Derived from the 348-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 that arrived in 1958 as Chevrolet's first-ever big-block mill, the powerplant was announced along with the Impala SS in late 1960. Rated at 360 to 425 horsepower depending on carburetor configuration, it was Chevrolet's most powerful mill at the time. It was also the first production unit to deliver one horsepower per cubic inch.
The 409 also spawned the 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) mill that found its way into the Impala Z11, a special package created for drag racers. These rare and lightweight cars were under-rated at 430 horsepower and 575 pound-feet (780 Nm) of torque.
And before we move to the cars I'm here to discuss, I also need to point out that the Beach Boys also wrote a song about Chevrolet's 409 V8 engine. Because it speaks volumes of what kind of impact this powerplant had on the American car market in the early 1960s. And whoever owns these cars is a fan of the mill as the stash includes not one, not two, but four Chevrolet fitted with the mighty big block.
A 1961 Bel Air is the first that shows up on camera. It's one of those very desirable two-door hardtops, but that's not the only awesome thing about it. This Chevy is also an unrestored and unmolested survivor. Sure, it's covered in a thick layer of dust, but it's pretty obvious that the red paint underneath is in excellent condition. The interior also looks fantastic in that two-tone gold/silver finish. As a first-year model, this one should come with 360 horsepower on tap.
Also finished in red, the second "bubble-top" 409 hidden in this garage is a 1962 model. It also appears to be an unrestored gem in excellent condition and showcases one of the most popular color combos from the era: red over red. It's common in both the Impala and the Tri-Five, not only the Bel Air. The V8 in this one should deliver 380 or 409 horsepower, depending on the carburetor setup.
Things get even more exciting as our host moves deeper into the barn to find a third Bel Air 409, a 1963 variant in light blue. And just like the red ones, it's been preserved nicely, and the all-original V8 still shines under all the dust. And once it comes back to life, it should roar to the tune of 425 horsepower.
As of the fourth 409 hidden in this building, it's a 1964-model-year Biscayne. Yes, the entry-level full-size was also available with the range-topping big block, which is a cool recipe for an unassuming sleeper. This one appears to be white, a color that further enhances its status as an undercover hot rod. Granted, the two-barrel setup delivered "only" 340 horsepower, but that's enough to move this full-size from 0 to 60 mph (97 mph) in less than eight seconds.
The huge barn is also home to a 1963 Impala, a 1955 Tri-Five, a 1968 Camaro SS 396 with an L78 V8, and a few C10 pickup trucks. But the quarter of 409-powered Chevys is arguably the main highlight. There's no info on how long they've been sitting, but I have a feeling they will fire up without much hassle.