History of the 409 Impala

The 1962 or 3rd generation Impala is considered by many to be the best looking ever, rivaling the ’57, but in a bigger, bolder way. You could get one of two optional high-performance 409 big-block engines in any full-size Chevy: 380 horsepower with an “E” series (650 cfm) Carter four-barrel carb, or 409 horsepower with two “D” series (500 cfm each) Carter AFB carbs. The only difference in the engines was the induction.

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In all, 15,062 ’62 409 engines were assembled at the Tonawanda Engine Plant, and 8,909 of them were shipped to respective big car assembly plants for new vehicle installation. The remaining 6,153 went to the GM Parts Distribution Center for shipment to dealership parts departments. The RPO 580 380-horsepower 409 cost $320.65, while the RPO 587 409-horsepower 409 cost $376.65.

 

With 142 409s selling the year before, Chevrolet was not particularly expecting this kind of sales increase to 15,062 in 1962. The competition did not sell nearly as many high-performance big-blocks as Chevrolet did. How many four-speed full-size Chevys were sold in 1962? Exactly 25,448. That’s a bunch. Three-speed? An unbelievable 338,695. Add another 16,795 with “overdrive.”

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The 1962 model featured new “C” pillar styling for all models except the 4-door hardtop. Sport Coupe models now featured the “convertible roof” styling, shared with other GM “B” full-size hardtop coupes. This style proved extremely popular, and contributed to the desirability of the 1962–1964 Impalas as collectibles. The “overhang” roof style of the sedans was replaced with a more attractive, wider “C” pillar with wraparound rear window.  The Beach Boys produced a hit single, “409,” referring to the Chevrolet, which became an iconic song for these cars.  Impalas again featured premium interior appointments, plusher seats, pillar mounted seat belts as well as lap belts, this could also be done by the dealerships on customer request.  More chrome trim outside, including a full-width aluminum-and-chrome panel to house the triple-unit taillight assembly. Super Sport (SS) models featured that panel in a special engine-turned aluminum, which was also used to fill the side moldings, making the SS more distinctive in appearance.

 

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The year 1962 marked Chevrolet’s 50th production anniversary.  There was even a special color code created called “Anniversary Gold” to celebrate this.  You must admit there is nothing like the look of an early 60’s Chevy muscle car with it’s stuck up stance, snorting at you with a “Dual Quad 409”.

 

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Below is a video of a 409 Impala that we currently have in our inventory, be sure to turn up your speakers so you can hear this beast roar!

 

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