It’s kind of dull, kind of evil. It’s been through a bit in it’s 21 years, having been resprayed and a front end accident repaired. My dad went with the aftermarket grill, but I still prefer the factory grill with a red Chevy badge it wore for 90% of it’s life. No pretenses, the Impala SS is what it is. (a rebadged caprice, shh)
This interior has been through a lot and it shows. Apparently GM didn’t build the best interiors in the 90's, who knew. In all fairness, most interiors would be in rough shape after 20 years/~300,000 miles, cigarette smoke and a few spilled gallons of coffee. The seats are still in good shape and great for long distance road trips (hence the coffee). There’s only one cup holder in a flimsy pull out tray (hence the spilled coffee).
Clean, straightforward, analog gauges. with inaccurate odometer.
Decently equipped for 1996, so laughably behind today. The CD player doesn’t work anymore, but the power antenna does! Up! Down! Up! Down! Tons of fun for your inner 10 year old.
Speakers are tired, wind noise is noticeable. The intake/exhaust are uncorked waking up the LT1 noise but regrettably when my dad replaced the rear end years ago I think he went straight cut, because that pumpkin is loud. Fluid level is fine, its just noisy, fades a bit with temp, but it’s honestly a distraction. On the plus side the lock up is so easy and predictable that every rainy day is an excuse for a drift event. If one decided to be irresponsible that is, which I would never. Ever. (wee!)
Much like the interior, the performance hasn’t aged well. But some mild upgrades over the years have added a few horsepower and the current Hankooks are leagues better than the garbage BFgoodriches that came from the factory. Those plus the ravages of time and I’d guess its about equal. so mid 15's in the 1/4 and ~7 0-60. I give it an extra point for passing power, 40-80, 70-110 etc... torque is nice for dispatching pesky prii or semi’s. The ease of it is kind of addicting.
60-0 in 120ft. For all GM’s ills, they did not fuck around with the brakes. This is still a respectable distance for modern cars and likely only got better with better tires. Plus the calipers are red, that’s got to take off a few feet.
A big chassis with good shocks soaks up bumps and undulations well. It’s firmer than the boat it is based on but it’s still GM sedan. Ride wasn’t compromised much for the HD suspension.
My dad actually did a bit of work on the handling of the Impala, adding underbody and front strut bracing as well as installing rear control arms. But physics are physics and this is a 4200lb BOF sedan. This could be alright, but the steering is precisely what you think steering designed by GM in the 70's would feel like. Short of re-engineering the entire front end, you’re basically stuck with what you got. Grip and consistency is fine, but you’ll likely never extract the feel for a great handling car. I should probably give it more for the ease of power induced oversteer...
It’s a 4l60e. It has 4 forward speeds and one reverse. The LT1 doesn’t really care it has low end torque and isn’t afraid to rev either. Kicking it down into third doesn’t really get old. It has a B&M Shiftplus add on, but I can’t tell if it does anything. Whatever, it’s original and still kicking, +1 for that.
SS values vary wildly. You can pick up a beater for a few thousand or a garage queen for close to MSRP (25k) and anything in between. The cheap ones can be great value (rust dependent), but I can’t see why anyone would want to buy a garage queen. These aren’t scared of miles. All examples are bound to appreciate as time wears on, and this is the last gasp of the B-body with it’s roots clear through to pre-war era. It’s a romantitc brute.
Total: 52/100 It’s a flawed car, especially in a modern sense, but it’s a time machine. The highways aren’t so long behind the wheel of a B-body.