Once the natural and logical choice in vehicle for the large majority of Americans, by the 1980s it was clear that the full-size sedan’s popularity was waning. Between the fuel crises of the ’70s, the influx of imports from Europe and Japan, and the growing availability of compact SUVs and minivans, the full-size sedan was no longer the aspirational vehicle it once was, and its vulnerability was becoming apparent.
Full-size sedans still represented a large portion of new car sales in the early-1980s, but even the definition of what a full-size sedan was in the traditional American sense (rear-wheel drive, primarily V8-powered, and externally gigantic) was being threatened in the advent of more efficient, externally small, front-wheel drive “full-sizers”. The rear-wheel drive dinosaurs would still enjoy popularity through the close of the decade, but more than often they found sales in the form of the highly-optioned Brougham-esque variants, generally purchased by older, set in one’s ways buyers.
Base models, like this 1984 Impala were increasingly rare among private buyers. Evidently, a combined need for basic, no-frills transportation and large size was no longer a high priority for most new car buyers. Fleet buyers, like law enforcement agencies and taxi companies, still bought them by the dozen, but apparently Chevrolet no longer felt it was necessary to market its base full-size sedan under a separate nameplate with a unique front clip. After 1985, the Impala, long Chevrolet’s second-most prestigious series, went the way of its already departed lower Bel Air and Biscayne series. For the remainder of this generation, all full-size Chevy sedans would wear the Caprice badge.
Lacking any major cosmetic flaws and even possessing all four original wheel covers, this impeccably cared for Impala is a true survivor and offers a real glimpse into the past.