Album: Surfin' Safari (1962)
Charted: 76
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  • First the 409 engine itself was vastly improved with a new block casting, cast alloy heads, bigger intake valves and a 11.0:1 compression ratio. When topped with a single Carter carburetor, the '62 409 returned 380 horsepower, and equipped with two four-barrel carbs (the fabled "dual-quad" of song) it offered a reported 409 horsepower. A "Tri-Power" triple two-barrel version was also available, but few wanted to wade into that mechanical nightmare.

Comments: 14

  • Etsybay from NashvilleJim Peterik from Ides of March was only 11 when 409 was released
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaJoe, I have read the same story about the recording of the engine on the song. Huum I like cars (old ones) but think I would not like to be woken up that way.
  • Courtney from Los Angeles, CaThere are some true facts listed and some false ones. The car used in this song was my father's car. They recorded it in Hawthorne, CA. My father, Gary Westbrook was good friends with them all, but best friends with the original drummer before he died tragically falling off a boat while drunk.
    Just wanted to share this small fact with you all.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn the early sixties Gary Usher and the Knights released a record titled "Hod Rod High", it was only a regional hit and never the national charts!!!
  • Joe from Santa Maria, Ca The engine heard was a 348. The car was a 1958 Chevy owned by Gary Usher (it had 3 twos, 348's didn't have dual quads) and it was recorded out on the street in front of Brian's house. I head that his neighbors called the police, but I'm not sure of that. I saw them sing this at a car show when they were just starting out. It was free and they carried their own insturments in and set everything up themselves. I remember Mike Love's micraphone didn't work but they sounded great.
  • Brian from Bremerton, WaThe engine heard was a Chevy 348 that was owned by Gary Usher.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1961 a kid, Tommy, in our neighborhood purchased a brand new 409. When he told us guys he paid $3,000 for it; we were stunned, to us that was almost a like a millions dollars. I remembered it had a 'four on the floor' and even though gas was cheap then, the guys were always chipping it for fuel so that we could going cruising up & down Genesee St. in Utica, NY
  • Drew from B'ham, AlAbout driving cars? There were others: "I Get Around" and "Shut Down". There may have been others besides those.
  • Leftykc from St Joseph, MoA friend of Brian had a souped up 409 so they stuck the mic under the car in brians driveway..
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnBrian Wilson is a musical genius.The mess that goes around today calling themselves the Beach Boys should be jailed.
  • Meredith from Wauwatosa, WiI think this song was also used in the old Formula 409 ads. Interesting song, but I loves me some Beach Boys!!!!!!
  • Darrell from EugeneShawn in Rochester, Brian Wilson's tape recorder is called a "Wollensack". I have had a Wollensack reel-to-reel tape recorder since 1964, which was probably long before you were born. For those who don't know what reel-to-reel is, it is the same as a cassette tape, only much bigger, fully exposed and not in a case. As for you young ones who have never seen a cassette tape, a cassette is what you see in the colorful little rectangular plastic boxes along with the records, CDs, 8-tracks and, yes, reel-to-reel tapes at Goodwill or Salvation Army. In addition, cassettes go in the little door in the front of a stereo and they can be fast-forwarded, unlike a record. I do not have time or space for a treatise on 8-tracks and records.
  • Gary from Auckland, New ZealandWhen the masters to this and 'Surfin' Safari' were sold (for $100 each) to Capitol producer Nick Venet in May 1962 he had to twist the arm of the label execs to release them, and then first it was with '409' promoted as the A-side -- Who cared about surfin' -- right? Within a couple of weeks of release (4th June) 'Surfin' Safari' broke on its own, and the rest is history. But '409', according to top 40 station KLIF covering Dallas-Ft Worth, was the biggest hit that year -- locally.
  • Shawn from Rochester, NhThe sounds of the 409 were recorded on Brian Wilsons Wolinsack(not to sure on the spelling)tape recorder outside his home in Hawthorne, CA.
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