1965 Chevrolet Impala SS / First Year Photos and Specs

Featured in this article is Chevrolet’s full sized 1965 Impala SS. The Chevy Impala was and is a popular automobile. The Chevy Impalas are some of the more classic Chevys of the 1960′s. The 65 Impala SS was the top of the line for this model and the model with the most sporty look.

1965 chevy impala super sport

1965 Chevy Impala Super Sport

The Chevrolet Impala

The Chevy Impala was first introduced in 1958. It was the top of the line Chevrolet. That 58 model year car remains a very popular collector car. The 1958 Impala was a completely new car for Chevrolet from the ground up. The main designer for the 58 Impala was Clare MacKichan, chief designer for Chevrolet. Interestingly enough, the 58 Chevrolet Impala had a design that lasted only for the 1958 model year. The cars were also noted for their dual headlights and triple tail lights. The 59′s would have a completely different design. The 1958 Impala was available in two styles. These were the Impala Sport Coupe and the Impala Convertible.

The 1958 Impala, being the first year for this new Chevy model, was promoted very heavily by GM. Some of the tag lines used by Chevy for the ALL new Impala included…”Your Pride Will Perk Up Whenever You Are Seen In Your ’58 Chevrolet.” Also, “You’ll Get That Chevy Felling – Fast.” Advertising also included the words…”One look at the low wind whisked lines and you know you’re bound to be noticed. You’ll find still more to be proud of in the quick sure way Chevy responds to your touch.”

chevy impala ss photosThe 1965 Chevy Impala

The 1965 Chevrolet Impala received an entirely new design. The car was both elegant and sporty. All new sheet metal construction was combines with curved glass, a sharper angles windshield and a new tempered glass rear window to give this car it’s new look.

The design proved to be a winner as the sale numbers illustrate. Chevrolet had a terrific year for it’s 1965 models selling over 2.4 million vehicles. That set a record to date. The Chevy Impala itself set a record in 1965 with one million units sold.

The year 1965 was also a record year for Chevrolet. It was in June of 1965 that the 56 millionth Chevrolet was produced.

The Chevrolet Impala SS

The Super Sport Impala was a high performance version of the Impala with custom trim such as bucket seats, exterior trim like the SS emblem, a V8 engine and custom side trim. The SS badge was to become Chevrolet’s signature of performance on many models although over the years the SS designation wasn’t necessarily Chevrolet’s top performance vehicle. The SS Impala ran from 1965 through 1967 and then vanished for the 68 and 69 model years. An Impala Caprice was offered for 1965 before the Caprice became it’s own model in 1966. In 65 the Impala Caprice was only offered as a four door hardtop.

1965 Chevrolet Impala SS Specifications

If you were in the market for a 1965 Chevy Impala you had no less than ten engine choices. The most talked about engine at the time was the powerful “409“. The SS had two 409 Cubic Inch engines that put out 340 and 400 HP respectively. The 409′s were replaced in 1965 with the 396 big blocks.

chevy impala ss 409In 1965 these 409′s were rare in as much as only a few hundred were produced in the SS models. These were named Turbo-Fire 409′s. Claimed 0-60 MPH time for the 409 was 6.3 seconds.

Transmissions available for the 65 Impala was a Powerglide automatic and a three and four speed Synchromesh manaual.

Dimensions for the 65 Chevy Impala SS included a wheelbase of 119.0 inches and an overall length of 213.2 inches. Average weight was 3,570 lbs.

New car price in 1965 was about $3,100 for the base engine.

You may also enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop

1972 Jaguar E-Type V-12 Photos and Specsample decoded

Samples of Decoded Classic Car Serial Numbers / VIN’s

Excellent reference sources for the Chevy Impala Super Sport includes…Chevy SS : 50 Years of Super Sport by author Robert Genat. Also, The Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

65 chevy impala ss dashboard

65 Impala SS dashboard

1965 Chevrolet Impala Collector Cars

While the SS Impala model first appeared in 1965, there is still a bit more collector interest in the pre 1965 Impala’s. The first year 1958 Impala being a good example.

The 1965 Chevy Impala did provide high performance for the mid 1960′s. The 1966 Impala 427 might be the most popular during the 1965-1969 production run. As mentioned above, the SS Impala ran from 1965 through 1967 and then was discontinued for the 68 and 69 model years.

As valuation goes, the convertible Impala SS models will top the list.

As of this writing, current price guides value the 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible on the high side at about $35,000. The 2 door hardtop at about $30,000. These are show quality valuations. Those models in need of restoration might be found in the $6,000-$9,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner / Photos, History and Specifications

The automobile featured in this article is a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner with a retractable hardtop. Ford produced the retractable hardtops on these models for the 1957 through 1959 model years. It was also the first retractable hardtop that was mass produced.

ford fairlane 500 skyliner specs

1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

The Retractable Hardtop / The U.S. and Europe

The retractable hardtop had really been around long before the 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner. Back in the year 1922 in the U.S., a man named Ben B. Ellerbeck first came up with the retractable hardtop system. This allowed an automobile to quickly change from a coupe to a convertible. This system moved the car’s, a Hudson, roof into the trunk manually. The process was not difficult and could be done by one person. This retractable hardtop process was only a one-off and never came into production.

About ten years later the retractable process appeared in Europe. The electric operated retractable hardtop was first introduced in France by Georges Paulin.. A concept car using this system was designed but never made it to fruition. Later, the Paulin system did make it to production as the Peugot Eclipse.and was introduced in 1935. This European model lasted until World War Two.

Back in the U.S. Chrysler came out with a retractable show car in 1940 but it never went into production. When Ford Motor Company came out with their retractable hardtop in 1957 the concept seemed to be all new to the public when in fact it was not. The Ford Fairlane and Galaxie model retractables however were the first massed produced in the U.S.

1959 ford fairlane 500 skyliner photosFord promoted the models heavily and even used Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball as spokespersons. The automobile hit the market as a sensation. Some called it a “dream car” for the masses. The car was completely unique in the marketplace at the time.

Ford’s Retractable Hardtops

The idea for a retractable hardtop appeared in Ford’s Advanced Design Studios during the early 1950′s. The idea caught on and the higher executives approved funds to continue with the concept. A clay model was produced in 1954. Ford’s Skyliner retractable hardtops operated with several servo motors, relays, screw jacks, assorted cables, springs, and pivoting arms. Obviously many moving parts working in sequence. There was over 600 feet of wire required for the device.

The 1957 Ford retractable car required much more than just the retractable device itself. The car also had to be modified with its own special rear fenders, deck lid, tail panel, trunk floor, internal structural members, and a new gas tank. The convertible car also had to ride on heavy duty wheels and rims due to the 500 lbs added with the retractable roof and operating device.

The conventional 1959 Ford Fairlane Convertible model was named the “Sunliner“.

1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Specifications

The 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner was built with a 352 cubic inch V-8 engine putting out 300 HP. Also available was a 292 and 332 cubic inch V-8. These 1959 V-8′s were somewhat detuned for better gas mileage considering the recession that swept the country in 1958.

Transmission was a  three speed automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum . Front suspension were independent coil springs with an anti-roll bar. Rear suspension consisted of semi-elliptic leaf springs.

Dimensions for the 1959 Ford Fairlane included a wheelbase of 118.0 inches, an overall  length of 208.0 inches, and a width of 76.6 inches. Weight came in at about 3,450 lbs.

New car price for the 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner was around $2,600 depending on options.

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The 1955 Olds Rocket 88

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Sample Decodings of Classic Car Serial Numbers

ford retractable hardtop

Large back deck on the 59 Ford Skyliner

The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliners are Popular Collector Cars

The uniqueness of the retractable hardtop and the good looking lines on the 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner helped make it a very popular car among collectors. The Ford  retractables were in production for only three model years making them somewhat rare. The Ford Fairlane was first introduced in 1955. The Fairlane model was named after Henry Ford’s mansion of the same name in Dearborn, Michigan.

As mentioned above, the Ford retractables were introduced with much fanfare in 1957 because of their technology that the cars as a whole are milestone automobiles. The cars were so impressive it was said that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered an early model of the Skyliner.

59 ford skyliner

59 Ford Fairlane Skyliner dashboard

Valuations for the Ford Skyliners in general have been strong. On the high end a show quality model may have an asking price in the mid $30,000 range to the $40,000 range. Lesser but excellent models may be priced in the high $20,000 range down to the $20,000 range. If you find a non-restored model with a non-working electric hardtop device, the price can go much lower that $15,000 all depending on mechanical and cosmetic condition.

Reference material includes…Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, 1957-1959 by Jerry H. Magayne. Also, The Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumers Guide.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)


1972 Jaguar E-Type (XKE) V-12 / Photos and Specifications

The 1972 Jaguar E Type Series III, manufactured by Jaguar Cars Ltd reminds one of the continuation of the sexy sports cars of the 1960′s. One difference however is that the cars were hindered by the new emission standards and added safety equipment , including safety bumpers. The new powerful engine did quite a lot to make up for these mandated changes.

jaguar xke v-12

1972 jaguar XKE V-12

The Jaguar E-Types

The first E-Type Jaguar (XKE) came out for the 1961 model year. These new models replaced the XK-150′s although they did share many of the styling and technical characteristics. Jaguar promoted the new E-Type car as the “Ultimate Cat” and stressed it’s reduced engine noise and smoothness of the ride.

The Series I models were produced from 1961-1968. The second Series E-Types were built from 1968 – 1971. The Series III models were produced from 1971-75. All of these series Jaguars were very good looking sports cars with excellent performance. some might call them stunning. Over the span from 1961 to 1975 total Jaguar E-Type production was about 70,000 vehicles.

1972 jaguar xkeSeries III XKE’s

The 1972 Jaguar E-Type (XKE)  featured in this article was built with a V-12 engine that used plenty of gas but delivered great power. To accommodate the larger engine the wheelbase was expanded. The Jaguar V-12 engine first came out in 1971. The Series III was a much-revised model, larger hood bulge, longer wheelbase and wider tires, that was introduced in June 1971 with production running through  August 1973 for the Coupe model and to June 1974 for the Roadster.

Jaguar’s V-12 Engine

The 1972 Jaguar 5.3 liter V-12 engine delivered 244 horsepower. This replaced the Inline Sixes.  The 0-60 MPH rating was 7.5 seconds. Looking back, it was a very popular engine during the 60′s and 70′s.

Several modifications had to be made for the car to accommodate the new V-12 engine. This included widening of the engine subframes along with a wider track. Also needed was a larger fuel tank and more powerful disc brakes. The engine itself weighed 680 lbs.

1972 Jaguar Type-E V-12 Specifications

As mentioned above, the automobile was built with a 5.3 liter V-12 engine. The engine had Quad 1.75-inch Stromberg carburetors.

Transmission was a four speed manual. It’s noted that beginning in 1966, the 2+2 coupe models offered an automatic transmission.

Suspension was four wheel independent.

Brakes were four wheel servo assisted disc.

Dimensions for the 1972 Jaguar V-12 include a 104.7 inch wheelbase, an overall outside length of 184.4 inches, a width of 67.0 inches and a weight of 3,380 lbs.

The Jaguar XKE body was partially unitized…each panel functions both for appearance and support. E-Type construction utilized a multi-tube front end bolted to a steel bodyshell.

jaguar xke dashboard

72 Jaguar XKE dashboard

See the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

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Performance Parts & Accessories

Jaguar E-Type III Collector Cars

The first thing to recognize is that the right hand drives Jaguar E-Types are much rarer than the left hand drives. The reason was simply that about 85% of the cars were exported. There is no question that these E-Type Jaguars have great lines and are head turners. These sports cars are obviously popular with collectors and most models come with a strong price tag.

jaguar e type v-12The Jaguar XKE Series III sports cars are known for their great styling and an all business cockpit plus excellent acceleration. Downsides might include a reputation of mechanical unreliability, expensive to repair plus gas guzzling. If one can afford some of the prices asked for these fine sports cars and drives it sparingly, fuel efficiency really shouldn’t be a factor.

As of this writing we see a 1972 Jaguar XKE Convertible Roadster V12 automatic, Series 3 with 58,000 miles and stated excellent condition with an asking price of $59,000. Also, a restored 1973 Jaguar XKE two door Roadster Convertible with a four speed manual transmission, 56,000 miles, with an asking price of $80,000. Another is a 1974 XKE Convertible V-12 with a four speed manual transmission and an asking price of $88,000.

Excellent reference material for the Jaguar E-Type sports cars includes…Jaguar E-Type: The Definitive History 2nd Revised edition Edition by author Philip Porter. Also, Jaguar E-Type: The Complete Story by author Jonathan Wood and Jaguar E-Type: The Essential Buyer’s Guide by Peter Crespin.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

See the 1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville / Specs, Photos and History

Take a good look at the fins on this 1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville and you just know this car had to be from the fifties.The next year, 1959, the tail fins on the Cadillac would be even more pronounced. You could call the 1950′s the decade of the car fins, especially the latter half. Our featured 58 Coupe De Ville comes with a fine two toned color scheme.

1958 cadillac coupe de ville specifications

1958 cadillac Coupe De Ville

Cadillac really established their name for luxury automobiles during the 1930′s. In fact, Cadillac was the first manufacturer to mass produce the V-16. The first Cadillac V-16 was a combination of two Buick V-8′s.

By the 1950′s they pretty much were the leader in the luxury car category. Much of this had to do with changes beginning after 1940  when Cadillac dropped the LaSalle. From that point on they concentrated on prestige cars. Another was the tail fins in 1948. All of this paid dividends for Cadillac after they entered the 1950′s.

During the 1950′s owning a Cadillac car was an expression of the prosperity that the nation experienced after the end of World War Two. During the 1950′s owning a Cadillac implied instant status. Cadillac had a luxury name recognition not even enjoyed by Imperial and Lincoln.

The Cadillac Coupe De Ville

The very first Cadillac Coupe De Ville (sometimes spelled de Ville or Deville) entered the scene late in the 1949 model year at the Autorama. This was a luxury vehicle with leather seats and chrome bows in the headliner that gave the interior roof the look of a convertible. Sales were considered good for 1949 and doubled each of the following two years.

Changes to the 1958 Cadillacs

1950's cadillacs

Front end face lift for 1958

The 1958 Cadillacs received a facelift from the previous model year. One such change was plenty more chrome. Another change was a grille with a wider insert and new bumper guards. This was also the year of the quad head lamps.

All of the De Ville models were available with cruise control (also offered on Chryslers and Imperials that year), a high-pressure cooling system, a radio with two speakers, and an automatic parking brake release.

The 1958 Coupe De Ville came from the 62 sub-series. Cadillac’s Series 62 automobiles were produced from 1940 through 1964. In 1958 Cadillac offered nine different body styles on their Series 62 automobiles.

1958 Was Not A Good Year

Cadillac felt the results of the 1958 recession. Sales were weak. Total model production was about 121,000 vehicles that was the lowest since 1954. To give you some perspective, Cadillac produced a total of 140,000 vehicles for the 1955 model year. Out of that total 1958 number, Coupe De Villes represented 18,400 units. Sedan De Villes were more with 24,000 built.

1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Specifications

The 1958 Coupe De Ville was produced with a 365 cubic inch V-8 that produced 188 HP. The engine had a single four barrel carburetor.

1950's cadillac tail finsTransmission was a Hydra-Matic automatic.

Dimensions for this automobile included a wheelbase of 129.5 inches, an overall outside length of 221.8 inches, a width of 79.5 inches, and a weight of 4,700 lbs.

The 1958 Coupe De Ville had a new car price of about $5,200.

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A Great Looking Red 1955 Cadillac Coupe

The 1931 Cadillac V-16

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1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner / Retractable Hardtop

1950′s Cadillac Collector Cars

There is no question that many of the Cadillac models produced during the 1950′s were beauties. Detractors at the time may have thought the cars were too big, too much metal and chrome, etc. Looking back now, perhaps some of this was true, however it was also true with other nameplates. The fact remains that Cadillac produced some great classics during the decade.

1958 cadillac interiors

58 Cadillac dashboard

Just to name a few of the great Cadillac classics, consider the 1931 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton, the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado and the 1955 Cadillac Coupe. An excellent website for classic Cadillac owners and/or enthusiasts is www.classic-cadillac.com.

1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville’s in excellent restored condition have strong valuations. You might find these in the range of $30,000 to $60,000. Some higher. Non-restored  models can be at just about any price depending on condition, even well under $10,000. On the higher end of the 1958 Cadillac line would be the Eldorado Brougham where we’ve seen an asking price approaching $150,000.

Some excellent research material regarding Cadillac automobile’s during the 1950′s include…Cadillac : An Illustrated Guide to 1950 Thru 1959 Motor Cars by Roy A. Schneider. Another is Cars of the 1950′s by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. Yet another is Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe / Photos Specs

The 1971-1973 Mercury Cougars were the last of the Cougar Pony Cars. The car featured in this article is a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7. The XR-7 was the upscale model with leather seating and a wood grained dashboard.

mercury cougar xr-7

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7

First and Second Generations Mercury Cougar

The first generation Mercury Cougars were produced from 1967 through 1970. These first generation Cougars can be said to be Mercury’s version of the Mustang. The 71-73 Cougars were somewhat more of a luxury car than a Pony Car during these model years. These were the second generation Cougars and had received a restyling.The Mercury Cougar actually started to have some resemblance to the Thunderbird and the Continental Mark IV. In fact, some will say that the second generation Cougars are not “real Cougars”. They prefer instead the first generation cars.

The 1971-73 models were heavier cars . Design changes for this generation Mercury Cougars included a much more prominent center grille and exposed headlamps.The more luxurious XR-7 models were the top of the line. Compared to the 1972 Cougar, the 73 model styling was largely unchanged with the exception of the grille and the tail lights.

cougar xr-7 specifications

The 1973 Mercury Cougar was also the last year for it’s Mustang chassis. Although it used the Mustang chassis through 1973, the wheelbase was three inches longer. The 1973 model was the last year of the Cougar ’personal car’ concept that was first introduced in 1967.The 1974 model year saw significant changes for the Cougar models. That model was essentially a large luxury car.

Sales Pick Up in 1973

Sales had been sliding for a while and it wasn’t until the 1973 model year that sales finally turned up. As an example, total production in 1971 for the Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe was 25,416 vehicles. The 1971 production for the XR-7 Convertible was 1,717 vehicles. Two model years later in 1973, the production for the XR-7 Hardtop Coupe was 35,100 units. For the 1971 Xr-7 Convertibles it was 3,165 units. The ragtops, first introduced in 1969, obviously are the much more rare Cougar XR-7′s. It’s interesting to know that the 1973 Cougar Convertible was the last Mercury ragtop of that decade.

Mercury Promotes the 1973 Cougar

Mercury advertised the 1973 Cougar as a smooth riding car, as smooth as the high priced luxury automobiles. The reason per Mercury was simply “ we build them better“. The Mercury Cougar also had good success on the competitive racing circuit during the late 60′s and early 70′s. This was promoted by Mercury as well however during the early 1970′s, new emission and safety standards imposed by the government along with the gas shortage crisis pretty much put an end to the real muscle car era that began in the mid 60′s. What Mercury really did with it’s Cougar model was to offer excellent performance along with a comfortable ride.

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Specifications

The 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was built with a 351 cubic inch eight cylinder engine delivering 168 HP with a two barrel carburetor. This model also was available with a four barrel carburetor putting out 264 HP.Transmissions included a three and four speed manual and a Select-Shift automatic.

mercury xr-7

Another engine available in limited numbers in 1973 was the Big Block 429 CJ V-8. This engine was rated at 375 HP. There was a police version for this engine as well.

Transmissions included a three and four speed manual and a Select-Shift automatic.

Overall outside car length was 199.5 inches on a wheelbase of 112.1 inches. Overall width was 75.0 inches. By today’s standards the second generation Cougars were large cars. Weight for the 73 Cougar was 3,500 lbs.

See these additional Auto Museum Online car articles on the links below…

One Sharp Looking 1969 Pontiac GTO

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Where to Find Serial Numbers on Classic and Vintage Cars

A 50′s Classic / 1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville


mercury cougar muscle carThe new car price for a 1973 Mercury Cougar ranged from $3,400 to $3,900. The XR-7′s being on the higher end.

Mercury Cougar XR-7 Collector Cars

For the 1971-73 era , the 429 CJ cars are the ones in greater demand by collectors.

As of this writing we see second generation Mercury Cougar Hardtop Coupes with asking prices between $10,000 and $18,000. The price is dictated by condition and mileage plus any restoration performed.

The Cougar convertibles also have a wide range of asking prices. You should find some in the high teens area and for XR-7′s in great condition in the mid twenties to the mid thirties.

(Articles and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)