Giddy-Up Giddy-Up! 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS 409

This one is going to be a quicky! Why? There are three images and virtually no details in the listing so I’ll fill in the blanks where I can. We have, for review, a 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS equipped with a song-worthy 409 CI engine. It is located in Belleville, Illinois and available, here on eBay for a current bid of $13,500, reserve not yet met. Generally, a 409 equipped anything (Impala, BelAir, Biscayne) trades for big dollars, they are very collectible! This example, being the top flight Impala SS, would make it even that more enticing. Why then, in the Sam Hill, would the seller be so parsimonious with the details?

Chevrolet’s 409 CI engine was introduced in mid-’61 to replace the 348 CI motor. It is referred to as a “W” head but not because of the shape of the heads but because the compression chamber is a “W”edge formed in the upper part of the cylinder. The 409 gave way in late January of ’65 to the new 396 CI Turbo-Jet Mark IV motor. And actually the Mark IV was a follow-on development of the 427 CI Mark II motor that Chevrolet brought to Daytona in February 1963 so the “new” 396 wasn’t really new in architecture but was new in production form. The original 409 engine in ’61 generated 360 gross HP. In ’62, two versions appeared, a 380 gross HP, single four-barrel carburetor equipped variety and a dual-four set-up cranking out a goal-worthy one HP per CI or 409 HP. Chevrolet upped the ante in ’63 with three flavors, 340, 400, and a now top dog, 425 HP dual quad variant. Ditto in ’64 and then the wind-down in ’65 with just 340 and 400 HP choices. While always a strong performer on the drag-strip, the 409 didn’t have the right stuff for NASCAR. Power generation wasn’t a problem, holding the lower end together at high RPM for four to five hundred miles is where the challenge presented itself. Which engine does this Impala possess? The seller doesn’t state specifically but he does add, “this engine will come with fresh rebuild with the rare aluminum 4 barrel intake and electronic dist…” That would indicate a 400 HP version but there’s no way to know for sure without an inspection. And there is no claim that the included 409 engine is original to this Impala. The seller advises that he has a dated Muncie four-speed manual transmission and that is notable as the Muncie was introduced in mid-’63. So, how does all of this bowtie greatness operate? Don’t know.

The seller advises that this Chevy is an original 409 car and needs restoration. From what little is revealed, the body looks fair though there is some rust visible in the lower driver’s side quarter. The trim appears to be all present, though slightly dented, and the finish is actually presentable, no telling if it is original. As a perk, the seller does have $9K worth of sheet metal included in the sale. This Chevy is wearing an interesting set of wheels, they appear to have been lifted from a Chevy S-10 pickup truck or something similar. I wish there were many more images, and there should be, as well as some detail regarding the interior but there isn’t.

The bidding time is almost up and there will probably be more questions than answers. On the surface, this is a desirable and collectible automobile from the era before the muscle car craze really took over – full-size was where the action was in ’63.  And for that reason, this Impala SS deserves more sales pizazz, don’t you think?

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  1. gerardfrederick

    It appears the seller is counting on the gullibility of a buyer who always wanted this type car. In reality, there are too many questions, indicating the seller is hiding unpleasant things. There are entirely too many decent cars of this type out there to bother with this one.

    Like 20
    • Steve R

      It’s worth enquiring about if you live locally, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Sometimes, but not often, a seller is just being lazy and there is an opportunity to pick up a good deal. However, this ad has the earmarks a seller being deceptive by omission.

      Steve R

      Like 28
    • Michael

      Gerard is a smart man.

      Like 1
    • jerry brentnell

      they can keep this boat anchor 409, me I”d rather have a 63 plymouth sport fury with a 426 max wedge 4 speed which would eat this ss tank alive all day long, just like it did in 63! and thats a fact jack!

      Like 5
  2. Steve S

    This would be really fun to drive and jam the gears in if it’s the 425 hp 409.

    Like 6
  3. Mark

    For those looking at the badge…..enlarge the pic and take a close look at the 9…..shouldn’t be a visible offset hole and the bottom of the 9 looks like it’s been pryed on.

    Like 4
    • Jerold Lyons

      Yes, looks like the “4” is broken and doesn’t even match up. Looks altered.

      Like 5
    • Angrymike

      It looks as if it’s rusted away behind the numbers, like the holes rusted open. Could be legit.

      Like 1
    • Mike P

      And the 409 is not centered with V

  4. Mountainwoodie

    It’s all a secret!

    Like 4
  5. Classic Steel

    Its non matching numbers….

    When one states date correct _____..: it never ends well 🥺
    So be evasive and hope someone bites…

    Like 7
    • PatrickM

      He thought he had good fishing tackle. Sold for $16,100.00…so Ebay ad says. If the seller had taken some time and (1) done his/her research well, and been truthful about all this, the car probably could have sold for more than $20K. I didn’t even get a chance to see interior pics, etc. So many folks leave money on the table.

  6. Ganjoka

    Nothing like a dirty broken fender badge to bring top dollar I always say!

    Like 6
  7. David Buswell

    They had it on a hoist.But no pictures?

    Like 5
  8. Larry

    I have always said what they don’t say is more important than what they do say.

    Like 4
  9. John A Westphalen

    ’85 Monte Carlo SS wheels, I believe…

  10. moosie moosie Member

    The ebay listing says it sold on 9/11 and ended at 8 P.M. for $ 16,100. Seller got lucky, some poor soul wanted it. I hope it is bought back to life properly.

    Like 5
    • Larry

      And the seller was a first-timer on ebay. I am always leery of them.

      Like 3
  11. dennis applegate

    The 348 and 409 motors were bad from the beginning they had a serious problem of rod and main bearing not holding up in these engines this could of happen because of flaws in the blocks or also in rods and crank

    • Bill Alvarado

      In 1967 A guy who worked at the Shell Station I worked at in San Francisco, had a 409 in a ’56 Chevy 210 sedan. A bit of story background on this for some color. I worked at this Shell station by Fisherman’s wharf on Bay street. It was a huge station (4 service Bays & 8 pumps, 2 full time mechanics, the owner & his son and about 12 employees for 24 hour operations.) Anyway, this guy Aldo, who worked there was connected to local midnight auto distributors and they would get Corvette 327’s. 427’s, SS 409’s, and any other muscle car engines that they could get. In his defense he was one of the first Vietnam vets who went in ’64 and came back in ’66 from a prison camp experience, torture and other wartime ailments and he was really damaged. He was a nice guy but just crazy. He drove this car so hard ALL the time. He blew several engines (stolen) in this car. He ran 4;11’s,4:56’s and whatever 4 speed he could get, blowing those also along the way. His car was set up like a funny car with the front raised by welding one spindle on top of another ( I think they called them “dropped spindles”) and flipping the perch over on the rear and adding a few leafs, so it wouldn’t give much. He regularly shifted these motors (balanced, wild cams, domed pistons, etc. ) at their maximum of about 6500 -6700, all the time. To finally end this story, one night, he starts on Bay street at the Embarcadero, at about 1:00 A.M Heading towards the station at Columbus Ave. We all hung out at night drinking beer and there was no one around so we could step out in the street and watch him from way off. No mistaking it even from a distance because the headlight were about 4′ from the pavement bobbing up and down as he shifted. He missed one of those 65-6700 shifts. The tach had a redline that stuck at the highest shift point. it was at about 76-7700. We got a chain and dragged it 10 blocks or so back to the station. The engine just twisted itself to death. There was a hole through a freeze plug on the right side, a piece of the block where it meets the pan on the left side was gone. We think that was the piece we found embedded into the asphalt around the oil spill on the street. Somehow the fan must have got hit by debris, because it broke and one blade made a knife cut in the hood and another piece went through the radiator, somehow the valve spring retainers let go on some of the valves and the made little dimples in the valve covers. The inside of the engine was all wrapped around each other. The most unbelievable thing that even our boss said he had never seen was that the front of the block at the bottom of the block, separated from the rest of the block. Imagine looking at the side of the front of the block and just above where the oil pan bolts are, the block had separated about the thickness of a finger. Maybe 1/2′ -3/4′ from the rest of the block. Next week he had a 427 in it.

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