Spring of 1962
In the Spring of 1962 Don & Jeanette McKinley 1st heard the song “409” by the Beach Boys and they knew they had to have a 409 of their very own. Don & Jeanette ordered a specially equipped Impala SS 409/409/4/speed Convertible from Aloha Chevrolet in their home town of Honolulu,Hawaii. The car was designated as a special “Export” model and was built in Chevy’s Los Angles plant…it finally arrived by boat in early January,1963
The Mckinley’s loved and cherished their Impala SS Coronna Cream with Anniversary Gold Interior and a matching cream colored convertible top…so much so, that they only drove it an average of 1000 miles a year and of course never in the rain…it was their “Baby”…their “Pride and joy” Every year they would drive it back to Aloha Chevrolet for the oil and filter to be changed, the chassis lubricated and for their Chevy to be State Inspected. They saved all the receipts from Aloha Chevrolet which indicated they paid $4.94 for this service maintenance. Their names, the year, make, model, license plate, serial number and the mileage was recorded on each Aloha Invoice and they saved every ORIGINAL service invoice….they even saved their canceled checks.
In December of 1981 Don & Jeanette decided it was time to part with their beloved Impala SS convertible. They place an ad in the Honolulu Hawaiian Newspaper which read: “1962 Impala Convertible, V-8, manual transmission, original,15,000 miles, $5000 and their telephone number.
The ad was spotted by George Cambria who lived in Honolulu. George was legendary drag racer Dale Armstrong’s pal and immediately called Dale in Los Angeles about this car. Dale had moved from his native Canada in 1961 to Los Angeles. He drove his 1961 409 coupe with his few personal belongings to seek his fame and fortune in the U.S. Dale had long wanted a 1962 Impala SS convertible for his own. When George told him he had discovered a perfect 1962 Impala SS 409 convertible advertised for sale in the Honolulu paper with LESS than 15,000 actual miles, Dale said two words, BUY IT!” The next day , December 19th, 1981,George bought the car for Dale for $4750…it had 14,992 actual (State verified) miles.
Less than 10 days later, Dale’s perfect original low-mileage 409 ragtop was loaded into a container at Matsun shipping and arrived at the Port in Los Angeles in a couple of weeks. In early January of 1982. Dale personally picked up his “New Baby” and over the course of the next 32 years, Dale, along with his wife Susan, drove their Chevy just over 1100 miles.
During that time Dale set countless 1/4 mile NHRA records and in the late 1980’s became the crew chief for Kenny Bernstein and the Miss Budweiser AA Fuel Dragster. Dale made drag racing history in 1992 when combined with his expertise and Kenny Berstein’s driving, became the 1st to break the 1/4 mile 300mph barrier….316mph in the quarter mile. Dale was inducted into the International Racing Hall of Fame, The NHRA Hall of Fame and the Canadian Racing Hall of fame.
At the age of 73, Dale passed away on November 28th,2014. Dale left behind a loving wife, children, grand children and a racing legacy that will live on for ever. Dale had a fabulous collection of more than 20 cars. In the Summer of 2016, his wife Susan sold us their favorte car they had owned for 35 years and the very last one in their collection…their 1962 Impala SS 409/409/4/speed convertible with 16,171 actual miles.
Now part of the Garage Memories Museum collection, we have driven this car more than 600 miles. It is kept in an air-conditioned facility in Pompano Beach Florida and can be seen on perfect sunshine days or South Florida moonlit evenings cruising the streets & highways of Boca Raton, DelRay Beach, Palm Beach and even Coconut Grove.
We have shown it 2 times in the last year…The AACA National Winter meet in Ocala (National 1st Place Honors) and at the 11th Annual Boca Raton Concourse d’Elegance (1st Place/Best of Class)
We found an original non-working RCA 45rpm Victrola in the car’s trunk. With the help of the world wide internet, we bought 3 other non-working RCA victrolas and used parts from all 3 to make ours work perfect.
If you see a Coronna Cream Impala SS Convertible cruising the highways and byways of South Florida…don’t be surprised if you hear “She’s so fine….my 409……my 4/speed, dual quad, positraction 409 “coming from the car.