Gardena Curbside Capsule – 1974 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe

We’ve written up a many ’71-’76 Chevies here at Curbside Classic. In fact, I’ve found two of them myself, a ‘73 Caprice Custom Coupe and a ’74 Impala Custom Coupe.  With the addition of this ’74 Impala Sport Coupe, I’ve now found three of the four coupe roof lines GM used on these beasts- All I need to complete the collection is a ’71 to ’73 Sport Coupe.

Looking over previous write ups, there’s little love directed towards these Caprices and Impalas. They share the largest exterior dimensions ever applied to a Chevrolet (car), and phrases such as “bloated,” “fat” and “whale” litter the write ups in both the main texts, and reader comments.

While other Chevies used similar styling, I think it translated better on the smaller platforms. However, it is possible the overall concept is good and the stylists missed the sweet spot on these cars.

These B-Bodies have also been criticized for cheap plastic interiors and black steering wheels and columns. For its age, this interior looks pretty damn good, but to my eye, someone added the brown vinyl on the door panel to cover discolored or missing emblems or inserts. Checking online images, I don’t see another Impala with similar trim.

However, as B-body defenders like to point out, Chevy offered a colored steering wheel option, and this car takes advantage of it. It could be there was also a contrasting vinyl trim option as well.

I also could not find any ’74 Chevy interiors with contrasting upholstery piping. However, the buttons and stitching on the seat surfaces match the factory design perfectly.  If someone reupholstered the seats and added vinyl to the door panels, they did a very professional job.

The plastic theme carries forward up front as well, as evidenced by this all plastic grille assembly. There’s a lot of layers and textures here, and it’s mostly molded plastic. Despite this, I found no nicks, cracks or damage after 45 years of use. It’s also either lost the original Blue and Gold plates, or been imported into California later in its life.

In fact, this missing trim piece on the bottom edge of the vinyl roof appeared to be the only real damage on the car. The owner parks it on the curb, and drives it on a regular basis, and despite the disdain many people direct towards this car they have kept it in remarkable condition.

So there you go, the third B-Body coupe I’ve found in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Not a car I’d associate with the SoCal car culture, but that’s the thing about LA- We have a little bit of everything.