1963 Impala SS 409 Matches Numbers, Shows Quirky Footwork Setup, Wants New Owner

1963 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 20 photos
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 4091963 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
1963 was a feelings mixer for motorists and gearheads driving across the United States of Automobile. On the one hand, the Impala dropped the Z-11 gauntlet only to retract it almost immediately as soon as it hit the strip, less than two months into production. Chevy fans were gratified with three versions of the fabled 409 V8 to make up for this, reaching its all-time horsepower peak that year.
In a stroke of cosmic luck, the 409 engine and the ‘Super Sport’ moniker debuted in the same year – 1961 – without any direct correlation between the two events. Some SS Chevys were armed with the notorious V8, but the famous performance letters carried on long after the big block was retired at the end of 1965.

If we were to compile a list of the most iconic Impalas of all time, the 1963 model year would probably make it very high up – if not to the top. Granted, that year was full of memorable events – starting with the infamously prematurely canceled Z-11 and its stroked 409-based 427 cubic-incher (seven liters) of track terror and ending with the Kennedy tragedy, just two months after the Pontiac GTO hit the market.

Yes, there was the Riviera and the Wildcat. We could probably continue for half an eternity and still have something left out. Suffice it to say that in June of that year, Chevrolet rolled off its 50 millionth automobile - on June 10, 1963, an Impala SS built at the Tarrytown, New York plant, received the accolades.

1963 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
It was one of the more than 153,000 SS-badged Chevrolet Impalas built for the model year alone (out of a total production of over 832,000 units of the nameplate). The numbers should put into perspective the size of the Super Sport pool in the early sixties. But let’s remember that, in its early days, the SS was a trim level, not a performance package, so everything went with it – including measly Sixes slurping alongside the badass 409s.

1963 was also the best year for the 409-cubic-inch Chevrolet V8 motor: the 6.7-liter wight-cylinder mill was cast in almost 17,000 copies (16,902, to be spot-on accurate). Naturally, they weren’t reserved for the Impala badge – sources collide and don’t settle on a definitive number, but segregation begins here.

The 409 V8 of 1963 was the most generous of all its model-year cousins: three different outputs were offered – 340 hp, 400 hp, and 425 hp. Engineering and mathematics go hand in hand, but so does accounting, unfortunately: the respective RPM levels at which the cited numbers were attained at 5,000, 5,800, and 6,000 revolutions, which should raise the question about measurement reporting consistency.

1963 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
Nonetheless, all suspicions aside, the dual-quad 425-hp 409 was the absolute king of the performance hill in 1963, mostly because there wasn’t any real competition. The pony car brawl would only debut in 1964 (Barracuda and Mustang, in that order). The muscle car craze was also set for that year, one later than when this Impala SS 409 featured in our story hit the streets.

Sadly, its owner doesn’t specify what version of the 409 V8 is in it. Still, there’s only one carburetor, leaving the 425-hp fantasy out. The car is weathered but appears solid enough to withstand an affordable project refreshment before getting back on the road. The vehicle is offered for sale, and the proprietor (located in Richmond, British Columbia) claims that some tender loving care is all it needs to run and drive again.

34,365.5 miles (55,294.1 kilometers) on the clock – but it’s best to ask the seller if the odometer hasn’t rolled over. Despite the deceiving appearance of the console-stabbing stick lever, the car is automatic, as we can deduct from the pair of pedals installed in a reverse pattern. If some car nut decides to cough up the $30,000 (not clear if Canadian or Uncle Sam’s Federal Reserve legal tender), they should pay attention to the left foot, as that’s where the accelerator sits (see the photo below for the visual cue).

1963 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
The seller says this barn find, currently registered in B.C., would need some work, as three small rust holes on the floor should be patched. Otherwise, this matching-numbers gem is solid and straight. It has all the essential parts – even the glass is ‘in great condition’ – including all four SS hub caps and the stainless-steel air breather lid. Notably, some unnamed extra parts will accompany the purchase – trades are welcome should anyone be interested.

1963 was the last year the SS emblem adorned the Impala as a trim option indicator; starting in 1964, the Super Sport became a separate sub-series under the broad Impala umbrella. In 1965, the 409 gave its last performance: beginning with the 1966 model year, the big-block option was delegated to the 396-cubic-inch V8 (6.5-liter) – another Chevy legend that went on to write history.
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About the author: Razvan Calin
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After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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