Chevrolet Impala Seventh generation
|1994 to 1996|
|Production||February 14, 1994–December 13, 1996|
|Assembly||United States: Arlington, Texas, (Arlington Assembly)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Engine||5.7 L (350 cu in) LT1 V8|
|Transmission||4-speed 4L60-E automatic|
|Wheelbase||115.9 in (2,944 mm)|
|Length||214.1 in (5,438 mm)|
|Width||77 in (1,956 mm)|
|Height||54.7 in (1,389 mm)|
|Curb weight||4,036 lb (1,831 kg)|
In 1991, the GM B platform was extensively redesigned, though it retained the same shortened frame design of the 1977 redesign. The Impala SS badge was resurrected at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show as a concept car designed by GM designer Jon Moss. The concept car was two inches lower to the ground than the regular Caprice, and was powered by a 8.2-liter (500 cu in) engine. Eventually, the concept car's engine was replaced with a 5.7-liter (350 cu in) engine derived from the Corvette in order to show the public what would be offered if put into production (an off-road specification 510-cubic-inch (8.4 L) V8 was eventually put into the engine bay of the prototype years later).
The 1994 Impala SS went into production on February 14, 1994 at GM's plant in Arlington, Texas, and was almost identical cosmetically to the concept car, the only noticeable change being the chromed bowtie logo on the grill (vs a red logo on the concept). The car was, in essence, a high-performance version of the Caprice. From a mechanical standpoint, it used the Caprice 9C1 police package as its base and as such got most of the equipment formerly available only to law enforcement and government agencies. This included a sport-tuned suspension with reinforced shocks and springs, a high-capacity reverse flow cooling system (derived from the Corvette's LT1), larger four-wheel disc brakes, transmission cooler, dual exhaust, a higher-output electrical system, and other minor mechanical alterations. Not all of the police equipment was carried over however, as the Impala SS did not get the external oil-to-air engine oil cooler, nor were all the body mounts secured (the standard Caprice and Impala SS were assembled at the factory with the front 3 body mounts missing one of the rubber cushions, while the 9C1 was assembled with all rubber cushions in place), although both are popular aftermarket additions to the Impala SS by their owners.
The Impala SS was uniquely fitted with a standard 3.08 gear. The limited-slip rear differential was standard (as opposed to the option G80 on Caprices) and the suspension was an inch lower. A retuned LT1 5.7-liter (350 cu in) small-block V8 was standard on the Impala SS, making 260 horsepower (190 kW) and 330 pound-feet (450 N·m) of torque (retuned from the prototype's 300 horsepower (220 kW) rating). The primary difference between the LT1 in the Impala and the LT1 that was in the Corvette and Camaro was that the Impala engine was fitted with cast-iron cylinder heads instead of aluminum ones, and a camshaft that was designed more for low-end torque than high-end horsepower. Another difference was that the Impala LT1 had 2-bolt main bearing caps while the Corvette LT1 had 4-bolt main bearing caps. The transmission used in the car was the 4L60E, which was an electronically controlled version of the previously hydraulically controlled 4L60. However, the transmission was not beefed up for the power of the LT1, and transmission failures after 100,000 miles (160,000 km) were commonplace. A manual transmission was never available in the 1994–96 Impala SS. However there is a growing trend of replacing the 4L60-E transmission, with the T-56 (6-speed manual) from the Camaro and Firebird using aftermarket kits. Alternatively, a popular enhancement was the addition of a shift-kit and/or a more aggressive torque converter. Several other cars in the B/D-body line also shared a similar powertrain: these were the Chevrolet Caprice, Buick Roadmaster, and the [D-body] Cadillac Fleetwood which all shared the LT1 engine and 4L60E automatic transmission.
Cosmetically, the Impala SS received body-colored trim, which helped reduce the sometimes "bloated" look of the standard Caprice, a unique single-bar grille with no hood ornament and, a rear deck spoiler. It was fitted with 17-inch (430 mm) brushed aluminum wheels with 255/50ZR17 all-season Z-rated tires. Inside, the car came with a central console with cup holders (1994 and 1995 models) and a storage compartment, leather seats embroidered with the Impala SS logo, and a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel. For the 1994 model year, it was available only in black with a gray interior. Due to a shortage of the unique five-spoke aluminum wheels (manufactured by ROH in Australia), only 6,303 cars were sold. However, the wheel shortage was remedied for the 1995 model year and 21,434 cars were sold.
In 1995, Dark Cherry Metallic and Dark Grey Green were added as exterior color options, and the body paneling on the rear quarter panel was altered to reflect the cosmetic effect formerly achieved by a window insert. Another change from 1994 was the placement of the side mirrors from pods attached to the door to a larger format attached to the 'A' pillar. 1996 was the last year of production with 41,941 units sold. The 1996 Impala SS production went late into the model year; the last one being produced on December 13, 1996. It saw minor interior alterations, with the digital speedometer being replaced by an analog one, along with a tachometer. The shifter was moved from the column to the center console, and the engine was given an OBD-II computer control system (the camshaft was reground to adjust for the new computer).