Trivia

oldskydog

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#1
While doing ongoing research into Chevy mysteries, I just came into some semi-private documentation that I find very interesting and should help in my quest to decode producton Exception Control Letters (ECL's). Just a few questions that have been out there for years:

Were any 58 Chevy pass cars factory built with 4 speed trans?

How many 409 engines were built for 1961 model year?

How many were actually installed in production cars?

How many had 4 speeds?

Were any 61 409 equipped cars built with 3 speed trans?
 
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409newby

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 10
#3
I've read the only 4 speed installed in the 58 chev passenger cars was behind the fuel injected 283 the 348s came with 3 speed column shift and 4 speed transmission boxed in the trunk if ordered with 4 speed and yes on 409 with 3 speed. :scratch
 

oldskydog

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#6
Obviously not much interest here so here are the answers:
While doing ongoing research into Chevy mysteries, I just came into some semi-private documentation that I find very interesting and should help in my quest to decode producton Exception Control Letters (ECL's). Just a few questions that have been out there for years:

Were any 58 Chevy pass cars factory built with 4 speed trans?

GM documentation shows four full size 58 pass cars were built with the 4 speed trans option. There is no documentation of the trunk delivery myth.

How many 409 engines were built for 1961 model year?

265 complete engines and another 50 "half engines" were built by Tonawanda and shipped prior to 7-7-61.


How many were actually installed in production cars?

According to GM documents only 142 409 equipped cars were built in 61 so that leaves 123 complete and 50 "half engines" that must have been sent to sponsored racers and parts departments.

How many had 4 speeds?

134

Were any 61 409 equipped cars built with 3 speed trans?
142-134=8 409 equipped cars were built with 3 speed transmissions.

That concludes our "Trivia" lesson for today kiddies.
Class dismissed, except for Phil who must stay after school for failure to participate.
 

Blk61409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 8
#9
While doing ongoing research into Chevy mysteries, I just came into some semi-private documentation that I find very interesting and should help in my quest to decode producton Exception Control Letters (ECL's). Just a few questions that have been out there for years:

Were any 58 Chevy pass cars factory built with 4 speed trans?

How many 409 engines were built for 1961 model year?

How many were actually installed in production cars?

How many had 4 speeds?

Were any 61 409 equipped cars built with 3 speed trans?
Several years ago I attended the local Goodguys show. Walking around I saw a 58 Impala with a 4 speed. Naturally I stopped to ask about it. The owner had in the trunk all the info from Chevrolet about it being supplied in the trunk for dealer installation. I believe he even had one of the old boxes maybe the shifter came in and the installation instructions .
I’m sure I took photos, but need to try and figure out when so I can find them.
 

heddrik

Well Known Member
#10
Obviously not much interest here so here are the answers:


142-134=8 409 equipped cars were built with 3 speed transmissions.

That concludes our "Trivia" lesson for today kiddies.
Class dismissed, except for Phil who must stay after school for failure to participate.
Cool! Thanks you sir. When can we have another class? Unfortunately those 8 three speeds were probably swapped out pretty quickly I imagine.
 
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oldskydog

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#16
Several years ago I attended the local Goodguys show. Walking around I saw a 58 Impala with a 4 speed. Naturally I stopped to ask about it. The owner had in the trunk all the info from Chevrolet about it being supplied in the trunk for dealer installation. I believe he even had one of the old boxes maybe the shifter came in and the installation instructions .
I’m sure I took photos, but need to try and figure out when so I can find them.
Pat,
The source for the four production installations is from the year end production totals so I believe that it is probably true as far as having been installed in the car at the factory. There may have been an "in the trunk" method also and may have been before the actual inclusion as an RPO or maybe a dealer ordered package. I'll have to look into that some more.
I'm currently waiting for a copy of the paperwork and pics from a guy who says his father ordered a 58 Impala with 4 speed and still owns it.
Do you have any GM pubs or Dealer Order Forms that would translate the RPO/FOA ordered to ECL's (Exception Control Letter) that appear on the build sheet, broadcast sheet or Dealer Invoice/window sticker?
That's what I'm researching. I know the system changed in 63 to the new RPO codes and that is fairly understood but the 62 and older is not. I have even figured out how to decode the Fisher Body IBM punch cards for 63 and later.
 

Tom Kochtanek

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 11
#17
Bill notes: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe GM made a 3-Speed Floor Shift till the Camaro days. "

Not full size passenger cars, but some of the base C1 and C2 Corvettes included a three speed floor shift. I think they were standard on the Corvette.
I know they had them in 1963, my Uncle had one before he swapped out the drive train to a 396 four speed in the late 60s :).
 

Tom Kochtanek

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 11
#18
I clipped this narrative from Cecil's previous post, thought I'd add it back in to this conversation:

I forgot that I have the document of total 61 car production showing the 142 409 equipped cars but that makes it even more mysterious since total 409 engine production was 265 complete engines shipped out of Tonawanda. If you add the 84 shortblocks the total comes up to 349. If only 142 went into production cars then unless they were available to the marine and industrial users that makes 123 engines to sell over the parts counter and to sponsored racers. Where are they?

From my research notes:

RPO 580, 360 hp 409 suffix Q was added on 10-13-60.
The records show production of all W engines for 1961 ran from June of 1960 through 25 July, 1961

. Those production dates include all W engines. The 409 was added in October and the earliest 623 block I have heard of was cast November 7, 1960. That makes roughly 9 months of 409 production. and I'm guessing the demand went up month by month after the first 409 cars were introduced in Jan, 61 peaking in the last few months. Total 409 production including the shortblocks totals 349. If the rate were linear, that would be 38.3 per month, but it wasn't linear so early cars/engines should be few and rare while later production should be more prevalent.

265 is the total number of complete 409 engines shipped under part numbers 3795507 (115) and 3814301 (150). It included over the counter service, but there were another 84 "Half Motor, RPO 580"'s (shortblocks). I have to wonder what happened to all of them? I'm sure a lot of them were destroyed in racing and probably more than we know still waiting to be discovered.

GM references dated 6-8-61 show the Q now called RPO 580 High Performance (360 hp), and QA added as RPO 580 Special High performance 380 HP. QB suffix codes were also added. That would seem to support, along with written magazine articles from the day, that the QA 380 hp version was built late in the year as RPO 580 Special High Performance and the QB engine was built under RPO 587 although production records don't show any RPO 587's built unless they are the 10 COPO's. The 690 heads and 068 block came out in late May to June and would have been installed in very late production as RPO 580 Special High performance 380 HP. Any left over 623 castings would likely have been used on the 360 HP RPO 580 High performance orders. Total 409 production for 61 RPO 580 shows two different part numbers , with 115 engines under the first version part number (3795507) and 150 under the second part number (3814301) for a total of 265. I don't know for sure what changes were made to the engine to cause a change in part number or when it occurred in production, but it seems doubtful that the second version was the 380 hp since that shows under a different assembly part number . They might be out there mistakenly assumed to be early 62 068 blocks, but they would have June/July 61 casting and assembly dates. More research is needed.

Records show that there were 10 COPO W engines built for production in 61 with a different part number than the other W engines, although the part number isn't the same as the part number shown for the RPO 587, without the Parts List there is no way to determine what their configuration actually was, but these could possibly be the 2x4 version of the 409 before it was officially added as RPO 587......purely conjecture.
As a matter of interest, there were also 34 COPO Powerglide W engines built. Could be those 61 348's with powerglide like Dan (Tripower) has when, supposedly the 348 wasn't available with PG except with the 305hp.
 

heddrik

Well Known Member
#19
I believe all the factory 3-Speeds that we are talking about were all Column Shift cars.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe GM made a 3-Speed Floor Shift till the Camaro days.
that was my understanding also. I have heard of a few 3 speed 409 cars with them, that Hot Rod magazine article included.
 
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