The first Impala was introduced to the public in 1958. This generation of Impalas was long, lean, wide and curvy. The 1959 model was redesigned by Harley Earl, one of Chevrolet’s lead designers, right before his retirement. His goal was to start “all new all over again.”
The 1959 Chevrolet Impala followed the excess style of the era. It shot tailfins outward, proudly displaying elongated taillights. These features were nicknamed “bat wings” and “cat eyes.” Although it offered plenty of power, the car was more about style than performance. It was considered top-of-the-line for the Chevy brand.
Another special design feature of the 1959 Impala was the amount of glass on each car. It had narrow C-pillars, so windows were plentiful. The “bubbletops” accompanied the long sweeping exterior lines that gave the car its flamboyance. In fact, the bubbletops caused the interiors to become extremely hot in the summer sun. Many people referred to them as “cookers.” The design was kept until 1963 when the car became more square in shape.
1959 Chevy Impala – Interior
The interior of the 1959 Impala impressed. It contained luxuries like armrests, dual sliding sun visors, crank front ventipanes, and an electric clock. For added comfort, a Flexmatic six-way adjustable power seat was optional. The gauges on the instrument panel were set deep to prevent glare. Under the hood, the base V8 engine produced 185 horsepower. It was possible to upgrade to a 238 cubic-inch engine, which boosted horsepower to 290. The big-block 348 cubic-inch engine provided even more at 315 horsepower. The top speed was recorded at 130 miles per hour.
The Impala legacy runs deep for Chevy. For more than a decade after its introduction, it broke sales records topping 13 million units. It helped Chevy carve a niche in a luxury segment and will always hold a place in history for its unique style.
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