1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 Sport Coupe

Sold For $115,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 2017 - The Ralph Whitworth Collection

Chassis No.
  • Offered from the estate of Ralph Whitworth
  • One of only 142 Super Sports equipped with the 409
  • Beautifully presented in Arbor Green

California is the home of car culture, so it is no surprise that the car songs of the 1960s came out of the surfing crowd. Chief among them were the Beach Boys, whose “Little Deuce Coupe” and “Fun, Fun, Fun . . . (’til her daddy takes the T-Bird away)” ruled the charts. It all began, however, with Chevy’s legendary 409, the inspiration for the song by that name released in June 1962 as the B-side of their first single for Capitol Records, “Surfin’ Safari.”

The car that gave birth to the song was announced in December 1960. Coinciding with the debut of the Impala Super Sport option, the 409 was a bored and stroked version of the big-block 348, introduced for the 1958 season. Initially rated at 360 bhp with a single Carter AFB four-barrel, it had solid lifters, a new forged steel crankshaft, 11.25:1 compression, and a more aggressive camshaft. The only transmission choice was a four-speed manual.

The Super Sport package included both trim and chassis enhancements. “SS” emblems were prominently displayed, and the springs and shock absorbers were beefed up. Other ingredients were power steering and brakes, metallic brake linings, a column-mounted tachometer, spinner wheel covers, and narrow whitewall tires. Most prominent was a grab bar for the right front passenger, hinting at the power that the Super Sport could deliver. Just 453 Impalas received the SS option in 1961, 311 with 348s, and a paltry 142 with the 409.

This example is among those few optioned with the 409 V-8. It has been beautifully restored in its original Arbor Green and presents exceptionally well throughout. Offered from the collection of the late Ralph Whitworth, this ultimate ’61 Impala SS sport coupe would be a crowning piece to any collection of American muscle. Rare in its day and rarer today, this is the archetypal 409.

“Nothing can catch her, nothing can touch my 409 . . . ”

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