The rich history of American cars has gifted generations with long-lasting, classic works of art recognizable to both enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. The imprint of certain vehicles on American culture is hard to ignore. The Chevrolet Impala is one of those cars. The Impala first made its debut as the Bel Air Impala in 1958. It premiered as the top-tier model in the full-sized Chevrolet line-up, and it held tight to that spot until 1966, when the Chevy Caprice was released.
From 1958 to its final year of production in 2020, the Impala remained a memorable and luxurious car with enough room for the whole family. However, one model year reigns supreme over all the rest in regard to being the most treasured and sought-after Impala — 1964. So why is it that the 1964 Chevy Impala is such a beloved collectors' car? The model's magnetic charm stretches into multiple categories of collectors and boasts many reasons to fall in love with its sleek and luxurious features.
The 1964 Chevrolet Impala has a decades-long stronghold on pop culture that has millions of music fans across generations rapping about 20-inch blades on the Impala. More specifically than just pop culture, '90s rap featured the '64 Impala in enough songs for it to become a piece of nostalgia for fans and musicians. Dr. Dre notably featured the '64 Impala in at least three songs and music videos that all featured Snoop Dogg, "Still D.R.E.," "Let Me Ride," and "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang."
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg weren't the only rappers popular in that decade to express their love of the '64 Impala. Ice Cube featured an Impala in the music video for his song "It Was a Good Day," in which he rapped the lyrics, "I gotta go 'cause I got me a drop-top / And if I hit the switch, I can make the a** drop." The lyrics to Ice Cube's song bring up another reason the '64 Impala is such a great collectors' piece.
For those passionate about cars, putting personality into your ride is a must. The 1964 Chevrolet Impala makes that part easy. The vehicle's large trunk is ideal for many things – groceries, luggage, or in many instances, hydraulic systems. These hydraulic systems allow the car to become its own show for onlookers as it rises upward and lowers back down. Adding a hydraulic system to a vehicle isn't a small or simple task, so having a car that makes the job easier is ideal for those looking to add their own flare.
The sleek, luxurious look of the Impala and its ample trunk space just waiting to be utilized for impressive sound systems or hydraulics make it a clean slate for the creativity of the owner. Many restored or well-kept '64 Impalas can be seen donning vibrant paint jobs with interiors to match. This opportunity to make the car unique to the owner makes the '64 a year that many enthusiasts want to add to their collection, whether they're looking to go into extreme customization or just want a spruced-up classic to call their own.
Lowrider cars embody a culture dedicated to the aesthetic and smooth cruising of their ride, particularly in Los Angeles. This trend became popular around the 1940s and 1950s with car owners finding various ways to lower their vehicles, including loading up the trunk with enough weight to drop the vehicle down. However, other ways of achieving lowrider status were needed when in 1958, a California law was passed that made it illegal for a car to be lower than its rims. The solution to this dilemma was hydraulic systems. Once installed, hydraulics allowed the driver to lower their car for a cruise and raise it up again when necessary.
The '64 Impala is a popular choice among lowrider culture as it has an x-frame chassis and long, flat paneling. These features make it ideal for modifying and adding hydraulic systems. Powerful engines are also a coveted feature among lowriders, and the Super Sport model of the Impala allows for a 409 V8 engine, which makes it just about the perfect vehicle to enhance.
One reason the '64 Impala has remained a functional classic for decades is that when Chevrolet introduced it, the company kept every type of car owner in mind. Instead of releasing one or two versions of the model, the car company came out with a whopping six varieties of body styles for buyers to choose from. The different styles include a convertible, a sedan, a hardtop sport sedan, a hardtop sport coupe, along with two station wagons. These were all available styles of the base-model Impala, so everyone in the market for a new vehicle could find precisely what they were looking for.