, I can’t flag-wave on behalf of a 67 Impala. Yes, it’s the quintessential American car, but it represents why the American car market looks the way it does today.

      • 0 avatar

        All cars made LA’s air unbreathable in 1967 and that’s the reason for CARB’s creation in 1966; as long as it burned fossil fuel, it was a problem. It just so happens that these types of vehicles were the majority of what was sold back then.

    • 0 avatar

      We stopped building cars like these because the foreign cars came in and kicked our asses. Nobody was going to buy a gigantic Impala once the fuel crisis hit in the early seventies. Once people started to actually care about fuel economy, it turns out that the Japanese could do it better, largely by virtue of the fact that the cars they were selling in postwar Japan needed to be tiny and fuel-sipping due to a lack of resources and space. The American manufacturers underestimated the demand for fuel-efficient small cars and it bit them in the ass, so their own compact cars were late to the market and, frankly, not as good as the overseas competition, clear into the late nineties.

      What, you think American car companies just rolled over one day and said “Hey, let’s stop building full-size luxobarges” just for the hell of it? No, customers stopped buying them because they didn’t want to wait in gas lines as often. Then, by the time the fuel crisis ended, consumers realized that not only were Japanese cars better on gas, but they didn’t fall apart as much as domestics, either.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s not true. Big car sales rebounded dramatically in 1976-1977 after fuel crisis I was over and stayed very strong through 1979. What really killed off the huge cars was CAFE. Sales of the large but downsized cars plummeted in 1980 because of fuel crisis II and a worsening economy. However, once again, sales shot up beginning in 1983 to the point where the domestic makers were worried about getting CAFE penalties for selling too many big cars in their product mix.

      • 0 avatar

        People still buy vehicles like this.

        These vehicles just have beds behind the seating area, or ride higher than before, and are now named “Silverado” or “Tahoe” instead of “Impala” or “Caprice.”

  • avatar

    The owner is certainly even more interesting than the car. There is a lot of love keeping that car going.

  • avatar

    I’m going to go with this being a Caprice instead of the Impala. Not only does it have the all-red triple taillights, but it also has the front fender lights that were standard on the Caprice. In addition, the Caprice was the only big Chevy that year with the backup lights mounted in the bumper. All other models had the backup lights incorporated into the taillights and a plain bumper.

    • 0 avatar

      It also has Caprice wheelcovers (where they are present) for what that’s worth, easy to change of course but points to it being a Caprice along with the aforementioned tail lights.

      Side note to the tailights, the ’67 Impala & Belair shared the same three-across tail light layout; only time that the Impala and Belair were the same. The lights on this car are, as another poster indicated, unique to the Caprice because the back up lights are in the bumper as opposed to occupying the middle socket in the tail light assembly.

      It can’t be a Belair as they didn’t come in a four door hardtop configuration.

      • 0 avatar

        It looks like the Belair was originally supposed to have two-segment taillights like the Biscayne but all-red with the backup lights in the bumper. Seems that Chevy changed their minds at the very last minute. Check out the full-size Chevy brochure.

      • 0 avatar

        Even better, if the front fender emblems are to be believed, this might well be a big-block V-8, most likely a 396.

      • 0 avatar

        I think those Caprice wheelcovers are off a ’66, however. Who knows how many road battles this thing was in and where (and what) parts were sourced to repair it.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This wasn’t the point where GM jumped the shark (that was the Vega) but this was where GM spotted the shark and made a beeline for it. Fatter, heavier, uglier than the previous generation, devoid of any notable technological advances. IIRC these were also the first cars produced under the aegis of GMAD, and the decline in build quality got to the point where people started noticing.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’65 Impala, in a similar blue, was sleeker looking an quite possibly lighter in weight, but had identical technology underneath. Heck, the ’57 I restored was almost the same. GM was all about style. Leadership in engineering seemed to peak in the 1930’s (Overhead valves, Hydramatic, hypoid axles, diesel-electric locomotives)

      • 0 avatar

        I had a ’65 Impala too, and quickly found that there was quite a choice in drivetrains, including a straight six and 3-speed column shifter. Mine was a 283 with a 2-speed hydramatic, good for 12 mpg. On the freeway. I drove it from Boston to San Diego, and that was my average. Fuel cost was $82.60 for 258 gallons (32 cents/gal.) Those prices are long gone, so this car has to have a more economical drivetrain to have lasted this long.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Certainly a survivor.

  • avatar

    surely these kinds of cars would be sought after by the rapper crowd

    hit it with some candy apple and daytona wires and a chain link steering wheel

    hit the switches

  • avatar

    Not to pick nits, but I believe this car is a hardtop, not a sedan. No B pillar. Which i think might also point to it being a Caprice, but I can’t swear to that.

    At any rate, cool find, and glad the owner is keeping the old gal in service rather than trading it for 5 Benjamins. In my mind, any car, running, is worth more than that, but then, gas is almost 4 bucks a gallon and you can buy a crappy econobox for about a grand, it seems. Of course, if you don’t drive but a few miles a day, or need to haul a lot of people or stuff, and like being just about the biggest car on the road, then this may be your ticket.

    My daily driver was made this same year, and is in about this condition, but hey, it gets me back and forth to work and its just so endearing. (My DD also is a small, european estate with a 4 banger that gets 25 mpg, so its not a huge punch in the wallet every time I fill ‘er up)

  • avatar

    12 MPG air polluting full size bombs like this couldn’t possibly have survived into the 70’s and 80’s. That is why GM made the far better downsized B-bodies to replace these huge dinosaurs. They brought MPG up to mid twenties with the introduction of the overdrive 200R4 in 1981 and still had good reliability, plenty of room and comfort and would easily last hundreds of thousands of miles with normal service. The notion that only a Honda or Toyota can last over 100K is so laughably ludicrous.

    • 0 avatar

      True! When the smaller Caprice came 1977 it was a very good car, I had an 1980 myself. When looking back the ’55 Chevvy was indeed a great car. Not too big, the SB V8 was under 300 CI. The 1977 and forward could actually have been made roomier and with smaller outside dimensions if GM had dropped the obsolete BoF-concept. Slithly lighter, fuel injection and small SB V8 or modern V6, a good sturdy alternative to Camry and Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Personally I’ll always be left wondering what Ford’s Panther platform would have been like with the 3.7V6 from the Mustang in it and the 6-speed auto. Fuel economy has always kept me from seriously considering those cars.

      • 0 avatar

        @Gunnar, GM did do that they just didn’t get around to calling it the Impala until later. They did offer a V6 in the Caprice for a couple of years. And yes they are a sturdy just as or more fuel efficient as some Camrys and Accords with much more room.

        @Dan, I think the big reason Ford refused to stick the Mustang V6 in the Panthers is they didn’t want the old cat to post as good or better MPG than the Taurus, which it likely would have with the lighter weight of the bigger BOF Panther.

  • avatar

    I am pretty sure it is a Caprice. Also note the crossed flags on the front fenders, it is a 396 Turbo Jet emblem and it probably is also a Turbo 400 3 speed automatic which I think was mandatory with that engine instead of the 2 speed Powerglide.

  • avatar

    The Dude is looking for a new car. Any chance this one could be for sale?

  • avatar

    One of my best friends in high school, his dad had one of these – ’67 4-door Impala with a 327 and an automatic. It was baby blue with blue vinyl interior. His mother had bought it new and handed it down to him in college and he drove as his primary vehicle for twenty years making the commute from Northern Virginia into D.C. every day. Unlike this example, it was in perfect condition with great paint and vinyl, it was comfy and it drove well and was quite reliable.

    It died an undeserving death at the hands of a drunk in a CRX on a rainy night who hit it head on. My friend was driving and he cut his lip on the wheel (no shoulder belts) but was otherwise OK – the Impala was not so lucky as the front end was folded up pretty bad and the insurance company wasn’t quite as attached to the old Impala as my buddy’s dad was.

    We all thought it was dowdy for having four doors and lamented his grandmother’s failure to hand down a proper two-door hardtop but it was a very good car.

    I always liked the little “Body by Fisher” stamps on the door sills.

  • avatar

    As much as the cars I like seeing some of the locations in Denver. I recognized the Beetle and the house behind it immediately, but this one’s got me guessing. Can you mention some cross streets when you post these finds?

    I’ve never seen a CH plate; when I lived there everything had switched to three letters and just about everything in Denver started with an A.

  • avatar

    It takes decades to make a car like this.

    The paint has to be exposed to the sun, just so. The rust has to appear across the surface without breaking it down. The dents have to be placed in such a way to create the kind of harmony one finds in naturally beautiful objects, yet not harm any of the funtionality of the object itself. The grille is warped and twisted, yet remains in place. The rear fender has been rounded and bashed without losing the right tail lamp. In Denver, you get the perfect combination of humidity and intense sunshine to create this perfect exterior patima.

    My favorite jeans were bought used in a denim shop in Groeningen Netherlands. They were worn thin at all the right places and broken down to fit with a soft perfection. The rivets were discolored, the button fly was easily buttoned since all the button holes have been unraveled and ripped. The seat has been worn so thin I needed to ensure I wore underwear. There were two to three inches of cuff missing from over each heel. There is a burn-mark where someone’s roach scorched it. Whoever gave them up was a fool for not staying in shape long enough to keep wearing them. You simply cannot just find a replacement for this level of comfort and practicality. They were more comfortable than anything else I had.

    The car is perfect. If it was put into a movie, it would become a star. It has more personality than an entire fleet of Camrys. You know the interior of this car has a smell no dormroom can touch, and hopefully those windows can be opened to provide needed relief. The driver’s seat, if original, feels like a warm Caribbean hammock that supports you like a pair of flannel boxers. The dashboard tells you two things – how fast you are going, and how much gas you got. This matches the two pedals at your feet.

    This is a ride you can fart in, bleed in, get sick in, eat hard shell tacos in, screw in, smoke in, and let your dog drop a litter in without worrying about the stains.

    Life is full of stains, scratches and dents. Cars without them are either liars or virgins. I’m neither.

    To those who see this car and only see it as some kind of a political statement, or an environmental statement, or a nationalist statement are idiots. These are the kinds of people who look at the Grand Canyon and talk about how pretty Paris is, possibly daming it to make a reservoir, or blaming George W. Bush for leaving the water on. When this Chevy was manufacturered, it entered a world full of Americans who didn’t second guess themselves, earned a paycheck, went to church, married the girl they impregnated, and knew that it was a sin to be lazy.

    Look at it. It is smarter than you.

  • avatar

    Hey, it turns out this is my aunts car. I have been trying to get it off her hands for a while. It is a 67 Chevy Caprice. it needs serious work done to it as you can see.. my question is where do i get parts for this bad boy. i know a junk yard but i need specific.

  • avatar

    These cars were actually pretty good on gas for the day when equipped with the 283 or one of the lower performance 327’s. A well tuned 283 could easily get 18+mpg and a 327 wasn’t far behind.

  • avatar

    Many people that drove full size cars during the 60’s and 70’s now drive suvs and fullsize pickups. I grew up in the house that I now live in, and many of the neigbbors from those days who worked in the auto industry are still around.
    The people that worked for gm and drove cars like this back then are now driving silverados, tahoes, suburbans and the like. The retired ford workers that drove LTD’s and such are now driving F-150’s, explorers and expeditions. My wife’s dad worked for the twinsburg chrysler plant, and back when I first met her her dad drove a D-100 and her mom had a 73 polara wagon. Now her dad drives a ram and her mom drives a grand cherokee.

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