Tuesday 12 March 2019
The Chevrolet Biscayne was a series of full-size cars produced by the American manufacturer Chevrolet between 1958 and 1972. Named after a show car displayed at the 1955 General Motors Motorama, the Biscayne was the least expensive model in the Chevrolet full-size car range (except the 1958-only Chevrolet Delray). The absence of most exterior and fancy interior trimmings remained through the life of the series, as the slightly costlier Chevrolet Bel Air offered more interior and exterior features at a price significantly lower than the top of the line Chevrolet Impala.
The Biscayne was named after Biscayne Bay near Miami, Florida, following a trend by Chevrolet at the time to name cars after coastal cities or beaches such as the Bel Air and the later Chevrolet Malibu.
iscaynes were produced primarily for the fleet market, though they were also available to the general public — particularly to those who wanted low-cost, no-frills transportation with the convenience, room and power of a full-size automobile. While most Biscaynes were sold with a six-cylinder engine through the late 1960s, the V8 engine became the more popular powerplant by the early 1970s.1. The Biscayne was usually built as a two- or four-door sedan, although a four-door station wagon was available between 1962 and 1968 (and again after 1973 in Canada only). A low-priced, full-size Biscayne station wagon equivalent was available as the Chevrolet Brookwood both before and after this period. The two-door sedan was dropped after 1969, and consequently, from 1970 to 1972 the only Biscayne model available was a four-door sedan. In 1958, the Delray was priced below the Biscayne but was discontinued the following year.
Many of the luxury convenience options available on the more expensive full-sized Chevrolet models, such as power windows, were not available on the Biscayne. However, customers could purchase a Biscayne with any of Chevrolet's high-output big-block V8 engines and performance-oriented transmissions, including the floor-mounted four-speed manual transmission with Hurst shifter and low-ratio final drive. Original production numbers of cars built this way were very low, and examples of these high-performance cars are highly sought after by collectors today. Notably, Baldwin Chevrolet of Long Island, New York, became famous for offering the "Street Racer Special," a 1968 Biscayne coupe with dealer-fitted high-performance 427 cubic-inch V8, and heavy-duty suspension components, turning the Biscayne into a serious drag car. Biscayne with high-performance equipment was often nicknamed "Bisquick" by enthusiasts.
Like the slightly upscale Bel Airs, Biscaynes are easily identified by the use of two taillights per side; the only exceptions to this were in 1959 and 1972. The more expensive Impalas (and later Caprices) have three taillights per side. The Biscayne was largely devoid of exterior chrome trim and was normally fitted with small hubcaps, though several exterior trim pieces and upgraded wheel covers were available at extra cost. Interior trim was spartan, with lower-grade cloth and vinyl or all-vinyl upholstery trim, a standard steering wheel with centre horn button, and rubber floor mats. Slight upgrades were made throughout the life of the series — for instance, the 1964 models came standard with deluxe steering wheels with horn rings, deep-twist carpeting and foam-cushioned front seats.
he Biscayne underwent a full model change for the 1961 model year. The stripped down Fleetmaster and the three-passenger Utility Sedan were still available for 1961 but sold in very small numbers. Series numbers were 1100 and 1200 (six- and eight-cylinder Biscayne), with the 1300 and 1400 used for the six- and eight-cylinder Fleetmaster. For 1963, the short-stroke third generation inline-six replaced the earlier "Stovebolt" 235, meaning lower weight and a slight gain in power.
In 1962 a four-door station wagon version appeared, replacing the earlier Brookwood model. As usual, the full range of GM's full-size engine and transmission options were available to the low priced Biscayne. A very few of the brand-new, high-powered 409 V8s (of which only 142 were built in 1961) even found their way into the bargain-basement Biscayne Fleetmaster, with the direct intention of being used for drag racing.
- engine: V8
- capacity: 4600 cc
- horsepower: 155 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 140 km/h