"She's so great, my 348," or "She's no bore, my 454," just don't have the same feeling as the legendary lyric "She's so fine, my 409." The image burned into most peoples' minds when thinking about this great engine and the car that it powers, more times than not, is of a '62 bubbletop either cruising the main drag or storming down the quarter-mile. It's easy to forget that 409s were original equipment across five years of the full-size Chevys.
The '65s are the least remembered, and rightfully so, as only a couple hundred were produced before being replaced by the new 396ci big-block. Shawn Dove grew up around cars as his dad always seemed to have something interesting parked in the garage, but Shawn had a fondness for a '65 Impala that his dad had bought new and kept around for a few years. Shawn had photos of the Impala and vowed to find one for himself one day. When he started looking, he wanted one that was pretty clean but could be tweaked, as he enjoyed it.What he found was a numbers-matching SS 409 with 90,000 original miles equipped with a four-speed, 12-bolt posi, tilt/telescopic column, and in-dash tach. Shawn had never seen a '65 409 before so he decided to do some research. Once he confirmed the car's authenticity, he made a deal to bring it home.
The Impala had all ready been treated to a cosmetic restoration, so Shawn concentrated on improving the mechanics. The engine was pulled and freshened up by Dave West at Hot Rods and Custom Stuff in Escondido, California, and bolted up to a Richmond five-speed before it was settled back between the fenders.
The Impala was much quicker that stock now, and Shawn wasn't planning on light-footing the go pedal. He didn't put much trust in the stock drum brakes so they were replaced with slotted and crossed-drilled discs front and back. Shawn has been careful to retain all the cast-off parts just in case the day ever comes that he wants to fully restore the Impala, but we doubt that day will come any time soon.