So Fine SS 409

1962 Impala SS
Article and photos by Larry Crain

My article title is not quite what the Beach Boys came out with in 1962 about a 409 powered car, but just about all of the rest of the lyrics apply to this awesome car. Arna Smithson of Woodbury, Tennessee owns this bad ass 1962 Impala SS; a very fitting tribute to that classic oldie song. This is not the first ‘62 Impala SS Arna has owned; he actually owned one back in the day when he and his wife, Teena, were dating. Teena actually learned to drive in his first Impala SS that was 409 powered and 4-speed equipped. Many years went by as the now husband and wife owned numerous vehicles that competed on many levels including ISCA. When Arna sold his last show vehicle, Teena suggested that it might be time to look at getting another ‘62 SS Impala like the one from way back when. A short time later just such a car was found by them and purchased with the intention of it being just a cruiser. Looking at the car in these photos you can tell just how well that plan went… not at all.

When you first look at the car, you will notice that there are no body modifications and Arna thought none were needed on a car with such classic looks and lines. The mirror black finish that seems to be a mile deep is courtesy of PPG black basecoat clear coat materials and the hard work of Hibdon’s Body Shop. This beautiful Chevy sits on an updated GM chassis that is now equipped with a Unisteer rack & pinion system, tubular control arms, SSBC disc brakes on all 4 corners and of course an updated Chevy posi-trac rear end with 3:73 gears. The Impala SS got a really new hot rod look thanks to a really cool set of Billet Specialty wheels mounted with Delinte Thunder D7 tires.

Arna stayed true to the old SS with a 409 but one thing that has been bumped up a notch or few to a total of 489 cubic inches and a whopping 589 horsepower! The 409 is equipped with a 454 stroker roller cam, Edelbrock heads and a pair of AFB carburetors sitting on a polished 2x4 intake. Arna did a departure from the original drivetrain when it came to the transmission and went with a Tremec 5 speed that I’m sure GM and the Beach Boys would approve of.

The interior of this SS is beautiful featuring a Vintage Air a/c system, a polished tilt column topped with leather wrapped Billet Specialties steering wheel and an instrument cluster from Dakota Digital. Paul Atkins Interiors hit a home run with the full on custom interior that features custom door panels, custom console and other interior areas that are dressed out in the beautiful Rust colored leather.

What Arna started out as being a cruiser turned into a very serious contender at shows, whether it is on the ISCA circuit, Good Guys, Shades of the Past or just about anywhere he takes it. But Arna knows he couldn’t have built so fine of a SS 409 without the help of his wife and friends like Jimmy Alexander, Dale Shelton and Randy Simmons.

What Arna started out as being a cruiser turned into a very serious contender at shows, whether it is on the ISCA circuit, Good Guys, Shades of the Past or just about anywhere he takes it. But Arna knows he couldn’t have built so fine of a SS 409 without the help of his wife and friends like Jimmy Alexander, Dale Shelton and Randy Simmons.

Shops and manufacturers used in the building of this car.

  • Billet Specialties
  • Dakota Digital
  • Delinte Tires
  • Edelbrock
  • Paul Atkins Interiors
  • PPG Paint
  • SSBC
  • Tremec
  • Unisteer
  • Vintage Air
Ridetech
Metal Brothers Hot Rods
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