VIDEO: Defining “Muscle Car” With a ’69 Chevy Impala

If you were to dig back a few decades, you would find that the technical definition of the term, “muscle car” was widely regarded as any American intermediate performance coupe with a large engine from its even larger contemporaries – and usually with a unique name to set it apart from its lesser counterparts.

With the tides of change, things have swayed a bit left field, broadening the scope of the muscle car world and allowing pony cars and larger coupes like this ’69 Chevy Impala into the fold. /Big Muscle’s Mike Musto investigates this a bit further, and also reflects why the muscle car is his preferred steed of choice.

Mike, as well as the Impala’s owner, Rob, tells us in the video above that American muscle cars reflect that toughness; the bold, no-nonsense, clean, simple styling and a poise that no other car has. Period. As much as these two guys appreciate the modern super cars, in their opinion, they feel that they still lack the “toughness” our muscle cars do.

Digging deeper into the Impala itself is an interesting story. In the market for a full-sized Chevy coupe from the Golden Age of muscle cars, Rob had a difficult time trying to find an example that wasn’t rotted out, wrecked, turned into a lowrider or made into an over-flashy example. He wanted something clean, solid and simple – something that he could work with. He ultimately settled on this blue ’69 coupe you’re looking at here.

Since the car started out in life as a mild, mid-level Impala with a small block it was the perfect canvas for Rob to build into his verso of the perfect muscle car. He added SS badging, painted the body side molding to match the hue of the car and sprayed the factory Chevy Rallys black.

Then, he dropped in a killer Chevrolet Performance BBC, routed the exhaust to exit just before the rear tires and yanked the high-beam headlights to make way for dual snorkel air inlets, ala’ creating a form of homegrown ram air induction. The monster mill is backed by a manually-shifted 4-speed gearbox – just as it should be!

As times and tastes have changed over the last few decades, it’s always good to see that these cars continue to live on. Hopefully, today’s generation will come around soon enough!


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