|INSTRUMENTS, WELL displayed, included a large tachometer, matching speedometer, which was steady and dead accurate, and a clock - all directly in front of the driver. Smaller gauges, the instrument package option, tell engine condition without benefit of idiot lights.|
ABOVE: CIRCULAR instruments, in neat array, provide all necessary progress and engine information.
LEFT: WHITE vinyl upholstery and bucket seats contribute to the Impala SS sporting look.
|The dash center section has three horizontal control levers for simplified operation of heater/air conditioning, defrost and choice of vent outlets, a very good system and most effective. Below this was $467.65 worth of radio and tape equipment. That's a bundle of money to lay out purely for en route entertainment, but the 4-speaker
FM multiplex or stereo tape can spoil the listener for ordinary auto music. It's such great sound it's almost sinful, and the equipment in the Impala offered magnificent reproduction and reception. Unfortunately, FM multiplex broadcast is limited mainly to the larger cities, and its range is short, but the tape cartride picks up where FM leaves off.
In order to really concentrate on the Impala's characteristics, the music must be turned off. Ride was medium-firm, not harshly so, but not feather-soft either. It was, in fact, fairly good, though the tar strips could be felt and, at one point, a back-slapping resonance, known to Detroit engineers as "freeway hop," was encountered. It seems there are freeways in certain areas which have regularly spaced concrete joints, and at just the right combination of speed and suspension the result is most unpleasant. Auto factories, including GM, search for these spots and go to great lengths to select suspension combinations which will smooth them out.
Power steering, at four turns of the wheel lock-to-lock, seemed a bit slow. The impression of nimbleness and agility aren't created by this car. Rather, it offers a sort of average aim-and-go handling quality, about what is expected from a large Chevrolet with a large V-8 engine.
When all that's happening within inches of the driver/passengers is considered, it becomes evident how well sound-proofed is the modern American car. This particular Impala was quiet on every count. With windows up there was a bare minimum of engine sound, while wind and road noises were exceptionally low. Noise is, after all, a significant factor in fatigue, so it might be concluded that a quiet car is a safer car. Of course, with air conditioning it is practical to travel indefinitely without ever opening a window.
|AT PRECISELY 600 miles on the odometer, a tire went flat. A forced tire change is the best possible way to evaluate trunk space and stowage of the spare tire and wheel. The conclusion reached after the impromptu change is that CL crewmen don't know where the spare belongs, but it surely is in an inconvenient location in the Chevrolet Impala SS. The drill was to unload the trunk, scramble inside, being careful to avoid a knock on the skull, then muscle the spare from its mounting and pull it over the trunk sill to the ground. It wasn't easy.|
TURBO HYDRA-Matic and Positraction axle coupled to the 427's hefty 385 bhp at 5200 rpm and 460 lb-ft. of torque at 3400 rpm prove a very formidable combination. Options are 3- and 4-speed manual gearboxes.
|In the main, assembly, paint and trim were good. There weren't any glaring gaps, the vinyl roof cover appeared well installed - paint was smooth, and things which were supposed to operate, did.
In regard to styling, the hood louvers, one of the 427's distinctive features, are simulated, but after a while the driver doesn't notice them. If they had been functional their necessity could be understood. A regularly heard comment was the favorable reaction to the fastback roofline. It is graceful, a neat trick on a big car. Totally out of the styling theme were the wheel covers - simulated wire wheels. All they added was an extra $55.85 to the price sticker.
That's the SS 427 - a family car for a swinging family, or possibly a good choice for a traveling swinger without a family. Because Chevrolet's image of practicality has persisted through several decades, no one will accuse the driver of a Chevrolet 2-door hardtop of extravagence - unless shown the pricetag. Which returns us to the original question: Is a Chevrolet worth $5000? In this case, on basis of performance and included features, it is. Those who shake their heads in wonder are old enough to remember when the low-cost three really were.