Featured is the popular 1966 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop. The Impala was one of Chevy’s most popular models and was a sales leader during it’s first decade of production. Prior to becoming it’s own model, the Impala began as a high-end Bel Air. The Bel Air Impala was only seen in Sport Coupe or convertible models.

1966 chevy impala specs
1966 Chevy Impala

The Chevy Impala was honored as America’s best selling automobile for the 1965 model year. The year 1965 was also a record year for the Chevrolet Division. It was in June of 1965 that the 56 millionth Chevrolet was produced.The model was just what GM needed to help it compete against Ford.

The Impala was first seen as a concept sports coupe at GM’s 1956 Motorama.  When the Chevy Impala came out in 1958 it was distinguished from other vehicles with it’s triple horizontal tail lights.The 58 Impala was designed by a team led by legendary auto designer Harley Earl. After Earl’s retirement in 1958, Bill Mitchell was in charge of design teams for all GM models. In general, Mitchell departed from the designs put forth by Earl such as the 1950’s tail fins and lots of chrome to a more streamlined and cleaner look.This describes the look you see in the Chevy Impalas of the 1960’s.

The second year Chevrolet Impala, the 1959 model, received a completely new style change from the previous year’s model. The 59 Impala was also the start of the model’s second generation. The most noticeable change were the flat tail fins that had a wing like appearance. The 1959 Chevrolet did well but not quite as well as a few other Chevy models that year.

66 chevy impala photos1966 Chevy Styling

Regarding the styling for Chevy Impala’s fourth generation (1965-1970), the cars were sleeker and appeared even more modern with sharper angles.

There were very few styling changes for 1966 as compared to the 65 Impala. What changes that were made included a revised grille and different tail lights. The triple round tail lights were changed to triple rectangular. Also added was a side chrome strip that was to help reduce door dents mostly occurring in parking lots.

1966 Chevy Impala Specifications

Standard engine for the 1966 Chevy Impala was the 250 cubic inch Turbo-Thrift Inline Six. There was also a 283 cubic inch V-8, a 327 cubic inch Turbo-Fire V-8, a 396 cubic inch Turbo-Jet V-8 and a 427 cubic inch Turbo-Jet V-8.

With the availability of the engines named above, there was plenty of reason why the 1966 Chevy Impala entered the muscle car arena. The 250 Turbo-Thrift Six delivered 155 HP. The V-8’s were an entirely different story. The horsepower range for the V-8’s from the 283’s all the way up to the 427’s varied widely due to engine configuration. Horsepower for these ranged from 195 to 425. The 427 Big Block Turbo-Jet V-8 mated to either a three speed or four speed manual and with a Rochester four barrel carburetor delivered the 425 HP.

For the 1966 Impala, transmissions available were three and four speed manuals along with a two speed automatic.

Brakes on the 66 Impala were four wheel hydraulic drums with power brakes as an option. Also an option was power steering as well as a rear window defroster and a power antenna.

Dimensions for the 1966 Chevy Impala Hardtop included a wheelbase of 119.0 inches, overall length 213.2 inches, width 79.6 inches.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1961 Chevy Impala Hardtop

1963 Chevy Impala SS Convertible

Reference material used for this article includes…The Story of Chevy Impalas by author David K. Wright…The Complete History of the Chevrolet Impala by Tony Markovich. Collector Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

1966 Chevy Impala Collector Popularity

1966 chevrolet impala specificationsThe fourth generation Chevrolet Impalas have had quite a bit of collector interest. Production of the 65 Impala (first year of the 4th generation) reached one million vehicles.

One thing that stands out with the Chevy Impalas of the 1960’s was it’s choice of engines. Here you had a full size comfortable family car with engine options that could deliver up to 425 HP. If that wasn’t suitable for a particular buyer there were engines all the way down to a six cylinder which put out 155 HP.

1966 impala hardtopFourth generation styling used sharp angles which gave this generation of Impalas an even more modern look.

Current valuations for a 1966 Chevy Impala Hardtop are in a range from about $18,000 to $35,000. Originality, mileage, engine, and general condition are determining factors. Much higher valuations can be seen with SS models and convertibles.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)