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Lets talk about 348 409 stuff-1958 to 1965


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About 35 years ago I found low-mileage Impala SS with 409/340 hp engine and Powerglide trans. It was loaded with bucket seats, dealer-installed under-dash AC, padded dash, day/night mirror, tilt, etc, etc. It had an older paint job, with lots of "minor" rust showing at seams. I bought the car and took it home, only to find out it was almost rotted almost beyond repair. I lost a bunch of bucks on that car, and have NEVER forgotten it. (Oh well, that's how we learn, I guess. :() A body shop buddy patched it together, and I sold it on an as-is basis, with documentation to prove it. I never even cleaned up the engine compartment...just sold it as quickly as I could. But I never got the bad taste out of my mouth from that deal. 

 

Still, at least I can say that I once owned a genuine low-mileage SS 409 Impala. Sigh. 

409 engine compartment 1.jpg

409 engine compartment 3.jpg

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43 minutes ago, lump said:

About 35 years ago I found low-mileage Impala SS with 409/340 hp engine and Powerglide trans. It was loaded with bucket seats, dealer-installed under-dash AC, padded dash, day/night mirror, tilt, etc, etc. It had an older paint job, with lots of "minor" rust showing at seams. I bought the car and took it home, only to find out it was almost rotted almost beyond repair. I lost a bunch of bucks on that car, and have NEVER forgotten it. (Oh well, that's how we learn, I guess. :() A body shop buddy patched it together, and I sold it on an as-is basis, with documentation to prove it. I never even cleaned up the engine compartment...just sold it as quickly as I could. But I never got the bad taste out of my mouth from that deal. 

 

Still, at least I can say that I once owned a genuine low-mileage SS 409 Impala. Sigh. 

409 engine compartment 1.jpg

409 engine compartment 3.jpg

 

That would make the car about 20 years old. You must be in the North East? Thanks for sharing.

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Yeah, I'm in Ohio. The car was indeed about 20 years old when I bought it. 

 

A good car-buddy used to call me when he found nice old muscle cars for sale, since he didn't have a lot of cash. He told me about three different 409 cars over a 2 or 3 year period. I ending buying only the worst choice of the 3. 

 

This 409 Impala was BOUGHT BRAND NEW by the guy I bought it from...but his sister had bought it from him for a few years, before he bought it back. When I showed up at his house and asked to see the car, I was immediately impressed by how neat and clean everything was. Not a tool was out of place in his tiny garage. No dirt, no clutter. And his house was the same way. (I normally LOVE to buy cars from guys like this, who obviously take care of all their personal property.) 

 

When I first saw the car, I was quite impressed. The interior looked terrific, without a tear in the upholstery anywhere. The car was loaded with factory accessories. The paint job was obviously old (no odor of paint or body work, and slightly faded here and there). The engine compartment was not detailed at all, and the carpet needed replaced (so it wasn't recently . There were tiny little spots of rust popping through the paint here and there, which I assumed would be easy to get fixed. The car had VERY low mileage. So when the guy said he would indeed sell the car, and wanted $1,000, I jumped on it. I drove it home that night. 

 

I took it to a body shop in Cincinnati, with a reputation for beautiful straight paint jobs. The shop owner was fooled as quickly as I had been, and offered me a quick rough estimate, based on what he THOUGHT he was working with. I left the car with him, after turning down offers to buy the car from people who had heard I had found it. 

 

A few days later, the shop called me with bad news. The car was rusted badly under the paint, with patches everywhere. There was nothing to do but try to patch it back together, and sell it on an as-is basis. I called the seller, telling him I wasn't mad, since he hadn't made any false claims about the car, and I was the fool who didn't even look it over carefully. I asked him how it had seemed so clean, in his perfectly clean shop, next to all his meticulously well-maintained cars and equipment...and yet be such a rusted mess. And why was the rust just barely peaking through the paint, when it was obviously an old paint job? He explained that he bought it new, LOVED the car, and maintained it carefully. But his sister begged to buy it from him, until he sold it to her. But she never washed or maintained it, and stored it in a dirt-floor garage. When he saw it a few years later, completely rusted out, he got very upset. He bought the car back, had paint and body work done, and then stored it inside his nice dry garage, almost never taking it outside. So the rust was slow to return, and the odometer showed very few miles. And as a young car lover, I was completely fooled. And I was so hot to get this "creampuff" bought, that I barely even looked it over. Sigh. 

 

The body shop owner lost a bunch on the car, and i did even worse. But we both learned big lessons on that car, which will last a lifetime... I hope. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, countrytravler said:

I'm from Detroit and have never come across a 59 to 65 Chevs when I was buying them from the 60s to the 90s. I would convert them to 348s and 409s. That car really must have had bad prep when made. Thanks for sharing your story.

Dave

Yeah...the rear "coffee cans" which support the body on the frame mounts were rusted gone...as in missing. I've never been quite so "wrong" about a car that I purchased....before or after this one. In hindsight, I could have kept it for decades, and it would have grown A LITTLE in value. But truly, its condition was such that many people were fooled when I first drove it home. I could easily have sold it for a small profit, without even wiping it off. But NO, I had dreams of making a fabulous resto project out of a very low mileage, all original muscle car, bought from the original owner. Sigh, again. :(

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On ‎26‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 6:59 PM, lump said:

Yeah...the rear "coffee cans" which support the body on the frame mounts were rusted gone...

Boy!  when I see the term 'coffee cans' on a Chevrolet frame of that era, (1958; 1959), the  "Levelair" option comes to mind!!!

 

Craig

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I had a 60 Impala convertible with a 348 and Turboglide trans. It was surprisingly fast. The Turboglide trans started leaking after a lot of hard use. I converted it to three speed standard with a Hurst Synchrolock shifter. After going through a number of transmissions, the car got wrecked. I saved the 348, rebuilt It and put it in my 56 chevy 210 Delray with a three speed and a 3.32 posi. After over forty five years it's still alive and well today in unrestored condition.

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MisterC9, that is a NEAT car. I love stories like this, of a car which has been owned by the same guy for decades. 

 

Can you show us more photos of the whole car? Don't worry about condition or appearance. I am one of those guys who really appreciates old, original "patina" appearance. 

 

Thanks! 

 

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On 10/25/2016 at 10:46 PM, countrytravler said:

409 in a Canadian Pontiac.

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I had a 1964 Pontiac Parisienne with a 409. I was told back then by many people that they never came in Pontiacs. That was in Nova Scotia in the early 70's. Wish I could find some pictures of it.

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5 hours ago, Ed Luddy said:

I had a 1964 Pontiac Parisienne with a 409. I was told back then by many people that they never came in Pontiacs. That was in Nova Scotia in the early 70's. Wish I could find some pictures of it.

The nice thing about the Canadian cars is the GM Vintage Vehicle Centre. You can find out your Canadian car, built or sold new here for around $70.

Lists all build sheet info, selling dealer, options and even original owners name. My brother has a 1966 Pontiac with the factory 396 and M21 4 speed that I sold him. It has quite a nice stack of documents verifing as such. The saddest part of all this  is that most of the Canadian cars endured the winter snow, salt and slush that rusted so many of them out! Our across street neighbour had a  1969 427 Biscayne in 1970 with studded winter tires that really lit up the street when he let 'er rip.  

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My friend, a retired airline pilot, is an absolute "W" engine nut. Has buildings full of rare stuff and is now into the new aluminum heads and blocks. Has two 62's, a 660hp normally aspirated one which does near 10 flat 1/4 mile times and a 10-71 blown one that nudges 1000hp and is still in the sorting out stage of tires, chassis set up, launch `trials, etc. His apartment in his shop has a roll up door in the living room wall so his 409 powered 37 Chevy Business Coupe could be worked on in air conditioned comfort when Texas temp was around the century mark.(picture).

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