In 1961, Chevrolet introduced two things that became the subject of worship for followers of a new cult in the 1960s – a cult of productivity.
We are talking about the legendary V8 409 engine and the Super Sport (SS) package. This engine was the precursor to the Chevrolet V8 series of big block engines, and in 1962, its fame spread across the country with the Beach Boys song “409”.
This engine was developed by a group of Chevrolet engineers led by Vincent Piggins based on a 5.7-liter V8 348 W engine , but its combustion chambers were not wedge-shaped, but hemispherical.
With a single 4-chamber carburetor, it reached 360 hp, but that was far from the limit, as the Americans saw it the following year.
However, still in 1961 the Chevrolet Impala SS 409 became the leader in the drag racing championship, covering a quarter mile (approximately 400 meters) in 13.2 seconds.
The V8 409 engine was only available with a 4-speed folded-arm manual transmission, as the Powerglide and Turboglide automatic transmissions were unable to handle their torque.
As for the SS package, it included sturdy springs and shock absorbers, larger drum brakes with metal linings, wider tires with narrow white stripes, special 14-inch wheels, power steering, tachometer on the steering column and a cab handle in front to the passenger’s seat.
All of this equipment could only be ordered for cars equipped with V8 348 or V8 409 engines, in order to improve your driving performance and stand out from the crowd.
In the SS variant, the price of the car reached $ 5,380, which did not contribute to increase sales.
In 1961, only 473 copies of the Chevrolet Impala SS were built, of which 142 were powered by a V8 409 engine. Almost all of them were 2-door hardcovers.
At the same time, the total number of Impala cars sold during the year was around 491,000 units.
Like the 1959-1960 models, the 1961 Chevrolet Impala was based on a separate X-shaped chassis with a 119 wheelbase, but received a completely new body with a shorter rear overhang.
The chrome detail with a contrasting insert running across the side fell backwards at a slight angle to rise sharply in front of the rear with a V-shaped protuberance in the middle.
In the front, the openings appeared above the radiator grille, but not as bold as in 1959.
The Impala’s traditional triple taillights were made in the form of telescopes. The internal panel has been completely redesigned
Inner Panel: now it was an impressive rectangle with two ribbed concave planes, one of which was a linear speedometer and the other – three circular gauges.
In 1961, the Impala was Chevrolet’s most expensive series.
It was offered in six body styles: a 2-door sedan (available only that year), a 2-door hardtop (Sport Coupe), a 4-door hardtop (Sport Sedan), a 4-door sedan, a convertible and a 5-door Nomad station wagon.
The 2-door sedan and the hardtop had a sail-shaped roof with thin pillars known as the “bubbleback”, while the 4-door sedan and the hardtop had a flat roof with wide C-pillars.
In addition to the V8 409 engine, the Impala was equipped with a 4.6-liter V8 Turbo-Fire 283, and a 5.7-liter V8 348 Turbo-Thrust with 250, 280, 305, 340 or 350 hp, depending on the rate of compression and the number of carburetors.
The basic engine was a 3.9-liter in-line Hi-Thrift 235 engine with 135 hp.
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