When the 1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible first came out, people thought it was over the top because of its unique styling. The theme of those times was influenced by aircraft design and outlandish fins, a sign of the times. Chevrolet really got it right in a very tasteful maturation of the late ’50’s automotive motif. Most classic car collectors revere the 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible as the most desirable of Chevrolet’s 1950’s creations. But the 1959 is so much more rare.
A private seller from Lompoc, California placed his ad for a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible this week. (Follow this link to read the ad and view photos.) Every time we get one of these rare ’59 Impala convertibles we take to opportunity to feature it in the newsletter. The seller says it is a clean and solid example, all stock and original with no rust. He notes that it has never been modified. The top works and is summer ready. It comes with a Continental kit and cool cruiser skirts. The seller calls it a “daily driver”, not a show car. It has never been restored.
While the Impala was the top offering in the Bel Air model for 1958 when it first appeared, by 1959 Chevrolet made it a series of its own. A 4-door hardtop and a 4-door sedan joined the Sport Coupe and convertible that year. The new Impala model replaced the Bel Air at the top of Chevrolet’s food chain, as the Biscayne became the entry-level model.
But the 1959 Impala had a completely different look in ’59. They called the style the “Slimline Design” with the iconic “Bat Wing” rear tail treatment. It highlighted the all new X-frame chassis. With a three-inch lower roofline and a two-inch wider body, the lines were so low in the front that you could always tell it was an Impala coming at you by how low the headlamps were to the ground. It was memorable for its day.
The rear valance had those “cat’s-eye” taillights. In fact, the rear view of the ’59 Impala is often termed the “gullwing” look. It was so stunning with its rear wings folding over the “cat’s-eyes” that to this day photographers will chose to shoot the rear of the car instead of the front.
The nose had high horizontal vents which were non-functional. In the process of redesign the Impala grew from its 1958 specs, an inch and a half in the wheelbase and an inch and three-quarters in overall length. Out back was the optional Continental Kit capturing the a look which was made popular in that era.
The 1959 Impala had a production run of around 473,000 units all together, and weighed 3,650 pounds. The selling price was $2,967 (at a time when the average household income was $5,000 a year and gas cost 25 cents a gallon. Chevrolet recorded 72,765 convertibles built that year.
The Impala was Chevrolet’s top seller for 1959. Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole called it a “prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen.”
This is an opportunity to own a totally original example of a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible. That, as you know. does not happen everyday.