Ahh, Metallicar. Baby. The Impala. Which will forever be capitalized.
I adore this car – I have always been a big fan of muscle cars, ergo…..yum.
In the first two Seasons, the Impala had a Kansas license plate – KAZ 2Y5. Towards the end of Season 2, the license plate changed to CNK 80Q3, from Ohio. This change wasn’t much of a surprise to longtime Supernatural fans, because as we all know – the boys need to fly under the radar when it comes to the ‘authorities’.
The importance of this car doesn’t exactly become clear all at once. When I watched Seasons 1-6 back to back, it becomes so much more very quickly. But over 6 years of watching, it reveals itself one hour a week.
Over time, it becomes obvious that this is the only home the Winchester’s have; it is the only constant in their lives, other than Bobby Singer, demons and angels. It poses not only as transportation, but as a home base, and a place of sanctuary – for Dean, especially.
Whenever the Winchesters are having a serious ‘feelings’ talk, it mostly takes place in the Impala. It has become such a staple in this show that when Sam was soulless and driving the new Charger, even *I* cheered when it was crushed by Castiel and Uriel. Sam: “My car!” Dean: “Silver lining!”
This car is Dean and Sam’s family, their connection to their father and their past. When Dean took his frustrations out on it and beat the trunk in on Season 2, Episode 2 – Everybody Loves a Clown, it is almost the only time we see Dean expressing any emotion over John Winchester’s passing. And we know that since the Impala is his only connection to his father now, that is Dean’s way of showing his rage with his father for trading his life for Dean’s.
In a flashback to 1997, we see the license plate is BQN 9R3 when John is dropping Dean and Sam off at school. This gives us more of an idea how long the car has been in the family. And later, in Season 4, Episode 3 – The Beginning, we see Dean travel back to 1973 and convince a young John Winchester to buy the Impala instead of a VW van.
The little things make this car home for the Winchester boys – the army man Sam stuck in the ashtray, the lego pieces that Dean stuffed into the heating vents (that still rattle when the heat is on). The little things maintain this connection to everything they have lost.
It’s so much more than a car. It’s The Impala. It’s Metallicar. It’s home.
On a personal note, I almost missed Matt Cohen’s Friday afternoon panel when I attended the Salute to Supernatural Convention in Toronto in October 2011. I left the hotel after checking in to go to my car and get my bags, and THIS was parked beside me: