Chevrolet Biscayne

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Chevrolet Biscayne
1958 Chevrolet Biscayne State Car.jpg
1958 Chevrolet Biscayne 4 Door Sedan
Former Irish government RHD State Car
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors
Production 1958–1972 (U.S.)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Related Chevrolet Impala
Chronology
Predecessor Chevrolet 210

The Chevrolet Biscayne was a series of automobile produced by the American manufacturer General Motors, under the Chevrolet brand between 1958 until 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 trimmings at a price significantly lower than the mid-line Chevrolet Impala.

Overview[edit]

At its introduction for the 1958 model year, the Biscayne was available as a 2- or 4-door pillared sedan. A Biscayne station wagon was available from 1962 to 1968. The station wagon models used a different series of names than the other models from 1958 to 1961, and again from 1969 to 1972. The 2-door sedan was dropped after 1969, and consequently from 1970 to 1972 the only Biscayne model available was a 4-door sedan. In 1958, the Delray was priced below the Biscayne, but was discontinued the following year. In 1959, the car was redesigned.[1]

Biscaynes 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. Power steering and power brakes were made standard in 1970, while the TurboHydramatic transmission was standard on all cars ordered with a V8 engine starting midway through the 1971 model year.

1965 Chevrolet Biscayne
1968 Biscayne 2 Door Sedan

Like the slightly upscale Bel Air, Biscaynes were easily identified by the use of two taillights per side; the only exceptions to this were in 1959 and 1972. The more expensive Impala (and later Caprice) had 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 center 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 wheel with horn ring, deep-twist carpeting and foam-cushioned front seats.

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 4-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. Biscaynes with high-performance equipment were often nicknamed "Bisquick" by enthusiasts.

The 1965-70 GM B platform is the fourth best selling automobile platform in history after the Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Model T and the Lada Riva.

First generation
1959-chevy-biscayne-chevrolet-archives.jpg
1959 Chevrolet Biscayne 4-Door Sedan
Overview
Production 1958–1960
Model years 1958–1960
Assembly Arlington, Texas, United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Woodville, Australia (1958 model only) [2]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
Related Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevrolet Impala
Powertrain
Engine 235.5 cu in (3.9 L) Blue Flame I6
283 cu in (4.6 L) V8
348 cu in (5.7 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
2-speed Powerglide automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 117.5"(1958)[3]
119"(1959–1960)[4]
Length 209.1"(1958)[3]
210.9"(1959)[4]
Width 77.7"(1958)[3]
79.6"[4]
Second generation
64biscayne.jpg
1964 Chevrolet Biscayne 2 Door Sedan
Overview
Production 1960–1964
Model years 1961–1964
Assembly Arlington, Texas, United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon (1962–64)
Related Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevrolet Impala
Powertrain
Engine 235.5 cu in (3.9 L) I6
230 cu in (3.8 L) I6 (1963–64)
283 cu in (4.6 L) V8
348 cu in (5.7 L) V8 (1961)
327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 (1962–64)
409 cu in (6.7 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed Powerglide automatic
Third generation
Chevrolet Biscayne Coupe (Orange Julep).JPG
1968 Chevrolet Biscayne 2 Door Sedan
Overview
Production 1964–1970
Model years 1965–1970
Assembly Arlington, Texas, United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan (1965–69)
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Related Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Caprice
Powertrain
Engine 230 cu in (3.8 L) I6 (1965–66)
250 cu in (4.1 L) I6 (1965–70)
283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 (1965–67)
327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 (1965–67)
307 cu in (5.0 L) V8 (1968)
350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 (1969–70)
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 (1969–70)
409 cu in (6.7 L) V8 (1965–66)
396 cu in (6.5 L) V8 (1965–70)
427 cu in (7.0 L) V8 (1967–70)
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Powerglide auto
3-speed Turbo Hydramatic automatic
Fourth generation
Overview
Production 1970–1975 (U.S.)
Model years 1971–1975 (U.S.)
Assembly Arlington, Texas, United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Platform B-body
Related Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Caprice
Powertrain
Engine 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8
454 cu in (7.4 L) V8
250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
Transmission 3-speed manual (standard, 1971–1973 on all six-cylinder cars)
3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic (optional 1971–1973 on six-cylinder cars; standard on V-8 powered cars from mid-1971 onwards)

Biscayne Fleetmaster[edit]

In 1960, a lower-priced, sparsely trimmed version of the Biscayne called the Fleetmaster was produced. Aimed primarily at the fleet market, the Fleetmaster included a lower grade of upholstery than the standard Biscayne and deleted routine convenience items such as a cigarette lighter, door armrests, and passenger-side sun visor. In addition, many parts were painted rather than chrome plated. Both two- and four-door sedans were available.

A number of economy-minded options were available exclusive to the Fleetmaster model, although the performance-oriented engines and transmissions were also available (for police applications or performance-oriented customers who wanted the lightest car possible). The Fleetmaster was dropped after 1961.

End of the model[edit]

Production of the Biscayne for the United States market ended in 1972. However, the Biscayne name survived in Canada through the 1975 model year, with a 350 cubic-inch V8 engine and TurboHydramatic automatic transmission made standard in 1974.[5] Like its stablemates, the 1975 Biscayne received new dashboard, radio and climate control graphics (including a 100-mph speedometer with kilometer equivalents) and the availability of two new options: an Econominder gauge package (with temperature gauge and a gauge that monitored fuel economy, based on the driver's current driving habits) and intermittent windshield wipers.

Footnotes[edit]

  • 1 A total of 76,800 Biscaynes were equipped with V8 engines compared to 16,700 six-cylinder engine models years 1970, 1971 and 1972. Biscayne engine distribution (V8/I6) 23,100/12,300 (1970); 34,700/2,900 (1971); and 19,000/1,500 (1972), or one six-cylinder power Biscayne for every 4.5 V8 cars produced. (Gunnell)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  2. ^ Norm Darwin, 100 Years of GM in Australia, 2002, page 152
  3. ^ a b c "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  4. ^ a b c "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  5. ^ Mays, James C. "1974 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, Impala, Bel Air and Biscayne". www.OldCarsCanada.com. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  • Gunnell, John, ed. (1987). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946–1975. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-87341-096-0. 
  • Biel, John (2005), "A Glass Half Full: The Story of the 1958 Chevrolet", Collectible Automobile 21 (6): 8–23 .