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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am seriously looking at purchasing my first Impala a 96 Impala SS from New York. I have been speaking with the seller and he says it has been garaged kept and never seen snow. The car looks really clean with 70k miles but there are no undercarriage photos of the car. I am going to ask the owner to send me some pics from under the car but I am scared to death on what rust issues there could be that's not seen. Being from Iowa and living in Oklahoma I know there is a night and day difference. My father's silverado I got from him when he passed away was only in Iowa for 3 years (granted it was stored outside and driven on a daily basis) and when I changed the rotors on his truck I had to beat them off with a full size sledge hammer and had a pile of rust particles about an inch thick and the size of a paper plate.

My question is should I avoid getting a car from up north especially NY and stick to a Southern Car? If the pics underneath look good should I be safe? It's a long way out there and I am going to have to fly there and drive it back, so I will not be able to look it over until I actually get there. Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I had looked at a Impala online from North Carolina and it had a pretty good rust build up on the rear differential when comparing it to another that I saw from Arizona. Of course I don't know if either car had spent it's entire life in the states they are currently being sold in. But I was really surprised with the amount of rust seen on the car from North Carolina. I am really serious on getting my first SS and would appreciate any help, suggestions and advice. Thanks so much!

Larry
 

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Larry

The seller says it see's no snow weather driving but yes certainly vet the under carriage for rust given the cars location. Ideally it was never, or minimally, driven in rain also

If the seller is unwilling to get the car up on jack stands to photograph the under side that would be a clue for you to take caution. If you are satisfied with the pics then fly out and see the car with the understanding the sale is TBD upon inspection of the car and you want to get under the car to see for yourself. This would mean the car would need to be able to be put up on jack stands. That way you can also check for leaks, suspension wear and see if there were any signs of previous accident

Also if the seller just has ramps you can pull the front up and look and then back up on them to look at the rear under carriage (pics)

This 70k mi car could certainly be a gem if it saw no foul weather and was garaged....but like any car you see "online"....absolutely look all over it and drive it before you buy it.

I grew up in upstate NY and live in SoCal and I certainly know what snow and climate can do to a car
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks BALLSS, appreciate the affirmation. Those are some great tips and I will definitely make sure that I can have access to the underside of the car once out there to look everything over. Your car is pristine. That is what I would love to see! WOW!
 

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I live in NYC. If the cars been garaged then don't worry about it. Just make sure you get some pics of the underside but I don't expect any issues if that's true. Rain doesn't really hurt these cars. I don't drive my car in the winter but I do keep it outside and there's no problems with the underside. The straps for the fuel tank don't even have any rust on them. Just normal surface rust on the frame rails. I had the car fluid filmed last year as a preventative measure and the tech even commented how clean the car was.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks TGO, that makes me feel a lot better.

I spoke with the seller tonight and he does not want to send me any undercarriage pictures. I truly don't think he is trying to hide anything I just think he is older and doesn't want to jack with it. I even asked him if he could maybe take it to Firestone and see if they could put it on the lift and take some pictures for him/me. I even asked him if his son could maybe just pull it up onto some ramps and take some quick pictures but he does not want do it.

He said he used to years ago get under the car and sand the frame some and spray it with black paint to touch it up. That is a plus I think. So it may look really awesome or it could look terrible I guess. LOL! He said I forgot to mention the car has some chips on it that I have touched up with touch up paint and I'm not very good at it. I'm not concerned with the chips that is to be expected but not really sure what I am going to have here. I really hate to fly all the way out there and it not be what I had hoped and then have to fly back. So not sure if I should continue to pursue it or just search for another SS that is closer or just go on with my original plans of modifying my caprice. Why does it have to be so difficult to give someone your money. LOL. I just wanted to buy his car...Good Lord!
 

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I’d pass on it, then. In fact, I would run and not look back. If he’s adamant about not furnishing photos of the undercarriage, he’s hiding something. It doesn’t take 30 seconds to snap a few photos with a phone, even if the car isn’t on jackstands. When I was buying my wagon, which was 1500 miles away, I asked the seller to send frame pics and he did so eagerly and promptly. I flew up and bought the car.

Keep shopping. There are nice Impalas out there, still.
 

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I've got to agree with maximus. The seller has already started with the "Oh yeah, there's this". You could make the trip and get there and find out "I remembered it needs this or that". Someone who doesn't want to provide a few simple pics could be hiding something more. Your trip there could end up being a sight seeing tour and a NY hot dog.

Mark: Snowman-33
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, appreciate it. Hopefully you kept me from making a mistake. Worst case I may have passed up a decent car. It was higher than what I wanted to pay really anyway. Or best case you helped me dodge a bullet. I was really happy when he told me he was the original owner and had all the original paperwork/window sticker etc. and that it was not modified in anyway. He said he bought it new when his son worked at the GM dealership. That is why I asked him if maybe his son could help him at least get it on some ramps or jack stands and take some pictures for me. He is older maybe in his upper 60's to early 70's just guessing and sounds maybe a bit forgetful. So that can be a good excuse but definitely a reason for pause too. Like Mark said "Oh yeah, there's this." It needs a new transmission. LOL! He told me tonight when I kept asking for frame pics that it's a really clean car and I either want it or I don't. I had a good chuckle on that one. He has an extra set of factory wheels and tires that he is including and he told me that those are at least worth $200 each for the wheels alone. I think he is right they were that maybe 20 years ago I believe. HaHaHa.
 

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1. he has sanded some rust off frame and re-painted
2. chips in paint have been "touched-up"
3. he won't provide any pictures of under carriage
4. its a east coast car

RUN, do not walk...RUN AWAY from this

OP, if you are willing to get on a plane to buy a SS there are several very good ones out there. Looking for one from "fair weather" climate would be where I draw the initial line.

Yes I am biased but IMHO the frame should have ZERO "surface rust". There should be no rust anywhere. My car is by far not the only example of this. fair weather, west coast, cars especially ones not driven in rain either have no rust.

Keep shopping, you will find one
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks BALLSS. I needed another reminder. Because I started looking again today and did not see anything new out there for sale. I sent this guy an email about noon asking him if he could please send me pictures of the paint chips that he said had originally "forgot" to tell me about that he had "touched up". About 10 minutes later I get a phone call from an unavailable # which the last two times he returned my calls it has been from an unavailable #. I did not answer because I was at work. It may not have been him but I am guessing it was. Who ever it was did not leave a message. I am sure it was him calling me to try and "explain" where the paint chips were in his original online posting of pictures. You could not see any chips until you started to look really closely on the trunk it looked like there was one about 3 inches in size. That's a little more than paint chips. LOL So God only knows what else is not being shown that I would discover once I was out there. I checked my email and have not received anything from him. Hell if he cannot take a picture of a door or trunk panel showing paint chips there is no way he is going to get me a picture of the undercarriage or frame.

I'm officially done dealing with this gentleman. He acts like he is doing me a favor when I ask him for something. Screw that. I want to sell one of my trucks anyway and that will give me an extra 5k or so to put toward something even nicer if I so choose to. So I'm going to be patient keep saving up some more money and hopefully something really nice will come along for me. Thanks everyone for helping me stay on course!
 

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What are you looking? I have a 1995 DGGM Imp.SS with 75000mi. Been in rain, stored winters the last 20 years, didn't have garage first years owned. I'm first owner. Located in Erie, Pa.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was looking at a 95 or 96 preferably black. But I like the DGGM and DCM's as well. I am leaning toward a 96 because I like the floor shifter. But really like the cup holder options in the console on the 94-95's too? I just bought a clean 95 caprice last month (L99) with the intentions of putting an SS rear end, suspension mods and LT/LS or stoker motor in the car and lowering it with some 20" Torq Thrust II's. Some days I think selling the Caprice and getting an SS would be best and other days I think I should just stick with my original plan and make Mods on the Caprice. Just can't decide where I would get more bang for my buck and what will make me happiest.

I have a 66 SS Convertible and always thought it would be cool to have a 66 and a 96. But it's going to take me a long, long time to restore the convertible (if ever) the way I would like and thought going with a newer version may be quicker and bring me faster satisfaction.

So you looking at selling your 95 impalabob? I've been looking around, seeing what's out there. LOL


What are you looking? I have a 1995 DGGM Imp.SS with 75000mi. Been in rain, stored winters the last 20 years, didn't have garage first years owned. I'm first owner. Located in Erie, Pa.
 

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Thanks BALLSS. I needed another reminder. Because I started looking again today and did not see anything new out there for sale. I sent this guy an email about noon asking him if he could please send me pictures of the paint chips that he said had originally "forgot" to tell me about that he had "touched up". About 10 minutes later I get a phone call from an unavailable # which the last two times he returned my calls it has been from an unavailable #. I did not answer because I was at work. It may not have been him but I am guessing it was. Who ever it was did not leave a message. I am sure it was him calling me to try and "explain" where the paint chips were in his original online posting of pictures. You could not see any chips until you started to look really closely on the trunk it looked like there was one about 3 inches in size. That's a little more than paint chips. LOL So God only knows what else is not being shown that I would discover once I was out there. I checked my email and have not received anything from him. Hell if he cannot take a picture of a door or trunk panel showing paint chips there is no way he is going to get me a picture of the undercarriage or frame.

I'm officially done dealing with this gentleman. He acts like he is doing me a favor when I ask him for something. Screw that. I want to sell one of my trucks anyway and that will give me an extra 5k or so to put toward something even nicer if I so choose to. So I'm going to be patient keep saving up some more money and hopefully something really nice will come along for me. Thanks everyone for helping me stay on course!
I was gonna say to ask around maybe a local member would go take a look at it for you.

But yeah...3" touch ups aren't rock chips. Sounds like the clear coat or flaking paint issues these cars are prone to. The bumpers are notorious and I've noticed lots of these cars with paint missing from the rear wing, etc. Though that doesn't make sense for a car that's been garaged it's whole life.

1. he has sanded some rust off frame and re-painted
2. chips in paint have been "touched-up"
3. he won't provide any pictures of under carriage
4. its a east coast car

RUN, do not walk...RUN AWAY from this

OP, if you are willing to get on a plane to buy a SS there are several very good ones out there. Looking for one from "fair weather" climate would be where I draw the initial line.

Yes I am biased but IMHO the frame should have ZERO "surface rust". There should be no rust anywhere. My car is by far not the only example of this. fair weather, west coast, cars especially ones not driven in rain either have no rust.

Keep shopping, you will find one
This particular car seems more like a dud than originally described but seriously..we're not talking ferrari's here. Fair weather climates aren't a guarantee either. Nothing is. Especially now...there's gonna be tons of flood cars in the carolina's in the next few days. Texas got flooded recently too right? There's not very many states where there's no risk of issues. Unless you only buy cars from California I guess. Either way it's all in the maintenance. The rain argument is absurd lol

I love when people insist their car has never seen rain. Believe me, your car has seen plenty of rain. From the moment it hit the truck after coming off the assembly line to sitting on the dealer lot. It's seen a lot more than rain before you even bought it lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Yeah, I am not looking for something "Rain Free" but there is a significant difference in people's opinions on "Rust Free" or very little rust. Some of the pictures I have attached below are from some of the cars I have been looking at or stumbled across in my searches. You can clearly see a major difference in the 3 pictures. My fathers 04 Silverado I got from him that was in Iowa for 3 years or so was in between the Rust1 and Rust3 pics attached. I know you are going to have some surface rust and to me that is acceptable but when you have to use an impact wrench to get a sway bar off because it's welded on with rust is a condition I am trying to avoid. I really hate having chunks of rust falling in my eyes every time I work on my car.

My truck was parked next to a truck from Texas one day and the Texas truck was 3 years older than mine from Iowa and the amount of frame rust on mine compared to his was ridiculously different.

So I am thinking I may need to just stick with a California, Arizona, New Mexico or Oklahoma car I guess. Just to be on the safe side. I am by no means trying to be disrespectful of any of the Northern or East Coast cars. I know some of you have some very pristine Impala's. I'm just saying if I am going to have to travel a far distance to look at it, I may need to take the safe route.
 

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Freebird

I grew up in upstate NY and went to college in Wisconsin. Certainly seen what weather and road salt does to cars, especially ones that were never garaged. With that said there is likely some pristine SS east of the Mississippi let alone anywhere else in the country you may find for sale. Even "Western" state cars can have rust especially if they were original from east coast area.

IMHO making a Caprice into a SS is more $ transformation than just buying a SS and it will never be a true Impala SS in terms of VIN and won't have the same resale value as a SS in comparable condition.

I bought my car new in 96. Like all of them they came from the GM Arlington, TX plant. In CA most SS spent very little time on dealer lots. Most SS had mark-up $ above sticker because of their limited availability of $3-$5k. I went to many dealerships before I found mine. Chevy dealership in Santa Barbara had one on order which I bought for sticker $ after leaving a $1k deposit. I picked it up the day it was delivered from Tx. It was my DD for 3 years but was garaged. Yes it was driven in the rain but does not have any rust as you see from the pics I posted.

Whatever car you do find, regardless of what any pictures or description of it the seller provides, go see it in person and make sure you are able to get under it to inspect. Not only for rust but leaks and any signs of previous collisions. Like anything else the better condition ones and 96's will be more than others. Yeah you may burn a few airline tickets in the process as what you see when you get there turns out to be less than what was presented....part of the process of buying a used car

Good luck in your search
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Yeah, this is what I am struggling with. I personally have always been a purist when it comes to true SS's and what I want to own. My first car when I was 16 was a 67 Chevelle SS and I saw guys taking Malibu's and making them SS's which did not bother me unless someone tries to be deceitful and sell it as an SS. I saw one here in Tulsa about 20 years ago that had the 396 badges on the front and a 454 badge on the back. It was actually a Malibu and they had it listed as a Chevelle SS? It was pretty funny/sad seeing it sitting there for sale in a high class classic car outfit. LOL!

So I really would like to get a true SS 95 or 96 Impala but I typically see everyone making major modifications and removing all the factory SS suspension parts and upgrading to after market suspension and engines that I am wondering if the cost is worth it. I originally was going to take the money that I would pay for a true SS and put it into making those modification on the Caprice since it is a clean, very little surface rust car. I guess if I'm patient and get one that was really clean at a decent price and go from there I would be alright or find one with the modifications I wanted and purchase it maybe?

IMHO making a Caprice into a SS is more $ transformation than just buying a SS and it will never be a true Impala SS in terms of VIN and won't have the same resale value as a SS in comparable condition.
 

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Yeah, I am not looking for something "Rain Free" but there is a significant difference in people's opinions on "Rust Free" or very little rust. Some of the pictures I have attached below are from some of the cars I have been looking at or stumbled across in my searches. You can clearly see a major difference in the 3 pictures. My fathers 04 Silverado I got from him that was in Iowa for 3 years or so was in between the Rust1 and Rust3 pics attached. I know you are going to have some surface rust and to me that is acceptable but when you have to use an impact wrench to get a sway bar off because it's welded on with rust is a condition I am trying to avoid. I really hate having chunks of rust falling in my eyes every time I work on my car.

My truck was parked next to a truck from Texas one day and the Texas truck was 3 years older than mine from Iowa and the amount of frame rust on mine compared to his was ridiculously different.

So I am thinking I may need to just stick with a California, Arizona, New Mexico or Oklahoma car I guess. Just to be on the safe side. I am by no means trying to be disrespectful of any of the Northern or East Coast cars. I know some of you have some very pristine Impala's. I'm just saying if I am going to have to travel a far distance to look at it, I may need to take the safe route.
Right but a truck that someone used/beat on for work is a very different story than a car that was properly maintained. People don't wash their DD's regularly in the winter or oil spray or whatever. Most people don't care. I've lived in NYC my whole life and I've never had a car look as bad as the first one in your pictures. Well, except a beater I had which was given to me for free and I never took care of it. My first car spent 7 winters in NYC under my ownership and never looked like that, and I wasn't even close to being as meticulous as I am now.

My SS was garaged all it's life and only had 18k miles when I bought it. I attribute the surface rust it did have to condensation from sitting in a garage for 10 years and never being driven. Like I said, I don't have a garage right now so I intentionally take more precautions. It still doesn't get driven in the snow or salt. All I'm saying is don't limit yourself just do your homework. These cars are never gonna be worth a ton of money anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I agree TGO, I'm not going to limit myself. I have seen some really clean Impalas up North and out east. I was just really shocked at some of the one's I came across. I think maintenance is the key. Like you said before it's not like we are discussing Ferrari's here. LOL!
 
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