“She’s so Fine, My 409”
Retired school teacher Rick Wood cruises the summer streets of Moncton, New Brunswick in quite the sleeper, one with a storied history. That’s because the 1961 Chevy Impala SS 409 he purchased from original owner Clyde MacFarlane in 2017, is a one-of-a-kind rarity.
Of the twenty-two built, Rick’s 2-door post Impala SS was the only one built with an automatic transmission – a two-speed Powerglide that would get the Impala to about 140 km/h in low gear.
With dual 4-barrel carburetors, the numbers-matching car was ordered from Daniels Chevrolet in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the fall of 1961. Clyde MacFarlane had one purpose in mind for the car; to be raced in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a flat-out race from the plains of Colorado to the 14,115-foot summit, the highest in the Southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
With 156 turns the 20-kilometre ‘Race to the Clouds’ has been run annually since 1916. Although now paved, it was a gravel-flying, dusty dirt track when this Impala SS was doing its thing.
This 425-horsepower Impala SS came in 9th in the 1962 Pikes Peak Hill Climb and 6th in 1963. And did the races, you got it, in low gear, with both of Clyde MacFarlane’s hands firmly gripping the wheel.
So if you pull up beside this bit of history at a traffic light in Moncton, don’t mess with it.