64 Impala SS 409

1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409

In the fall of 1963 my Father bought his 3rd Chevy Impala Muscle Car. It had what he called a “Midnight Blue” exterior,blue bucket seat interior and 4 speed with console. And the best part, it was Super Sport , with a 409 cubic inch Big block” W engine” with a 4 barrel carburetor.

This is the car that made me fall in love with Muscle cars. He owned the “09″ from the time I was 4 to 9 years old and it had a huge influence on me.

The dark blue exterior really showed off the lines of the 64 Impala and made the SS chrome jump out at you. It had six tail lights jutting out of the rear and all chrome grille and bumpers. But what caught my eye was the side trim and rear panel trim, with the reflective inserts and red SS emblems.

The interior was light blue with what seemed like SS emblems everywhere, the dash, door panels, console and even the rear seat center speaker, had huge emblems.

The engine compartment used Chrome W valve covers and a big chrome air cleaner covering the big Carter 4 Barrel Carb. ( Dad’s first two big Blocks where Tri Powers)

The performance was amazing especially to an 8 year old. I remember one day in 1967, my Mom, Dad and I , were late going to my older brother’s junior high basketball game (Dad had to work over because of a break down at the steel mill), and there was a line of cars going about 50 mph, on a long straight stretch of road that we called “Dragway 88”.

We came up on the rear car and Dad Shifted into third gear, He took a look in the left lane and seeing it was clear hit second gear and put the gas pedal on the floor board. I was strapped in the center of the back seat and could see between the buckets. When he was down shifting it made the 50 pounder that I was pull against the seat belt, then when he let off the clutch I went flying against the rear seat-what a cool feeling! I can vividly remember looking beside me and thinking “man I’m inside this seat” and stayed like that until he let up on the gas pedal. I had a good look at the speedo and the needle was past 90 MPH. I wish I took a peak at the tach.(It happened pretty quick but in slow motion).

That’s the moment I fell in love with the 1964 409 Impala SS, and found out what a Muscle car is!

What is a Muscle Car

The True Meaning of Muscle Car

The term Musclecar has been used and abused every since they were allowed into car shows and started to become highly collectible in the mid 1980’s. It’s almost as bad as “Rock and Roll” in that someone coined the phrase and it took legs. Just as any song with drums, guitar and vocals isn’t TRUE “Rock and Roll”. Any vehicle with a certain power to weight ratio isn’t a TRUE “Musclecar”.

Unlike “Rock and Roll” that will live on forever, there was a Musclecar era that was born around 1963 then died around 1973. Like “Rock and Roll” “Muscle cars” had their roots in another form.

The Muscle era started with the 1964 Pontiac GTO, was at its prime in 1969-70, injured by the insurance companies in 1971 and 72, and was buried with the gas crisis.

In the early sixties we had factory drag racing cars like Ford thunderbolts, Super Duty Pontiacs, Dodge Ramchargers, and Chevrolet’s Impala Z-11. These cars were developed and/or supported by American automakers for marketing purposes, raced in stock classes and never offered to the general public. They had huge engines in large cars, which were lightened for racing for racing purposes by cutting holes in the frames, using copious amount of aluminum instead of steel, and acid dipping body parts. The results were a car that was unfit for a family vehicle, and very expensive.

Along the way the various racing sanctioning bodies decided stock classes were for cars that came from an assembly line. At first just the engine had to be available in any car, and then manufactures had to sell a certain number of the exact cars they wanted to race to the general public. At first just the engine had to be available.

Then somebody had the great idea to put the biggest engines available in midsize cars. That is when the musclecar was born. And that in my opinion is exactly what a TRUE musclecar is.

Is a Corvette, Cuda, Mustang, or a Camaro a muscle car? No, they were made to compete in road racing and therefore are ‘Sports cars”. Is a 427 Impala, 440 Fury or 428 Galaxie? No, they are full sized.

I know a 427 Camaro was a Muscular car and built for Drag racing. And I know Heavy Metal Music rocks; it’s just not true to the original phrase Rock and Roll. And a Camaro isn’t a TRUE Musclecar.

I like to stir a little controversy on a cold blustery day. So, send me your comments.