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AutoWorld models unique Impala

By Mark Savage
Published: May 14, 2015
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Product: You can’t get any rarer than a one-and-only model.
 
In this case, Auto World has reproduced what experts say is the only 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS with a 427 cu.in. L72 V8 under the hood as original equipment.
 
The one-of-a-kind Impala hardtop, owned by Bill Wickman, graced the September 2012 cover of Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine. Now it’s a 1:18 knockout from Auto World.
 
Here’s the backstory. In 2011, the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals scored this unusual Impala at 992 of a perfect 1,000 points, which led to the gorgeous emerald turquoise SS ending up on the Muscle Machines cover.
 
Experts at the show say there’s no record of any 1967 SS models being equipped with the mighty 427 V8 that created a whopping 425 horsepower. The big block Chevy engine was introduced in 1966, and the L71 version was used in Corvettes.
 
Yet Wickman’s car has all the right original parts, including a date-correct engine block, cast-iron cylinder heads, Holley carb, unique twin-snorkel air filter housing and more. So argue over authenticity if you want, but the car fanatics out there say this is legit. In any case, it’s a gorgeous example of mid-‘60s Impala fastback styling on a car that was long and large enough to carry mom, dad, kids, dog and Aunt Bertha on a cross-country trip.
 
Performance: Auto World kicks up the detail with its latest release, basing it off its most detailed Authentic Series of molds. Like Auto World’s other 1:18 offerings, the SS comes with opening hood, trunk and doors, plus steerable wheels.
 
The fender creases are sharply executed, and the flat black vinyl-look top gives the turquoise hardtop a distinctive appearance to go along with its rarity of engine. While many diecast models feel solid, this Auto World sample feels almost as heavy as the original car, and 1967 was the heyday of lead sleds in Detroit. A trip to the scales puts this model at nearly 3 lbs.
 
Naturally, all hinges are real metal. I particularly like that the black hood hinges look just like the real deal, making this a particularly attractive model to display with the hood up.
 
Adding to the fun is the dramatic orange L-72 V8’s engine block and headers. This one is extremely well-detailed with wiring and plumbing. The big round air filter cover touts the Turbo Jet logo, along with the 427 insignia that baby boomers are sure to remember. Also under the hood you’ll find a detailed battery, power steering unit, fan, filters and generator.
 
Outside there’s a lot of chrome, from the trim line along the wheel wells and bottom edge of the body to the window framing, including vent windows. Naturally the front and rear bumpers are chromed, as are the mirrors, windshield wiper arms, door handles and keyholes, plus a small antenna on the hood.
 
This SS has a unique hood with chrome vents in the pointed raised hood bulge. The front lights and grille look realistic, as do the red and white rear lights. Inside the trunk is a rubberized mat and full-sized spare, both common in the day.
 
This Impala’s interior looks like black leather, with well-sculpted seats that include a seat belt with metal clasp down by the door frame. The car features seatbacks that fold forward.
 
The dash is black with a three-spoke black wheel and silver hub, but what will catch your attention is the chrome console between the bucket seats and chrome shift lever with black ball knob. Plus, the gauges are reflective, looking like real glass-covered gauges.
 
Fit and finish are quite good for the price. Tires are white sidewalls, and the chrome hubcaps with SS emblems in the hubs are extremely attractive. Auto World always gives the car a detailed undercarriage, too, something you might expect to be skipped or simplified at this price point.
 
Marketing: As usual with muscle cars, this will be a hit with baby boomers. It’s a particularly attractive model with good detailing for the price.
 
Auto World has a killer lineup of its American Muscle series in 1:18, plus some in 1:43 scale. Consider a mixed display so there are various price points for your customers to choose from. You could create a “Swinging ‘60s” display of cars that transport your customers back to the days of their misspent youth. Remember to stock up on display cases for collectors.
 
VITAL STATS
Product: 1967 Chevy Impala SS 427
Maker: Auto World
Scale: 1:18
Stock No.: AMM1027/06
MSRP: $89.99

BOTTOM LINE
• Rare prototype
• Good detail for price
• Connects with baby boomers
• Excellent packaging
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