Who would have thought an alcoholic with two ex-wives, and three blocked arteries would be the first person to own “the most important object in pretty much the whole universe?” Okay, I know what you’re thinking. How can a 1967 Chevrolet Impala carry so much cosmic significance?
When a car takes part in the eternal battle between good and evil, quelling the likes of Lucifer and his minions, it’s a pretty good sign there’s something special under the hood. On September 13, 2005, The WB Television Network put the ’67 Chevy Impala back on the map, allowing it to take center stage in the hit series, Supernatural.
Of course, with entire conventions devoted to the show cropping up from Nashville to London, and the city of Austin, Texas declaring June 23 “Supernatural Day,” it’s no wonder the show’s dynamic duo are not the only stars of this TV program. Instead, characters Dean and Sam Winchester share the limelight with a black, 1967 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop Sedan.
On the show, the car was described by Dean as having specs similar to the 1967 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan 327 V-8 Turbo-Fire 275-hp. In reality, the “hero” Impala seen in the show runs a 502-cubic-inch, big-block V-8 engine. (In the film industry, a car used for closeup shots and cutaway scenes goes by the name “hero car.”) Not to mention, Dean’s “Baby” sits on a built Hotchkiss performance suspension and has under 20,000 miles. Also, the hero car probably goes a lot faster than the 8-second, 0-60 mph car represented in the show.
Car or Character?
Passed down from their estranged, but beloved father, the Winchester brothers look to the car as a sanctuary on wheels. Not only does it get the two demon-hunters around in style, but it also serves as a lethal luggage compartment. By the same token, the trunk is chock-full of evil-fighting armaments, phony IDs, and a slew of other munitions. So, we see, like any great movie car, the ’67 Impala isn’t just a common conveyance.
Despite some minor imperfections caused by the Winchester boys, such as Legos® rattling around in the radiator and a plastic army man stuck in the back-seat ashtray, the car is in incredible condition, let alone customized with a line lock braking system for burning some serious rubber. Additionally, it features the Impala sports bench seating upfront. And even rocks a cassette-deck so the boys can hunt demons properly to the tunes of AC/DC.
That said, the filming of Supernatural used a total of seven Impalas…so far. Yet the hero car described above takes most of the glory on set. Even so, other stunt cars include impressive features, like a built-up Chevy 350 engine block. However, none compare to the raw power and streamlined build of the hero car primarily used.
Fun Fact: One of the Impalas used on set was chopped up into portable sections to make it more camera-friendly. And, no, this car was not the one hit by a truck in the first season’s finale.
As noted, the 1967 Impala, nicknamed “Baby” by Jensen Ackles’ character Dean, could be considered just another member of the cast on the set of Supernatural. For this reason (to say nothing of Season 11, Episode 4) it would be an insult to the entire cast and crew. After all, what other show has an entire hour episode shot from a car’s point of view?
Another exciting scene involved some creative, anthropomorphic liberty taken by creator and writer Eric Kripke in Season 5, Episode 8. More specifically, this episode places the consciousness of Sam Winchester into the Impala, made to resemble K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. Who could have guessed a car would be battling against the forces of evil? Especially 30 years after David Hasselhoff parked his A.I. powered Pontiac Trans Am for good.
“Whether it was Knight Rider or Magnum P.I. or The Dukes of Hazzard – all of these shows always had a character that was a car, and I always really responded to that.” – Eric Kripke
Okay, I’ve digressed enough about the fictional character “Baby” on the show. Let’s talk a little more about this classic sedan as it exists in the real world.
The Real Deal
As we know, the 1967 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop Sedan was available in several different versions. For instance, Chevrolet manufactured the ’67 Impala Sedan with a 250-, 283-, 327-, 396-, and 427-cubic-inch engine. Nevertheless, we’re talking about the 1967 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan 327 V-8 Turbo-Fire 275-hp Powerglide (aut. 2).
This 4-door sedan has a 2-speed automatic gearbox with rear-wheel drive. Tack on the 326.7-cubic-inch engine, 355 lb-ft of torque, 275-horsepower, and a Rochester 4-barrel OHV carburetor, and you’ve got yourself the stock 1967 Chevrolet Impala from Supernatural.
At the End of the Day
Coupled with being a devil-chasing speed demon on a hit TV series, the ’67 Chevy Impala Hardtop Sedan is one hell of an automobile as well. Not only can this beast turn a quarter-mile in 17.4 seconds, but it can also go 0-100 mph in 10.1 seconds. Not too bad for a 4-door sedan, eh?