Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club

1963 CHEVROLET Impala
Super Sport 409
V-8 with Powerglide

(Page 2 of 2)

Other than the above, our principal objection to this package stems from the slow steering (power) on a car which literally demands very quick steering in case the rear end starts to slide out from too much throttle pressure. The ride too, in typical GM fashion, is quite soft and anyone contemplating much cross-country driving should order the heavy-duty springs and shocks. It would also be a good idea to order the metallic brake linings.

1963 Chevy 409 Engine1963 Powerglide
IMPROVED POWERGLIDE was adopted in 1961, allowed Chevrolet engineers to harness 409 to automatic transmission. Complete unit was strengthened, then encased in aluminum.

Because the 409 engine is about 100 lb. heavier than the 283-327 V-8s and most of this extra Weight is on the front wheels, there is more understeer than usual-a good feature to help offset the oversteering capability of so much power at the rear wheels. This weight bias also contributes to better straight-line stability but makes the car skitterish in vigorous cornering.

The brakes are something else, though to our surprise they survived our standard brake test of two crash stops in succession from 80 mph. However, the tremendous weight and speed potential of this machine is a force to be reckoned with and a hard driver, or one living in a mountainous area, should order the heavy-duty metallic brake option we mentioned earlier.

1963 Impala SS 409 Shifter The Impala SS, of course, carries the most luxurious, bucket-seat interiors Chevrolet can put into its cars. It has a center console which houses a small odd-parcel locker and serves to bring the Powerglide shift lever into the driver's reach. Although nicely assembled with a chrome shift guide around it, the lever has no provision for lighting and a nighttime driver must either grope for the correct slot or turn on the bright interior lights. We must praise the electric tachometer mounting as the first sensible one we've seen on a production '63 model. It is directly in front of the steering wheel, in the speedometer "tunnel" and is so located that the driver can be aware of engine rpm without
actually having to remove his eyes from the road. The other instruments are much less easy to read, being located at the bottom end of the aforementioned tunnel.

The driving position is awkward: the seats, while comfortable and luxurious, are too low and the steering wheel projects too far back. (A solution to that continuing problem is to replace it with a flat, racing type wheel which would move the plane of the rim at least 5 in. closer to, the dash.) Luggage space is tremendous, as would be expected.
1963 Impala SS 409 interior

1963 409 Dual four-barrelsTWIN 4-BARREL version of the 409 has mechanical lifters, hotter valve timing and now produces a rousing 425 bhp at 6000 rpm.

TRUNK WELL in Chevrolet's tail adds to its already huge capacity. Although difficult to reach, spare is nicely out of the way. 1963 Impala Trunk

But, while we criticize some of the minor things about the car, we can enthuse over its general concept. Big and strong, with a smooth transmission and plenty of muscular draft horses up front, it begins to approach the ultimate in U.S. performance cars.

1963 Impala Test Data

Return to "memory lane" index.