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What is the Difference Between the 1965 Impala and the 1966 Impala?

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When you hear the word “Chevrolet,” what car models come to mind? You might initially think of the Corvette, Camaro, or even the Classic Six, but one remarkable car you’ll soon think of is the fabulous Chevrolet Impala.

Chevrolet released ten groundbreaking generations of the Impala from 1958 to 2020, and although the manufacturer discontinued the car, it remains an important symbol for American automotive craftsmanship and engineering. 

The manufacturer produced many stunning model years of the Impala, and perhaps two of its most impressive model years were 1965 and 1966. Although both the 1965 and 1966 were part of the fourth generation, these two cars have notable differences. 

In this car blog, you’ll learn the differences between the 1965 and 1966 Impalas, and you’ll learn the history of this remarkable model. 

A History of the Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet originally debuted its stunning Impala in 1958, and it quickly rose to prominence in the hearts of car critics and enthusiasts. 

Two years before the first generation’s release, Chevrolet used the Impala name for their 1956 General Motors Motorama show car. This car featured a design similar to the Corvette, and the company based the Impala name after a type of African antelope, which also serves as the vehicle’s logo. 

The first generation Chevrolet Impala came in Bel Air 2-door hardtops and convertibles and sported a 283 cu in Turbo Fire V8 engine with a 185 hp rating. 

The public was so blown away by this car that Chevrolet allocated 15% of its production on the model, building a total of 55,989 convertibles and 125,480 coupes. The car also enabled Chevrolet to become the top-producing American car manufacturer in 1958. 

With the car’s immediate success, Chevrolet continued manufacturing and debuting impressive generations, including the fourth generation, which includes the 1965 Impala and 1966 Impala. 

The 1965 Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet updated the 1965 Chevy Impala with notable differences from previous generations. They began shifting the car’s design to resemble that of a luxury car, such as a Cadillac. Chevrolet added a new, full-width Girder-Guard perimeter frame and a Coke-bottle shape. The design featured rounded sides, an angled windshield, hood contours, and curved-frames side glass. 

The car came with many different engine options, including a standard 230 cu in straight-six or its standard 283 cu in Turbo Fire V8. Other options included a 250 cu in straight-six and two 327 cu in V8s with either 250 hp or 300 hp. Additionally, motorists had the option of obtaining one of two 396 cu inch big-block V8s with either 325 hp or 425 hp. 

The car also offered a few transmission options, such as the base manual three-speed transmission with a column-mounted shifter or the new three-range Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The vehicle also boasted a redesigned full-coil suspension. 

Updates on the 1966 Chevrolet Impala

Although Chevrolet had already made important changes with its fourth-generation Impala, the company updated the vehicle further for the 1966 model year. 

On the car’s exterior, the manufacturer added a stylish new horizontal bar grille and chrome beltline door strips that aimed to prevent minor dents. The company also replaced the car’s iconic rear lamps in favor of new horizontal rear tail lamp lenses. This was a notable change because Chevrolet had been using the same rear lamp design since the original 1958 Impala. The 1966 also sported new wheel covers, fenders, and an updated trunk lid. Plus, the 1966 Impala had quarter panels that were an inch shorter than the 1965. 

The rest of the vehicle’s exterior is by and large the same, but one should be careful when restoring either the 1965 or 1966 — the two model’s body parts are not interchangeable. The cars’ two-door models do have interchangeable doors and hoods, but overall, it’s a bad idea to obtain 1965 Impala body parts to restore a 1966 model and vice versa. 

Engine Options on the 1966 Chevrolet Impala

The 1965 Chevy Impala certainly had many powertrain options, and Chevrolet continued this trend with the following model year. Its standard two-door hardtop came with a 250 cu in Turbo Thrift I6 that replaced the 1965 standard 230 cu in, and Chevrolet continued offering a standard 283 cu in Turbo Fire V8. The car also had other impressive engine options, such as its 327 cu in Turbo Jet V8, 396 cu in Turbo Jet V8, or two 427 cu in Turbo Jet V8s. 

The 427 cu in V8s were an especially popular choice amongst Impala drivers, and this impressive powertrain enabled the car to become the second-best-selling convertible in the United States that year with 38,000 units sold. 

One of the 427 V8 engines was rated at 390 hp and had a compression ratio of 10.5 to 1 along with hydraulic lifters, while the higher-performing version boasted 425 hp, an 11:1 compression ratio, and solid lifters. 

Get the Best Insurance for 1965 and 1966 Impalas

If you’re fortunate enough to obtain either of these breathtaking cars, you need the best Chevrolet Impala car insurance to protect your investment. 

For flexible and affordable plans you can count on, contact Classic Auto Insurance. We offer agreed-upon value coverage, inflation guard, rollover miles, nationwide flatbed towing with roadside assistance, and other exceptional benefits. 

Ready to learn more? Call our classic car insurance experts today at 888-901-1338, or you can get an instant quote online here

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