The sporting pretense of the Full Sized Chevrolet had been on the wane for more than half a decade. Nevertheless, with market dominance unlike any other manufacturer, General Motors still saw it worthy to offer top down motoring to the masses in massive sizes when it re-designed its Full Sized Automobiles for the 1971 model year.
The most practical self-placement in a large fun in the sun machine was of course found in Chevrolet dealerships. in its 7th season in the Silver Spot among Chevrolet Full-sizers, the re-visioned ’71 Impala Convertible offered many tailoring options from later day Super Sport to Junior DeVille with the appropriate selection of option boxes.
The 1971 GM B and C-Bodies were the last big American cars to embrace “Fuselage” styling. One can say that Chevrolet in particular embraced it with the same zeal that Americans embrace all-you-can eat buffets. Wheelbases were up to 121 inches (Oldsmobile territory only 15 years previous) with curb weights when well optioned well in excess of 4,000 lbs.
Despite the sporting pretensions, performance was softer, it took at least the 400 cube V8 to move the new Impala’s with much verve. In the reality of the heightened insurance premium era, however, customers might have considered themselves lucky to be able to score their convertible thrills in 3 forms from Chevrolet show rooms at all.
Thing is, thanks to a UAW strike, it was a little bit more difficult to procure those new Impala convertibles from Chevrolet showrooms. In addition, some first year re-design flaws like leaky flow through ventilation systems with their distinctive trunk vents made these bodacious beauties less desirable than the copious Chevy Convertibles available immediately before and after the 1971 model year.
Only 4,576 Impala Convertibles found home for the year, a total that would recover incrementally while the model remained on the market, and was shifted out of Impala to full fledged Caprice duty as the decade wore on. Once undervalued and underappreciated, despite their flaws, these later day Chevrolet Convertibles remind us with their presence today that they were once synonymous with the All-American activities of Baseball and Apple Pie.