1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 4-Speed Project

This one is a bit of a challenge. The listing is a mind-run of information with later comments that correct the original text. And as the seller states, the car is on a lift in a shop so getting a comprehensive image, beyond this lead-in photo, is a challenge. All of that said, this is one car to review as it is a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS with a 409 engine. It is located in Charleston, West Virginia and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of  $23,400 with 46 bids tendered so far.

Right off the bat, the seller states that there is no engine, and there is not one installed in the car but he does actually have one that is included in the sale. In ’64, there were three different 409 engines available in the big Chevy, 340, 400, and 425 HP. The 425 version was equipped with two four-barrel carburetors and that’s what’s included with this car. It has the correct “QB” engine code but it is not the original engine. It is referenced as “T0423 QB” which means the Tonawanda, NY engine plant, and an April 23rd build date – again, QB references the 425 HP engine. The seller lists this car’s assembly date as 03D (fourth week of March) but then revises it to 03C (third week of March) so the engine is close but not date correct. The motor has been enlarged with a .030″ overbore as well as had some other enhancements but there is no reference to a test firing or operating prowess. There is also a 1964 era Muncie Four-speed manual transmission included but the seller does not disclose if it’s original to the car.

The exterior, in its Ember Red finish, presents pretty well and the seller describes it as, “Paint will need buffed in a few places, places are in pictures, hard to describe, need to come and look, paint job is super other than that“. He further states that the body panels are original, except for the hood, the front bumper is missing but new emblems are included. All in all, the car is referenced as having a good body. Of note, all four coil springs have been removed and thus the stance – but he does have new springs to be installed. The seller adds that this Impala originally had a white vinyl top covering installed but I can’t find evidence of that as an option in ’64. I suppose it could have been added at a later time. It’s unfortunate that a comprehensive image or images are not available because the exterior shows, in glimpses, to be very clean.

The interior of this Impala has been gutted, but the basis for what’s there looks pretty good as in the floors show to be sound. There is one image that may reveal a patch panel on the passenger side, but it’s not clear. The “878” interior code indicates white upholstery with a red instrument panel, steering wheel, and carpet. The seller advises that he “should” have all of the interior, including the console – though he does mention it needs a headliner. There is a factory tachometer installed with a 6,000 RPM red-line, so that’s pretty indicative of the original high-performance nature of this Impala’s “born-with” engine, unless, of course, the tach was switched out at some point – no reason to assume that.

While a valuable car no doubt, the disheveled existing condition is a bit of a distraction, and the non-original engine will keep this car from attaining its full market value potential. Nevertheless, it’s a valuable car in its own right. The eBay ad doesn’t state this as a reserve auction but the seller does include, “don’t ask for reserve” and “car will not be cheap“. I’m skeptical of “parts” projects, and the disorganized nature of this desirable Impala doesn’t instill confidence. And speaking of parts, there are many images of the interior, drive-line, steering components, etc., so please check them all out – it’s extensive. It would seem, if one is running a reserve auction for what is ostensibly a valuable car, then it should be listed, up-front, as a reserve auction and promoted in a fashion fitting of a car of this nature. Is that asking too much?


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  1. JohnnyH

    Giddy up, Giddy up, 409!

    Like 3
  2. local_sheriff

    At least black vinyl tops were available for ’63 and ’64 GM fullsizers and it would surprise me if a white top wasn’t available OE too. I know I’ve seen a ’62 GP with a white vinyl roof somewhere but I cannot state whether that was an OE top.


    Personally I think a vinyl roof has nothing to do on any of these cars so it’s a good thing it was deleted here

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I have seen them applied after the fact, once they caught on in popularity in the late ’60s. There was even a “sprayed on” version with fake seams.

      I looked at the ’63 Chevrolet sales brochure and couldn’t find a reference to it as an option.

      Completely agree, this car is much better without it.


      Like 1
      • local_sheriff

        I’ve never done any research on the matter before, simply ’cause I’ve never cared much for them either…

        At this site they refer to the cowl tag codes for both black and white vinyl roofs for the ’64 at least. Scroll down to the ‘Convertible and Vinyl Tops’ paragraph


      • local_sheriff

        Vinyl top option RPO C08 costing $75.35, black or white. I found a source claiming 10.395 Sport Coupes received it for ’63, 7.294 for ’64

        Like 1
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        OK, good to know.



  3. 409 Jim

    Just a quick caveat, Solid liftered 409’s came with a tach that is redlined at 7,000 RPM. I’d need to see the car in person before laying out big money on it.

    Like 4
  4. Steve Clinton

    This lowrider Chevy seems to be screaming ‘East L.A. here I come!’

    Like 1
  5. Russ Ashley

    I’ve always liked vinyl tops but they can be rust magnets around the windshield and back glass. I had one sprayed on with the fake seams on a 1953 Plymouth coupe I had back in 1967 and it looked great over the dark metallic green paint on the car. This will be a sweet ride when it gets put back together. I would love to be able to purchase it but my days of buying cars in what you might call kit form are over. Over fifty bidders so it’s going to be a mad scramble in the last few seconds of the auction.

  6. Jonathan deMont

    Muncie is not the correct transmission. It would have come with a T-10 in 1964. Muncie M20 and M21 were offered 1965 and forward.

    Like 1
  7. Bill McCoskey

    Having operated a prize winning restoration shop for decades, I know about GM [and other car company] vinyl top problems. If I have a choice, even thought I like the look on some cars, I don’t want any on my cars.

    The problem associated with rust under the vinyl tops on GM cars is one that cannot be solved. The stainless steel trim around the windshield and back window are attached utilizing special studs welded to the body. The studs get painted along with the body. The trim pieces have slots that, when installed, the slots surround the studs in a negative clearance fit, CUTTING INTO THE PAINT. Once the trim pieces are installed, the first time the car is washed or gets rained on, the studs rust a little bit. Every time the car gets wet around the windows, the studs rust more. Eventually the rust continues out to the exposed body panels, where it becomes visible or causes those bubbles under the top material.

    When the car has a vinyl top, the top material edges are kept in place by the same trim. When installed correctly, the top material is slit and surrounds the studs. Having a fabric backing, the vinyl top material under the trim piece, holds excess water between the body and the top material, for long periods of time, creating an accelerated rust situation.

    The only way to not have the studs rust, is to never, ever, wash the car or let the window and roof areas get wet. We all know that’s not a reasonable situation. So if you get your car wet on a regular basis, expect that eventually it’s gonna need rust repair and a new vinyl top.

    Like 6
  8. Gabe

    I’ve owned a 1964 SS with a 4 speed Muncie since august of 1991….all original..2nd owner

    Like 4
  9. Rustytech Member

    I had a 64 SS with the Muncie 4sp. behind a 327 ci. Back in the early 70’s. I wish I had it now!

  10. HC

    I spent 2-3 yrs restoring a 64 Impala SS and it takes time to get everything right. This car still has a long way to go before its worth what hes asking. Engine along with its exhaust and transmission all connected. From what I can tell new suspension or at least rebuilt along with at least front disc brake conversion along with new hard lines. Not to mention headliner and all interior which in and of itself is no cakewalk. Maybe he should get it all done and then try selling when its completed.

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