Hello, a little clarification please - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Hello, a little clarification please

I am new to the Impala world as I am searching for a 65.

I'd like to understand the difference in the different models:
Bel Air

I know the Bel Airs go back to the 50's and a Deluxe is somehow tied in with it. I've done some extensive searching but still clueless. I am trying to understand if each of these are seperate models or is an Impala a top of the line Bel Air for example. How do all of these tie in with each other? TIA!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 09:32 PM
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Location: West Jefferson, Ohio
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It was different levels of trim and standard equipment. Biscayne was bottom of the totem pole, with Bel Air above it... both were sedan (had window frames) models.

Impala was next up and available in more body styles. I addition to 4 door sedans were 4 door hardtops, 2 door hardtops, and also convertibles. Easy to identify with three tail lamps on each side, rather than two.

Then the Caprice came late in the model year, as a high option 4 door hardtop only. Starting for the '66 model year, a 2 door hardtop was also available (with it's own roof line).

'69 Impala 4-door hardtop
'70 Impala Custom coupe
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 09:56 PM
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I'll try to explain.
All 4 are the same basic body with different appearance and price ranges.
Biscayne is the lowest priced.I think it started in 58
Then BelAir.Started in 1953?There were originally 3 BelAir models.the 1500,2100 and 2400(better known as the 150,210 and BelAir)
Then Impala.First year was 1958.
The Caprice was added to the line in 65 as a luxury option on the Impala.
In 1958,Biscayne and Belair became the economy models with Impala coming in as the "Sport" model and top of the line.
All could be had with any engine/transmission offered.With some exceptions.
Each model came with a specific trim and upholstery.
Some models like the Biscayne and BelAir could be had in a 2 door sedan,4 door sedan,wagon etc.
But,the S.S.was Impala only.So was the 2 door hardtop.
Impala and the Caprice were the only 4 door hardtops.
Then,there were the odd option packages you could get if you had the money!
I/6 S.S. Impala's.Bicaynes with 396/4-speeds.Caprices(like mine)with factory installed level air.
65 was a banner sales year for Chevrolet!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Like he said: All of the B-bodies were the same car (same sheet metal and power train). Only the interior trim differed between the Chevrolet models. It was actually cheaper in 1966 to buy a Buick than a Caprice with the Buick having more of the extra cost optional up scale features as standard equipment on a Buick that you had to pay extra for them on the Caprice. Of course back, before 1973, there was actually a difference under the hood as well; as a Buick came with a bright red Buick motor and a Caprice came with a Chevy orange Chevy motor under the hood.

Before 1973 every division used the same body (sheet metal), as was agreed upon in a GM board meeting back in 1957, but each division made their own different chromed trim pieces (lights, bumper or grill) to hang on the outside of the car, and a different motor under the hood to differentiate the cars. The only exception to this rule was the Cadillac Brougham which was an Impala that GM added ten extra ten inches to the body length in the back seat foot well, and of course the Cadillac Limousine which was an Impala body custom fitted to a pick-up truck frame with extra doors to seat a very large family, or to allow two rich people to play hand ball in the back as they where chauffeured around.

It was all about the interior trim. Ford/Mercury/Lincoln play the same game, only they never had their own motors even in the old days. I never could figure out the appeal of paying extra for a name, when you can buy the generic version for half the price and have the same car. People sort of wised up to this after 1973 when all GM cars used a Chevy if it had a V-8, or a Buick if had a V-6. Which is why Oldsmobile, Saturn and now Pontiac have gone out of production.

Big Dave
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