I have read several articles in the past that have rated the all-time greatest vehicles ever to bear the name "Impala." Logically, all of the cars listed are normally of the Super Sport variety and most of them give the top honor to the legendary SS409. No arguments from me. However, when I start seeing the 1994-96 Impala SS listed well above the 1967-69 SS427, I get a little irritated.
I once owned a Caprice that was a retired police interceptor the car that the 1994-96 Impala SS is based on. I loved it, and I think the 1994-96 Impalas are extremely sweet machines. They are vehicles definitely worthy of the Impala nameplate, and they quite probably represented the last glimpse any of us will ever have of a high performance full sized Chevrolet. For an all-too-brief three years Chevrolet resurrected the Impala in a way that gave great credit to any of its 1960's predecessors.
Despite that though, in my mind 1969 marked the swan-song year for the true Impala Super Sport and there is no arguing that it was the last of the original run of Impala Super Sports.
Most prospective buyers of the time had already been sold on the notion that high-performance in a full-sized vehicle was an outdated concept. A buyer who was serious about performance wasn't going to find much appeal in luxury-laden barges like the Impala or the Caprice. They could find much lighter and less expensive platforms for performance in the Camaro, Nova , or Chevelle. Even the Biscayne and Bel Air were more cost-efficient options for those full-sized loyalists who wanted a big car.
Apparently Chevrolet agreed with all of these viewpoints and missing from the list of options in 1969 was the standard Impala SS, which in previous years was nothing more than a "looks" package anyway. Yet Chevrolet must have wanted to leave something on the table for those full-size die-hards out there who wanted a little muscle. When the 1969 models rolled out in the fall of 1968, the sole-surviving full-size Super Sport was the SS427.
Perhaps it was only fitting that the car that started the whole Super Sport trend at Chevrolet would be the first of the Super Sports to die. The 1970 Impala, when ordered with the LS-5 454 engine, could still be made into a very respectable automobile. The Impala lineup as a whole would continue well into the 1980's until it was discontinued for several years. But there was just something about those "SS" emblems that were almost like a "badge of honor". With no Impala Super Sport in the lineup after 1969, things just were not the same for full-sized loyalists.
Surprisingly, 1969 marked the high-sales year of the three year run of the Impala SS427 with approximately 2,455 examples being built. Despite the increased sales, Chevrolet saw no future for the big Super Sport after 1969 and the Impala SS quietly and unceremoniously passed into Chevrolet history.