Jack Rainbow’s slammed ’61 Impala Bubbletop must have been what the Beach Boys were talking about when they sang, “She’s real fine, my 409”.
Real muscle car power was brought to the people in the early ’60s, especially with the arrival of the 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Chevy built 491,000 Impalas that year. Only 453 had the SS (Super Sport) package, and of those just 142 got the 409ci engine.
Word spread quickly about a mainstream Chevy V8 with 409lb/ft (554Nm) of torque and the ability to do mid-15-second quarter miles with the standard 3.36:1 rear axle and four-speed manual. The Beach Boys even immortalised it in the song ‘409’ (She’s real fine/my 409).
Jack Rainbow’s 1961 Chevrolet Impala may not be an original SS 409, but with a 409 W series motor now resting between the front guards and an impeccable build quality, it’s “even better than the real thing” — thought I’d keep up with the song theme with that little U2 snippet.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself here, let’s go back to the beginning… (more…)