In poker, one-of-a-kind means you'll probably lose your shirt. But in the Nice Price or Crack Pipe game of chance, being one-of-a-kind can be a benefit, although you still could go home shirtless.
Shirtless isn't what comes to mind when considering the means required to be your typical BMW owner, and it was conceded yesterday's tasty BMW 635CSI wouldn't have cost an arm and a leg. Like most tasty BMWs here on NPOCP, you were on that stickalicious Euro 6-series like ugly on an ape. That's an appropriate metaphor for that grand tourer as its upholstery looked like it was made out of a chimpanzee's Brazilian waxed plum purse. But despite the meat seat, that 635 CSI managed to pull out an impressive 80% Nice Price win for its RCH from twelve grand price tag.
Asking significantly more, and laying claim to being far rarer than that two-door kraut, is today's flag-waving one-off from the General's private reserve, an Impala SS. The full-sized Chevy Impala has been a favorite choice of Americans to cart our assess' suburban spread to and fro seemingly since before Lincoln was a penny. One thing that you can be pretty assured of, in fact it would be worth betting money on, is that - with a few exceptions - most of your day-to-day Impalas (Impali?) are going to be carrying slushers. As I noted, there are exceptions to this rule, and one of those exceptions the subject of today's ruminations.
These days, if you get pulled over, it's a good bet the guy that's going to be writing you a ticket has had his ass molded into the front seat of a Ford Crown Vic PI, but that wasn't always the case. Was a time when the doughnut repository behind the copstache and mirrored aviators could choose from something off the GM rack as well.
That was the Chevy Caprice and this 1994 Impala SS version hails from that era. Most everyone remembers the General's jellybean-shaped reaction to competitor Ford's new-found love of the worn bar of soap look, the Caprice,but by the time this car's stampings had left the Arlington TX factory they had replaced the design's original near full rear spats with muscle car rounds, and the tips of the third lights had been capped with a jaunty dogleg, presaging a change to the panel that would set that feature into steel shortly thereafter.
But this is much more than just an Impala SS, which itself was the hot version of the Caprice Classic. That car did have a V8, and it rolled on the five-spoke alloy wheels we see here, but all those cars pumped their power through a 4L60E 4-speed automatic. This car does have the Corvette's 5.7-litre V8 under hood, but behind that is something as unexpected as the big reveal in The Crying Game, and like the stick that sprouted from that film's tranny, the one that does from this Impala's is also a shocker. Of course, the Chevy's leather knobbed knob is likely better to hold, and more rewarding to snick about than Jay Davidson's traumatizing tubsteak.
But wait, you're thinking, Chevy never offered a manual transmission in the last of the rear-drive Impalas. Right you are, bubba, but this is no ordinary 1994 Impala, and neither is it some backyard hack job where you're likely to find under the seat one of the teeth of the hillbilly wrench-banger that attempted to mangle a T56 into the B-body. The 6-speeder here was bolted into this Impala by Chevy themselves, and the car was part of the GM Heritage Collection that was auctioned off a couple of years ago while the General attempted to postpone the inevitability that was bankruptcy and the anesthetic-free amputation of Saturn, Saab and Pontiac. That collection was like GM's secret stash, and while it wasn't all high quality bud, this Impala SS isn't what you'd classify as merely seeds and stems. In addition to the 6-speed right arm occupier, the LT1 in this car benefits from balancing and blueprinting, larger than stock exhaust, and ported and relieved heads, all of which conspire to make a claimed 308-bhp. Inside, there's an analog tach to keep track of those ponies, and it's mounted on the underside of the IP binnacle, next to the digital speedo. The rest of the interior is a clean swath of mesa-flat seats and typical ‘90s GM plastic, which is probably the most disappointing aspect of the car. The 1990s were not a high point of American interior design and GM was undefeated in the craptacular bowl conference. Despite it spending most of its life in GM's Wonka-land, it's managed to rack up over 20K on its clock, although neither body nor interior shows any sign of those miles.
Externally it's wrapped in the standard SS accouterments, indicating that this is the sportiest of big Chevys. The SS appellation is historic, going back to WWII when Hitler applied it to the fastest and sportiest of his nazi assholes.
Not only is this factory-built 6-speed Impala unique, it's the only one, as claimed by the seller. And therein lies the rub. This car was never intended to be sold to a schmo like me or you, and lacks the proper papers to make it past the aforementioned SS, much less the more fascistic state emissions regulators, especially in California. It was sold by GM as a salvage title, and the sticker on the door jam claims that all the good stuff needs to be yanked should it ever make its way into the hands of anyone who might possibly appreciate it for that exact same good stuff.
That means that this car would have to be purchased as a museum piece or moved to a country without concerns for such things as aggregate cancer rates and global warming, a place such as Mexico or Texas.
But there's another way around this issue, and that's to buy an identical-looking 1994 Impala SS - one with the under-spec'd slusher and 260-bhp V8, and switch license and VIN plates when you need to pass smog. That would add a few grand to the asking price, but at least you'd get to drive this hot Impala on the street, and as the seller is already asking $35,995 for this one of a kind GM what-if-mobile, what's a few bucks more?. Of course you could buy just that stock '94 for a butt-load less, and try and figure out how to make it a three pedal car, but then somebody else wold eventually find your teeth under the seat.
So what do you think? If you can come up with a way to get it on the street without being hassled by the man, would you consider $35,995 as fair for this first and only? Or, does that price put this is the there's a reason there's only one category?
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.