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Discussion Starter #1
I never thought I'd actually be confused about this topic in my life. I just picked up a 96 impala SS. It's off a friend of a friend. If the car is a fraud, i don't think the kid knew or did any of the work.

I think this car is a 95 impala or it is a 95-96 Caprice that just so happened to be black with grey interior. I am mainly leaning towards a 95.

Tell me what you think:

List of shady things about this "96 SS" that makes me think its a 95:

1. The Speedo Cluster does not work. It is a 96 cluster. I understand they go bad, but when I put the key in and put it on the ON position, only like 3 idiot lights come on for a second. CHECK ENGINE not included. My question is, if i were to put a 96 cluster in a 95, what would and wouldn't work in it?

2. The Shifter/center console. It does have a 96 cluster and console in it. Problem is that the SHIFTER assembly is the only thing that is bolted down. The console itself is not bolted down, and i can just lift it over the shifter. I think it was a conversion.

3. There for SOME REASON is a 94-95 steering column in it. It has an aftermarket stainless steel steering wheel. But it has the NUB on the column sticking out where the gear lever would be. Very strange. Don't know why someone would put a 95 column in a 96 impala. Also does NOT have a chip in the key

4. The car was stolen during the period the 2nd owner had the car. I bought the car off of the 3rd owner, so i know it was not his fault. Anyway, the VIN number had to be legally replaced. So he did that. So there is a new VIN Plate in the dash. Its blue. Actually looks like a newer car vin plate.

5. THere are weird body differences. The passenger fender does NOT have a spot for the antenna. Its either been shaved, or maybe the 96 never came with one.

6. The door handles on the driver door and front door have NO keyhole. No spot for a key to unlock and lock your doors manually. Never seen that in my life.

7. Headlights are caprice headlights, and not impala headlights. No black strip on top of the lights.

I am at just a loss here. All the usual suspects are here, and they look STOCK as if it was like this from the dealer. Rims, Springs, Emblems, Trunk Emblems, interior color, interior itself is all impala interior. Auto dim rear view, map lights in back seat, change holder and T/S headlight switch.

Any advice would be great. Thanks
 

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If it was stolen at one point it's possible that the owner pieced back together as cheaply as possible therefore mixing and matching parts without much regard for having the correct parts. Who knows what damage was done during the theft but we know at least the column would have been busted so that'd explain the odd column you have. It was available and works so they slapped it in. Say there was other misc damages you could easily explain the headlights and what not. So I'd bet you have a '96 that was just poorly reassembled after the theft.
 

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Run the VIN, or easier, make sure the SPID on the trunk reads WX3 in there and there should also be one on the door. But definitely the trunk. Guys never go to the hassle of getting a SS trunk lid that has the WX3 sticker on it. If it's gone, I'd bet it's a caprice. But, run the VIN. You can do it on a few sites for under 5 bucks.
 

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There are a lot of tell-tale signs in a Caprice vs. a Impala. some that are more subtle than others, but if done right its hard to tell. I've seen some cars sold as an Impala with a lot of clues it was a Caprice. Maybe post up some pics of what you got.

Obviously the VIN is one way to determine what you got and also the trunk lid codes but keep in mind the trunk lid could easily be swapped too.

One thing for certain is only the Impala's had the Floor plate for the console welded to the floor. The center console is pretty easy to remove like you said, why not just pull it out and look for the plate and make sure it is one that was not welded later or bolted to the floor. but if you have a theft recovery vehicle, there is no telling what the Insurance company, old owner and/or repair shop did to get her back on the road. With part interchangability on these cars.....anything is possible.
 

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If the VIN has been replaced with a new VIN and it's not the factory VIN then that may not be 100% accurate I wouldn't think.
 

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I would try a couple different things. Carfax, get an online insurance quote. It should tell u what that vin comes back as. Try hooking a scan tool to it. The vin that comes up in that scan tool should match the tag. If not, do the insurance quote with the one that comes up on the scan tool. Even still could have a swapped pc. The nub in the steering column sounds suspect.
 

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The nub in the steering column sounds suspect.
Yes, that would be another indication this is not a 96 Impala.

But, it is possible that thieves busted up the column so badly in stealing the car, that the shop/owner/insurance got a used part and made it work. 96 columns are no where near as easy to find as a 91-96 Caprice column.

Anything is possible at this point when it comes to bolton items. That's why I was wondering if there was a shift plate (since he indicated the console was not mounted) that was factory welded to the trans tunnell. That would be hard to replicate with the spot welds and then factory paint on top of it....at least correctly.
 

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But, it is possible that thieves busted up the column so badly in stealing the car, that the shop/owner/insurance got a used part and made it work. 96 columns are no where near as easy to find as a 91-96 Caprice column.
My thoughts exactly which is the basis for my original post. It's entirely possible that what he has is a '96 Imp but the damage was "repaired" with random parts that are now raising questions.
 

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The car sounds a bit shady just from a "questionable used car" point-of-view, not even considering the Impala vs. Caprice thing.

There should be lock cylinders on the doors, and yes, you could get a power antenna in '96 (damned, EVIL things - power antenna is the dumbest idea ever...). I thought all Impala SSes had power antenna, but I'll defer to the experts on that.

7. Headlights are caprice headlights, and not impala headlights. No black strip on top of the lights.
I don't get this one: is there really a difference between Caprice and Impala headlights? To what "black strip" are you referring?

Other than the trunk lid (which is presumably off of an Impala regardless), will the WX3 code appear on other identification on the car? Definitely check that.

Considering that the Impala package was just an option on a Caprice, and as long as you didn't pay big money for it (which, with the problems it has, I'm assuming you didn't), then "real vs. fake" likely isn't too important.
 

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The car sounds a bit shady just from a "questionable used car" point-of-view, not even considering the Impala vs. Caprice thing.

There should be lock cylinders on the doors, and yes, you could get a power antenna in '96 (damned, EVIL things - power antenna is the dumbest idea ever...). I thought all Impala SSes had power antenna, but I'll defer to the experts on that.



I don't get this one: is there really a difference between Caprice and Impala headlights? To what "black strip" are you referring?

Other than the trunk lid (which is presumably off of an Impala regardless), will the WX3 code appear on other identification on the car? Definitely check that.

Considering that the Impala package was just an option on a Caprice, and as long as you didn't pay big money for it (which, with the problems it has, I'm assuming you didn't), then "real vs. fake" likely isn't too important.
the impala head lights have a black strip along the top of them.
 

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the impala head lights have a black strip along the top of them.
I gathered that's what he was going for by his comment LOL. I've never noticed this feature, though. Do you have a side-by-side comparison, or even a close-up of this strip? Is it on the top of the bezel, the front of the lens, etc.?

Edit: is the bar on the top of the lens what you mean (see link)? What is the purpose of that, and why do Impalas have it but Caprices don't?

http://mrimpalasautoparts.com/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=253&zenid=7e72d3c5c4345965f4dc6988ae1cbb00
 

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the impala head lights have a black strip along the top of them.

Do all imps have that strip? The 95 I parted out did not have it but my 96 imp does.
 

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I thought I read that Wx3 could also be found on the firewall somewhere on the driver side on a true SS. Does the VIN on the door match any of the other ones? The sticker on the door should also call for 17" wheels.
 

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My 95 SS has the black strip on the headlights..
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If it was stolen at one point it's possible that the owner pieced back together as cheaply as possible therefore mixing and matching parts without much regard for having the correct parts. Who knows what damage was done during the theft but we know at least the column would have been busted so that'd explain the odd column you have. It was available and works so they slapped it in. Say there was other misc damages you could easily explain the headlights and what not. So I'd bet you have a '96 that was just poorly reassembled after the theft.
I agree... that was one thing i was thinking if it were a 96
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Run the VIN, or easier, make sure the SPID on the trunk reads WX3 in there and there should also be one on the door. But definitely the trunk. Guys never go to the hassle of getting a SS trunk lid that has the WX3 sticker on it. If it's gone, I'd bet it's a caprice. But, run the VIN. You can do it on a few sites for under 5 bucks.

There is not one sticker on this car... they were all stripped off. none in the door, none in the trunk.

I did a full carfax on the vin. What i think is that its possible it could be a 95 impala or a 95-96 caprice with a new vin plate.

The vin plate was issued by the state of PA about a year ago. the vin plate is new. Its blue. Title even says it was issued a new vin plate.

this is why i think someone got a body of a caprice or 95 impala and put that on
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There are a lot of tell-tale signs in a Caprice vs. a Impala. some that are more subtle than others, but if done right its hard to tell. I've seen some cars sold as an Impala with a lot of clues it was a Caprice. Maybe post up some pics of what you got.

Obviously the VIN is one way to determine what you got and also the trunk lid codes but keep in mind the trunk lid could easily be swapped too.

One thing for certain is only the Impala's had the Floor plate for the console welded to the floor. The center console is pretty easy to remove like you said, why not just pull it out and look for the plate and make sure it is one that was not welded later or bolted to the floor. but if you have a theft recovery vehicle, there is no telling what the Insurance company, old owner and/or repair shop did to get her back on the road. With part interchangability on these cars.....anything is possible.
That is true... but the car has a new black carpet in it. So i can't really tell if there are stock welds to hold it down, because the carpet wasn't cut back that far . was basically installed half ass. but i will have to cut the carpet when i have some free time and see

thanks for the response
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The car sounds a bit shady just from a "questionable used car" point-of-view, not even considering the Impala vs. Caprice thing.

There should be lock cylinders on the doors, and yes, you could get a power antenna in '96 (damned, EVIL things - power antenna is the dumbest idea ever...). I thought all Impala SSes had power antenna, but I'll defer to the experts on that.



I don't get this one: is there really a difference between Caprice and Impala headlights? To what "black strip" are you referring?

Other than the trunk lid (which is presumably off of an Impala regardless), will the WX3 code appear on other identification on the car? Definitely check that.

Considering that the Impala package was just an option on a Caprice, and as long as you didn't pay big money for it (which, with the problems it has, I'm assuming you didn't), then "real vs. fake" likely isn't too important.
Thanks for the response...

I actually picked this car up in a trade. I traded a car that i basically paid $2500 for months back, for this impala.

the difference between Impala Headlights, and Caprice headlights are... the Impala SS headlights have a black strip on to top of them.
 
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