Yesterday, an American era ended. Detroit News:
Production of the Chevrolet Impala will cease Thursday after six decades, making the Impala yet another Detroit sedan to be laid to rest as buyers switch to crossovers, SUVs and pickups.
Introduced in 1958 and produced continuously except for gaps in the 1980s and 1990s, the final Impala will roll down the line at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly. Seen by many as emblematic of the all-American car, more than 16.8 million have been sold globally (not including the 1994-96 Impala SS, which was counted as a Chevy Caprice).
Impala enthusiasts around the country are sad to see the nameplate hit its expiration date and cherish even more the Impalas they have found and made their own.
Typical Americans of my generation grew up riding in our father’s full-sized American sedans, of which the Chevrolet was the paradigm example. My father proudly came home in 1960 with a new Chevrolet Bel-Air. The Impala was a slightly higher-priced, gussied-up version of the same car, and my father was decidedly resistant to opportunities to spend more money unnecessarily for image and prestige.
Europeans drove smaller, often sportier and more sophisticated automobiles. But, back then, we Americans reveled in our roomier cars fitted with bench seats and bigger engines. We had yet to learn anything about cornering and handling. And the notion that importation from the European Old World should be looked upon as evidence of superior styling and sophistication was, back then, confined to the extreme top-end American haute bourgeoisie. Most Americans considered American-made to be the best in the world and sneered at European cars as foreign junk.
How our perspectives would change after a decade or so!