“If elegance is understatement, you’re looking at the understatement of the year.” 1969 Impala sales ad
- The SS package was only available on Impalas equipped with the 427 V8 engine this year.
- The Impala was restyled with a bolder look and the car was slightly larger than previous models.
- The Impala was the only full-size Chevy car available in a convertible.
The 1969 Impala continued a long-standing trend of continually making the body style more and more squared off – and the new version did have a distinctive and bolder look that complimented the car nicely. Buyers must have thought so, too, because sales were once again on the rise.
But the sales of the Super Sport package were once again in decline. The sporty and luxurious option package had proved so popular throughout the early 1960s that Chevy had made the Impala SS its own model. But after a sales high in 1965, sales of the model had been falling drastically every year. In 1968, the SS designation was returned to an option package for the Impala rather than its own model, and sales continued to fall following the move. It makes sense, then, that Chevy opted to only allow the package to be sold with the most powerful engine it had available – to be the true sports version of the Impala.
That engine was the 427 CID V8 that produced 390 horsepower, so Impalas with the SS package were known as the Impala SS 427. Unfortunately, the model had its worst year ever – only 2,455 were built – and the option package would be discontinued after the model year.
For all of the other Impalas, the engine lineup was also slightly changed from the year before. The base engine was still 250 CID six-cylinder engine that produced 155 horsepower, but the base V8 had been upgraded to a 327 CID V8 that produced 235 horsepower. This was a result of the elimination of two 283 CID V8s that had been in the lineup for years. There were also two versions of a 350 CID engine that produced 255 and 300 horsepower. Finally, a 396 CID V8 that was rated at 325.
1969 Chevrolet Impala
The new look of the car was achieved by a new grille/front bumper combination that gave the quad headlight setup the look of being recessed into the front of the car, and there also was new rear bumper that incorporated new rectangular taillights. Part of the bolder look was the bulging wheel wells around every wheel. Despite the slightly longer car, the wheelbase remained the same 119-inches that had been used for a few years.
Total production for the Impala in 1969 was around 777,000, which represented an increase of about 66,100 from the year before. The base price of the car for the year was $2,911.
While the Impala was still obviously selling extremely well, the SS package had competition from multiple angles that likely led to its down fall. The first was from within the Chevy full-size ranks themselves.
The Caprice model was selling more and more every year, and represented the most luxurious, top-of-the-line model of the full-size cars. It had replaced the Impala SS in this role in 1966, and the SS had never really recovered.
Additionally, many car buyers looking for sporty cars like the SS were turning towards muscle cars like the Chevelle or GTO or even pony cars like the Camaro and Mustang. The smaller cars were becoming much more fashionable for those who wanted a sporty look for their performance car – and many offered the same or better performance than the Impala SS.
With all that said, the Impala SS, whether as its own model or a package option for the Impala sold very well throughout its lifespan. In all, around 918,000 were built during the nine years it was available.
|L72||427ci||1x4bbl||425 hp @ 5600 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm|
|LS1||427ci||1x4bbl||400 hp @ 5400 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|L36||427ci||1x4bbl||390 hp @ 5400 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|