The full-size Impala model has been gracing the Chevrolet lineup off and on since 1958 and with that has come a transformation of the car’s iconic leaping antelope emblem. As we found out from GM News, several variations of the emblem have found their place on the model over the years, ranging in design from the lone animal, to added circles and ovals, and even different variations of the Impala script. So as Chevrolet gets ready to unleash its tenth-generation Impala, it comes as no surprise that the brand has once again reworked the symbol of the full-size sedan.
The Impala model has always carried some form of the leaping African antelope symbol that it was named after since its debut in 1958.
While you may not have realized it, the Impala emblem is significant to the Chevy brand. Of all of Chevrolet’s vehicles, the Impala is one of only two models to have an emblem of its own in addition to the Chevrolet bowtie. The Corvette is the other. So you can imagine the importance of the emblem’s transformation over the years.
Starting out in 1958, the Impala got a rather plump looking African antelope running along the rear quarter panel as well as the crossed-flag symbol known mostly of the Corvette model. The flags were printed next to the Impala nameplate with the antelope leaping overhead.
By 1962, the emblem had transformed to carry a circle around it and between 1962 and 1967, the symbol could be found on either the front or rear quarter panels, as well as the rear decklid. Unlike the previous emblem, the design that was used starting in 1962 did not include the crossed-flag symbol.
The early Impala emblems made use of the crossed-flag design, leaping antelope and variations of the Impala script, as seen here in the 1959 Impala and 1961 Impala SS emblems
In 1968, Chevrolet did away with all exterior emblems on the Impala model, while variations of the Impala script were kept to identify the car. This change lasted through 1985, with the Impala emblem only showing up in the interior of some model years. When the emblem was used in the interior of the car, it was usually placed on the dashboard or horn button for easy viewing.
The 1962 model year brought about a whole new design for the Impala emblem that has carried over for generations
For the 1994 through 1996 model years, Chevrolet used an oval surrounding the Impala symbol for the SS models and placed it on the sail panel of the car. The same idea was implemented for the 2002+ model year Impalas, including the 2008 50th Anniversary Impala which wore a special anniversary emblem on the sail panel.
For the 2014 Impala model, Chevrolet has once again made a change to the car’s emblem. The future model will sport a more muscular antelope finished in bright chrome to match the chrome on the car’s bowtie.
Special attention was paid to the contours of the new emblem, giving the symbol the illusion of movement. The emblem will appear on either side of the new model, with two different emblem versions used to insure that the antelope figure is always facing forward, as well as stamped in the sill plates.
The 1994-96 Impala SS emblem (left) and 2002+ Impala symbols didn't differ much at all, except for on the 2008 50th Anniversary edition cars (right)
“For the new Impala, we wanted to evolve the emblem to complement the new vehicle design without making any radical changes to its character,” said Joann Kallio, lead creative designer for Chevrolet global badging in a recent GM News release. “We kept the stylized interpretation of the animal, and made the impala more muscular. We also added defined edges, to give the impala a sleek form and make it look like it was running fast.”
The next-generation Impala is set to be released in early 2013 as a 2014 model. Be sure to check out what the future Impala has in store for customers before it hits dealerships in our recent coverage of the model.
It takes a keen eye to tell the difference between the 2014 Impala emblem and the emblem that originally popped up on the 1994-96 Impala SS models, but GM claims this antelope is more muscular and has better contours to give the allusion of fast movement