At $12,500, Would You Leap at the Chance to Buy

Nice Price or No Dice 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Impala SS notes that it is the only model year to offer a floor shifter. Let’s see if we’re floored by the price.

Is there a term for an “anti-mamma bear”? You know, something that, instead of falling within a well-defined optimal range sits squarely between them? If so, that might describe yesterday’s 2010 BMW 535i X-Drive wagon. Nice as it seemed in both condition and kit, it was too old to be under a warranty and, at $35,000, not old enough to have fully suffered depreciation’s slings and arrows. The vast majority of you recognized the gravity of the Bimmer’s present station and called into question that price tag in response. Ultimately, that opinion manifested in a massive 93 percent No Dice loss.

Now, in its favor, yesterday’s BMW was a car to be taken seriously. After all, it did sport a utilitarian wagon body equipped with confidence-inspiring AWD with a drivetrain equally up to the task. And, needless to say, it was German. See? Serious business.

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Today’s 1996 Chevy Impala SS, on the other hand, seems more about frivolity and making everyone who sees it smile. How else could you explain its matte purple paint scheme and clown car-sized aftermarket wheels?

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I should point out at the outset that those 22-inch wheels aren’t mandatory. They are joined in the Impala’s sale by black-painted factory alloys, and those might prove to be more universally appealing. To the credit of the donks, however, they might allow you to change out the brake pads without even having to remove the wheels. So there’s that.

Image for article titled At $12,500, Would You Leap at the Chance to Buy This 1996 Chevy Impala SS

Some other specs to take note of on this Impala include the mileage — 141,000 miles — and the fact that it comes with a clean title. The seller also notes that it is a real SS, having had the WX3 option box checked before leaving the Arlington, Texas factory.

So, this being a real-deal SS means the engine is a 260-horsepower LT1 V8. Some claim this to be the “Corvette engine,” but there are enough physical differences between the version that went in the ’Vette and this motor to make that just a specious bar brag.

Transmission duties are handled by the standard (and somewhat inadequate) 4L60-E four-speed automatic. A floor shifter works that, something the ad correctly notes as being unique to the 1996 model year.

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According to the ad, the car “runs and drives fantastic,” and comes with a new battery, alternator, and a fresh splash of motor oil in the pan. Full service records are apparently available for that work and more.

Aesthetically, the SS seems solid. The matte finish appears to be a wrap, but a peek at the doorjambs indicates the paint beneath to be the factory Burgundy Metallic. There’s no explanation as to its condition under the similarly-hued wrap. The only obvious issue here is a bit of trim missing from the front passenger door.

In this model year, you could have the SS’s interior in any color and upholstery you wanted just as long as it was gray leather. The seating surfaces and all the plastics in this one look to be in very good shape. The factory stereo still resides in the center stack and, this being not too terribly old a car, there are airbags for both driver and front-seat passenger. The back seat is roomy enough for three across or just two if they’re feeling particularly frisky.

The seller calls this SS a “true American classic legend!” and while it’s hard to argue with that supposition, it’s equally difficult to agree to it without an accompanying wry smirk considering the mods that have been made on the car. None of those mods should be considered permanent, however.

Image for article titled At $12,500, Would You Leap at the Chance to Buy This 1996 Chevy Impala SS

With all that in mind, let’s now consider this Impala’s $12,500 asking price. Does that seem like a fair deal for a true American legend? Or, is that price tag, just like the car, Super Silly?

You decide!

Los Angeles, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup!

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