Norm Beechey’s 1962 Chevrolet Impala 409

10 December 2012
Beechey’s awesome 6.6 litre big block V8 Impala in full flight at Calder Park. (Image from: autopics.com.au)

When I take her to the track she really shines,
(giddy-up, giddy-up 409)
She always turns in the fastest times,
(giddy-up, giddy-up 409)
My four-speed, dual-quad, Positraction 409.”

You know a muscle car has serious street cred when a legendary band like The Beach Boys writes a song about it.

When they released ‘409’ as the flip-side to ‘Surfin’ Safari’ in June 1962, it was recognition from the hip youth market that Chevrolet’s stomping 409 cid big block V8 unleashed the previous year was already being revered as one of the greatest street and strip performance engine packages of all time.

So it was no surprise that Australian touring car great Stormin’ Norm Beechey had earlier decided that a “four-speed, dual-quad, Positraction 409” was also the way to go if he was going to break the formidable claw-hold that British car maker Jaguar had on local tin-top competition since the late 1950s.

That dominance had started in 1958 with the instant success of David McKay’s semi-works Mk1 3.4 sedan which triggered a sudden expansion of Mk1s in the hands of Ron Hodgson, Bill Pitt and Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan.

Bob Jane sunk the Jaguar’s claws even deeper in 1961 with the purchase of a more powerful 3.8 litre Mk II model which with extensive local development under John Sawyer, including a super-hot 4.2 litre version of the famous DOHC inline six, became the new benchmark.

Comments