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You're actually giving it more credit than I would. I'd call the Impala more "mediocre" or "tolerable" at best. I remember looking at them back in late 1999 when I bought my Intrepid, and wasn't all that impressed. Not a fan of the interior materials, the high beltline, tight back seat, or exterior style. But, it was adequate enough to tolerate.I never liked that model of the Impala. The exterior design in particular did not appeal to me. I had one for a week as a rental in Seattle back in '04. "Competent" is the best thing I could say about it. It wasn't awful. Of course I can understand the attraction of an older car with low miles and in good condition for a reasonable price as well, and how that may make one's choice different from what you would select in a perfect world.
I actually liked the Malibu better at the time, mainly because it made better use of its interior space. The Malibu felt like it would be a better fit for four tall/big people ,whereas the Impala was a better choice for 5/6 shorter people.
I think you're onto something though, where I'm finding the attraction in the condition and the low miles, and that makes a car that I would have ignored otherwise suddenly attractive. And, I guess there's also the fact that, if it's the LS, it'll have the 3.8, which was a pretty good engine. FWIW, I don't think the 3.4 in the cheaper models was all that bad, although it had the plastic intake issue (something some years of 3.8 had as well).
My cousin's Impala, while not a first choice, still might make for a good "beater". The Park Ave is starting to worry me a bit. Every once in awhile it shorts out and the trip computer loses its memory...trip mileage, distance to empty, etc. And when it does that little spike, the fuel gauge goes all the way around and gets stuck on the wrong side of the little peg that's supposed to keep it from going below "E". Imidazol97 taught me a magnet trick to get the gauge back around, but it's done it enough I gave up on it! The paint's also getting a little thin here and there, and there's some rust forming at the bottom of one of the back doors. My house mate borrowed it the other day, and he said that there was smoke coming from the passenger seat...so either one of the power assists or the heated part of it may be on the fritz. I haven't been able to get it to repeat that stunt, though. Oh, and the Park Ave does need new shocks and struts.
On Friday night, my friend with the 2009 Grand Marquis came over to hang out, and I tried to put a bug in his ear saying "You really want a new car, don't you?" in the hopes of talking him into going and buying a new car so I could buy his Grand Marquis off of him. But, he didn't fall for it!
If that "Spring Green" is what I'm thinking, I can see it being a bit polarizing. The color I'm thinking is a bit bright...something that belongs on a Camaro, Nova, or Chevelle, but not as well-suited to a big car. Now that I think about it, with the big '72 cars, the only green I can remember them in was a light, sort of sage green, and the dark "Sequoia" that my grandparents' Impala had. I don't think I've ever seen one in that bright green.
I think shopping for cars has definitely lost its magic. Once upon a time, if one of my friends or family members was car shopping and asked me to go along, I'd jump at the chance. But, my uncle asked me a couple weeks ago to go with him to look at trucks, and my first thought was "oh, crap." But, I gave in.
My paternal Granddad was the same way. Spent his whole career working for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and did a lot of maintenance and repair work. But, for some reason, that caring for railroad machinery just did not translate over to cars. My maternal Granddad was always getting after him to take better care of them, change the oil, etc.Oh, that's just the family story as I remember it and that could be what the salesperson told Dad at the dealersship. He could keep his outboard running but didn't mess with cars much.
We were at the B&O railroad museum in Baltimore once, and I remember them having one of the coaches from the train that crashed into Union Station just before Eisenhower's inauguration. Granddad mentioned he used to work on that train. And Granddad's specialty, as I recall, was brake work. IIRC, brake failure on one of the coaches is what caused that train wreck, so hopefully that's just a coincidence!
Yeah, initially the base slant six in the compact cars was a 170. IIRC it had 101 hp in the early years, but they bumped it to 115 in later years. The 225 had 145 hp. There was a high performance option called "Hyper-Pak" that used a hot 4-bbl and an intake manifold modeled after the Cross-Ram big blocks, and got the the 170 up to something like 148 hp. The 225 was bumped to 195 hp, I think.
In 1970, the 170 was replaced by a 198 slant six that had 125 hp. When they went to net hp for 1972, the 198 dropped from 125 to 100. The 225 dropped from 145 to 110, but there was a 100 hp version, which I think was used in California. As emissions controls got worse and Dart/Valiant got heavier, the 198 was eventually dropped and the 225 made standard. Wikipedia says the 198's last year was 1974, but I thought it was earlier.
When you do the gross-to-net conversion, sometimes you have to wonder how any of those old cars moved at all. 101 hp gross is probably around 80-85 net. Even worse, the initial Falcon used a 144 CID 6-cyl with only 95 gross hp, and the first Corvair only had a 140 CID flat six with 80 hp!
I think one of the slowest compact tests of that era I read was of an early 60's Comet, which weighed a bit more than the Falcon. It had the 95 hp 144 6-cyl and a 2-speed automatic, and I think 0-60 took close to 30 seconds!
Here, maybe this will make you feel better...To me buying American means spending exorbitantly more on replacement parts, tow trucks, and repair labor. Great for the company that made the shoddy vehicle (probably make more money on replacement parts than the car itself), tow truck companies, and auto repair shops, but bad for any other businesses where I'd otherwise more optimally spend that hard earned money.