Cohort Sighting: 1958 Chevrolet Impala – Is It Really That Much Longer Than A Prius?

Chevrolet 1958 impala and Prius 1 bw

If it weren’t for that demure little Prius peeking out behind this big, flashy Impala coupe, one might well think this to be a genuine vintage shot. Well, the “Capitol Cider” really dates it too. But fifty years separate these two cars–chronologically, that is. Length-wise? The ’58 Impala looks to be half a football field longer. Part of that can be explained by the big Chevy being in front, but still I wouldn’t have guessed that the Prius ends in the Impala’s back seat.  runningonfumes caught these two at an intersection somewhere, and the picture makes quite a statement of how much cars have changed in a half-century.

Chevrolet 1958 impala and Prius 1

runningonfumes posted two versions of this shot, so here’s the cropped and “vintage-ized” version. I can’t resist being drawn to this car now any more than I could resist one that parked around the corner from our house in 1962 or so. (and it also was black). A handsome sort of beast, if a bit overdone, and plenty big–a bit too much so, actually. In many ways, its bloat beyond the trim tri-fives was excessive, and I’ve made that point pretty clear.  But from the side, the Impala has those delicious Motorama curves and chrome trim and details that sucked me right in as a kid.

Chevrolet 1958 impala and Prius 2 big

My favorite part was that fake vent over the rear window. Oh, about the size difference: the Prius is 175″ long; the Impala, 210″–almost exactly three feet. Still, it looks more like six feet. And now that the light has changed, the Prius is widening the gap. That wouldn’t be hard to do, despite the Impala trying with its 283 motor inevitably backed by a Powerglide. And the Prius’ gas motor probably hasn’t even kicked in yet. Fifty years on, some things have changed. And fifty years from now, the Prius will be an anachronism, one of those rare old cars still driven by the driver, if they haven’t outlawed that by then.