The “Scoop” section of the March 26, 2020, issue of Old Cars stated that the last Chevrolet Impala was driven off of General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant on the morning of Feb. 27. “The last Impala is reportedly spoken for by a private owner,” said the last line of the news article. After the story ran in Old Cars, a reader wrote to us to say he knew where the last Impala went — it was part of his collection!
The private owner who purchased that car was none other than noted Chevrolet collector M.G. “Pinky” Randall of Houghton Lake, Mich. At 92 years of age, Randall has not given up car collecting or even purchasing “last Impalas.” In 1996, Randall bought the last Impala SS, which he subsequently sold to the GM Heritage Center years later.
Randall purchased his latest “last” Impala, a cherry red 2020 model, from Terry Corrigan’s Classic Chevrolet dealership in Lake City, Mich., but putting the deal together took a little doing.
“There was news last year that the Impala would be produced only until the fall of 2019, presumably about late October,” Pinky Randall told Old Cars. “I learned this in about March or April of 2019. I made many inquiries about the Impala early on, but never did get much of a response from the factories or the dealers. I did have a close relationship with my dealer and we kept an eye on what was happening with the Impala model.”
According to Randall, there wasn’t much information, but he stayed in close touch with Terry Corrigan, who kept him posted.
“We watched the production barometer very closely and had figured out that the last Impala might happen about October of 2019,” Randall said. “That estimate was close at that time, but many things changed, such as a United Auto Workers strike that came about last fall. All of the plants were closed and our communications were obviously closed as well.”
Randall didn’t give up, however. He made the order with his dealer and the dealer kept in close contact with the Chevrolet Field representative. “The field man knew our plan and was interested in the outcome,” said Randall. “We kept close track of the strike activities, its progress, the UAW and GM. We were confident that our plan would work out. I thank Terry Corrigan for keeping very good track of where we were on closing the deal on the last Impala. I thank him very much for his concern and interest in the deal.”
The car was eventually produced and Classic Chevrolet and Randall received the date of manufacture and an approximate date for delivery. Then, another problem arose — car manufacturing was closed down as the coronavirus became a big part of life in America. That was followed by the closing of automobile dealers until late spring or even early summer.
“The car was delivered to the dealer, however,” Randall said. “And the dealer did send me photos of the Impala while it was on the haul-away truck and also in front of the Classic Chevrolet dealership.”
Now that shutdown measures are being lifted, Randall hopes to pick up the Impala soon.
Randall’s experience purchasing the last Impala was far different from when he bought the last Impala SS almost 24 years ago. That car was built on Dec. 13, 1996, and Randall visited the Arlington, Texas, assembly plant where he drove the car off the line and even spoke about his collection of Chevrolets. At that time, “Mr. Chevy’s” collection numbered 46 vehicles and included a 1914 Baby Grand touring sedan, a 1930 roadster pickup truck and a green 1969 Corvair convertible that was one of the last eight made.
While the last Impala SS was built before Christmas in 1996, Randall did not get to take it home then. The $26,000 car was ordered through Thomas Motors in Houghton Lake, Mich., and was shipped there after it had been built. Randall drove it out of the Thomas Motors showroom on Jan. 24, 1997. It had just 15 miles on its odometer.
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