1981 Chevrolet Impala 305 from North America


Like A Rock


The starter went out at 178,000 miles. It cost about $35 to replace. It takes a while to do it yourself because of the exhaust piping.

The roof liner is sinking down. Cost to repair is $10.

The windshield wipers stick in the on position, minor problem about $25 to replace motor and wiper lever.

The tires continue to wear, probably because of the power. I also do brake stands so that could be the reason why.

General Comments:

Last Summer I got new shocks and springs on my car and it rides as if I was floating on a cloud, even when fishtailing out of parking lots or over curbs.

The power and gas mileage is great, although my dash only goes to 85mph, I have gotten it up to about 118mph by racing my other friends on the freeway.

This car is indestructible, I was doing donuts in a parking lot and when I came out of my last one, I hit a garbage can, probably doing 30-40mph. The only damage that occurred was to my bumper guard, which snapped.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd August, 2004

1981 Chevrolet Impala Base 305 4bbl from North America


Simple, reliable and bulletproof.


Just about everything was replaced over the years, but one can expect that with over 650,000 km on it.

Apart from a worn camshaft replaced at 350,000 km, the engine never had a wrench on it, and still had lots of power, too!

There wasn't much left of the interior, but it was a legend in my hometown.

General Comments:

This car was my first ever, the perfect balance of dependability, durability, (vast understatement) and simplicity. I will never own another vehicle that could come remotely close to it. It will be sorely missed.

I believe that clockwork service intervals and other preventative maintenance have allowed this car to have had such a formidable existence. I'd like to see the cars of today last this long. (ya right.) Why GM discontinued this car, I'll never understand.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th November, 2003

12th Jul 2004, 10:39

Your experience and mine are similar. My '82 Impala, bought from the CHP at 96000 miles, has had another 300,000 miles put on it with only minor, expected repairs and maintenance. I attribute much of this to quality workmanship, regular maintenance, and synthetic oil.

6th Oct 2004, 08:37

Thank you, a good impala owner. I've got an 81 Diesel Impala with 120,000 miles. Best car I own and will never sell. GM made a mistake discontinuing the Impala. The one with the drive wheels on the correct end of course.

5th Oct 2007, 23:34

Out with the old and in with the old? Bought my 81 Bel Air Wagon in 87 with 187,000km (Alberta, Canada) and have just retired it at 370,000km. The body frame rusted out at rear lower control arm and broke. Broke my heart too. Never touched the engine, transmission or differential. Engine uses next to no oil. Trans works perfect. Battery going on for 11 yrs. Absolutely everything on this car worked properly and has never let me down. Why? Maintenance=longevity. Replaced it with, you guessed it, 81 Impala Wagon, beautiful body, low miles, rides quiet and tight. Do they make them like this anymore?