Venus was the goddess of love, a hottie that was undoubtedly voted most popular deity in ancient Roman culture and eventually inspired a couple of best-selling songs in 1959 and ’69.
The ‘Venus’ song that hit Number 1 in 1959 lacked the testosterone-fuelled sound of pure rock and roll from that era. The ‘Venus’ song that was released in late 1969 was a rock-driven pop song with sexual overtones that made ample use of guitars and an electric organ.
This brief musical history lesson about two completely different versions of a song with the same name title leads MyStarCollectorCar to our comparison of two completely different versions of the Chevy Impala, specifically the 1959 and ’69 Impalas.
There was only a ten-year gap between 1959 and 1969, but the Impala models looked centuries apart in terms of style.
The 1959 Impala embraced the Space Age vibe that marked the dawn of the race for the stars between the Soviets and Americans during the late Fifties. A ’59 Impala was an outrageous collection of horizontal tail fins and a striking front end that commanded attention then and now.
The hottest engine available in a ’59 Chevy Impala was a 348 big block with a triple 2-barrel carburetor setup that allowed this road rocket to corral about 345 horses under its hood. The result was a car ahead of its time in terms of road performance and fast enough to justify its space age appearance.
For the record, there was no similarity between Frankie Avalon’s neutered version of ‘Venus’ and the brute-force performance of a 1959 Impala in battle form, other than the fact the song and car shared the same year for success.
On the other hand, the 1969 versions of ‘Venus’ and the Impala shared plenty of similarities because both were aggressive performers in unlikely packages. The 1969 ‘Venus’ song was a pop tune with a rock vibe while the ‘69 Impala was a full-size car that could be ordered in beast mode with a very rare L72 427 engine option that housed 425 horses.
The net result was a big car that had become famous for its plus-sized comfort and was removed from its 1959 Impala version in every way-except when it came to brute force performance. The ’59 Impala looked the part, but the ’69 Impala SS 427 was a rabid wolf in giant sheep’s clothing- and a sleeper in every sense of the term because few car guys expected the big sedan to be a wild beast of a car.
The 1969 Chevy Impala was a land yacht that, in its angriest big block SS form, could ambush the competition every time it tangled with them on the street. The result was these big brutes brought the shock and awe factor to every battle when they roasted tires and the competition.
There was an extremely wide gulf in overall style between the two Impala models in just ten short years, but the cars offered beastly versions in both 1959 and 1969. It was the one bowtie that binds the two Chevies.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.