Profile of the 1976 Chevrolet Impala and Caprice Classic - Part 2
One part of the system was the High Energy Ignition, which would give up to an 85% hotter spark than the conventional ignition. This meant better ignition response and performance. The catalytic converter replaced many of the emissions control functions so the engines could be tuned for responsive, smooth, and efficient performance. The Carburetor Outside Air Induction allowed for cooler, denser air to be fed from the outside into the carburetor. There was also early fuel evaporation, which improved performance by preheating incoming fuel and air mixtures using exhaust gases. This process occurred during warm-ups.
Also with this system, the mileage between many recurring services was much longer. These services included spark plug changes, engine oil changes, oil filter changes, chassis lubrication, and transmission fluid check-ups.
Other features for 1976
The 1976 models were built on a 121.5-inch wheelbase with measurements of 222.9 inches in length and 79.5 inches in width. The heights (loaded) were 54.4 inches on the four-door sedans, 53.9 inches on the sport sedans, and 53.7 inches on the coupes. Each had protective inner fenders, a heavy-gauge frame structure with corrosion-resistant coating, a Magic-Mirror exterior finish with acrylic lacquer, a coating rich with zinc added to the floor panel, and pre-coated steel, which was used for anti-corrosion protection and underbody crossbars.
The cars had a roof and deck-lid build with a double-panel hood and door. The capacity for the fuel tank was 26 gallons. Finned rear brake drums were used to help brakes run cooler and resist fade. To prevent rust-out in the rocker panel, an open body sill design was used. Also, a full-coil suspension was used with springs that were computer-selected to match the car's weight.
The 1976 models offered safety features galore to help drivers and passengers feel safe and secure in their new Impala or Caprice Classic. Seat belts were installed with push-button buckles for any passenger position. For the driver and right front passenger, there were two-combination seats and inertia reel shoulder belts. These had a buzzer and reminder light as well. The steering column was energy-absorbing with a safety steering wheel. There were passenger-guard door locks as well as safety door hinges and latches, and folding seat back latches.
The instrument panel was energy-absorbing as also were the front seat back tops. A contoured windshield header and thick laminate windshield were used. There were safety arm rests, a cargo guard, and a contoured roof inner panel.
To prevent theft, an ignition key buzzer for reminding the driver to grab the key was included. Also, a steering column lock mechanism was included to keep the steering column securely in place when the key was out of the ignition.
Features to help prevent accidents
There were also several accident-prevention features included for this year. To increase visibility in fog, rain, snow, or at night, the cars had side marker lights and reflectors, parking lights that would illuminate with the headlights, and back-up lights. For emergencies, the cars had four-way hazard warning flashers. There was a lane-change feature to help with highway driving.
To keep all windows clear, the cars had windshield defrosters, dual-speed wipers, and windshield washers. The rearview mirror was a day-night mirror with a wide view and had a vinyl edge, shatter-resistant glass, and deflecting support. Other features included a dual-action safety hood latch, a starter switch, an outside rearview mirror, and the dual master cylinder brake system, which included a warning light.
Features included with the Impala and Caprice Classic
Both cars received a new front grille and new front design work. Both had hide-a-way windshield wipers. The exterior colors were light blue metallic, cream, medium saddle metallic, lime green metallic, dark blue metallic, firethorn metallic, mahogany metallic, buckskin, cream gold, medium red, dark green metallic, silver, black, and antique white.
Both had rosewood trim on the interior areas (instrument panel, steering wheel, and doors). Both had carpeting that was cut-pile nylon.
Both the Impala and Caprice Classic were also available as roomy station wagons this year.
Engine specifications for 1976
The standard engine used this year was a 350-cubic-inch (5.7 liter) V-8 engine with a horsepower rating of 145. It used a two-barrel carburetor. This engine was not available in California. There were several other available engines. The 350-cubic-inch V-8 could be ordered with a four-barrel carburetor and 165 horsepower. A 400-cubic-inch (6.6 liter) V-8 engine was available with a four-barrel carburetor and 175 horsepower. Also, a 454-cubic-inch (7.4 liter) V-8 engine was available with dual exhaust, a four-barrel carburetor, and 225 horsepower.
All engines came with a Turbo Hydra-matic transmission, which featured three forward speeds and would shift automatically. It could be manually shifted when wanted. The engines used quiet hydraulic valve lifters. They had a coolant recovery system that would help prevent the loss of coolant. The battery used was a sealed side-terminal energizer battery to help eliminate corrosion build-up on the terminals. This gave a higher output because of the lighter weight.
With the Impala and Caprice Classic, buyers got a great full-size car at a reasonable price. These cars were popular family cars because they offered roominess without the extreme prices. Today, people admire these cars for their simplicity and 1970s beauty.